History of Our Parish

The story of St. Nicholas is a proud one. One-hundred years of togetherness confirms  and corroborates the unity we have enjoyed.

The oldest and most venerable of our institutions, which have a place in our common life, are usually ecclesiastical. When people have arranged for pressing material needs like food, clothing and shelter,  the next usual concern  is to organize one's religious life and to erect, as soon as possible, a suitable building where God is honored and worshipped according to the traditions inherited from our forefathers.

Roebling, established in 1905, was slowly filling up with homes, stores and people, but not churches. The few Byzantine Rite families who settled in Roebling traveled to Trenton's St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church to worship God according to their own Rite and hear the word of God preached in their native tongue,  but it was difficult to hear Holy Liturgy regularly, because  of the distance involved to Trenton, the mode of travel  and infrequent train and trolley schedules. Automobiles had not yet filled the highways. The spiritual needs of these  few families stirred a small group to action.

Accordingly, on September 16, 1912, a meeting  was held in the home of John Lichvarcik, 111 Third Avenue, resulting in the organization and incorporation on October 1, 1912, of St. Nicholas Greek Catholic Church of Roebling. The Rev. Joseph Kovalchik presided over the group  and the following were  recognized  as charter organizers: Michael Breza, Sr., Michael Buddy, George Borsch, George Horvath, George Hathazi, John Lichvarcik, George Majoros, Michael Rusnak, Andrew  Rusnak, Joseph Salaga, John Sencsak, Joseph Wargo, John Zahorsky, John Zelenak, John Dusecina, and Michael Ivan.

Thanks to the Roebling Company, the newly established St. Nicholas Church, used the Community Hall, located  above the Drug Store on Main and Fourth  Avenue, for Divine Services where  the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on December 19, 1912,  the Feast of St. Nicholas, Patron  Saint of the Church. One year later, Horney's Hall on Alden Avenue became the site for church  services.

Plans were then established for the erection of the church on land purchased in May 1909  for
$800. The John A Roebling's Sons Company's gift of $500 spurred donations by the organizers. Solicited collections further increased this substantial sum.

Our church was the first permanent religious  edifice to be built in Roebling. In the spring of 1914, ground  was broken  and work  began on the new church, which cost $5,775. On May 30, 1914,  the corner stone  was blessed;  the church  was completed in the autumn of 1914. Our good and generous people were always ready and willing to help our church.

George Rusnak and Joseph Drenguba together purchased vestments and the chalice; Andrew Rusnak, Sr. gave a pair of brass candlesticks; Mrs. Elizabeth  Bires contributed the Communion Spoon; Andrew  Rusnak, Jr. presented the Holy Water container and sprinkler; Michael Buddy bought a carpet for the Sanctuary floor; John Sencsak gave Altar Linens; George Horvath, a Hand Cross; Joseph Salaga donated the Missal Book. The stained glass windows were  donated by the following: Men's Lodge No. 519, Ladies Lodge No. 657, Children's  Lodge Nos. 172 & 173, Michael Rusnak, Michael Gaydos, Michael Breza, George Borsch, Michael Luiz, John W. Stone and Michael Buddy.

→ Learn about the Bystantine Ruthenian Catholic Church.

Important Milestones in the Life of St. Nicholas Church

October 1, 1912

 Incorporation of St. Nicholas Church. Divine Liturgy was held in the Community Hall above the Drug Store

Spring 1914

Ground breaking for the new church

May 30, 1914

Cornerstone blessed

Autumn 1914

 St. Nicholas Church completed

November 1, 1915

 Cemetery land purchased for $600

May 30, 1928

Rectory blessed. Cost: $12,000.  Parish registry established. Previous records  were held in Trenton

May 30,1934

 20th Anniversary Celebration

July 1943

 $6800  mortgage  from 1928  is liquidated

June 30, 1945

Church partially  destroyed by fire.

1945

Rev. Gabriel Ivascu of graciously offers use of St Mary Romanian Catholic Church while repairs are made

March 3, 1946

First Divine Liturgy celebrated at a newly refurbished St. Nicholas. Renovations cost $30,000. Murals painted  by Antonio D'Ambrosio of New York still exist today.

November 27, 1947 

 Church rededicated after fire

June 13, 1954

40th Anniversary Celebration

1950s

Church picnic grounds purchased

1963

Church refurbished

June 14, 1964

50th Anniversary Celebration

1970s

Ethnic Festivals started

1980s

St. Jude's Mission Parish established in Southampton

December 10, 1989

75th Anniversary Celebration

December 11, 1994

80th Anniversary Celebration

Summer 2014

Church closed for renovations in anticipation of 100th Anniversary. St. Mary Romanian Church again offers the use of their  church during this time

October 12, 2014

100th Anniversary Celebration

 

 

 

Pastors and Administrators

1914-15 Rev. Joseph Kovalchik- Founder and Administrator
1915 Rev. Valentine Balough- Administrator
1915-16, 1917-22 Rev. Eugene Homichko -Administrator
1916 Rev. John A Zaklinsky- 1st regularly appointed Pastor for whom a home was rented  in Bordentown
1922 Rev. Rudolph Runtagh- Administrator
1922-25 Rev. Basil Ivancho -Administrator
1925-28 Rev. Gabriel Chopey- Administrator
1928-29 Rev. Eugene Volkay- 1st resident Pastor
1929-31 Rev. Elmer Berecky- Pastor
1931 Rev. John Lukacs- Administrator
1931-40 Rev. Louis Artin - Administrator
1940-41 Rev. Victor Kovalicky - Administrator
1941-51 Rev. Michael Cyberey- Pastor
1951 Rev. Michael J. Miyo- Administrator
1951-53 Msgr. Tomaslav Firis, D.D. - Pastor
1953-59 Rev. Ely Krajacic - Pastor
1959-63 Rev. John Kost- Pastor
1963-66 Rev. George Berzinec- Pastor
1966-74 Rev. Andrew Zapatocky- Pastor
1974-91 Rev. Austin Morbacher- Pastor
1991 Rev. John Danilak - Pastor
1991-93 Rev. Glenn Davidowich- Pastor
1993-96 Rev. Robert E. Lucas- Pastor
1996-98 Rev. James Koury- Pastor
1998-2007 Rev. Lawrence Wolf- Pastor
2007 – present Very Rev. Gregory Noga- Administrator

 

Notable Parishoners

Two who grew up at St. Nicholas have answered the call to service in the church:

Very Rev. John Basarab and Sister Barbara Mihalchik

This Parish sent 75 of its finest off to War and three made the ultimate sacrifice:

May God be with John Hathazi, Joe Seaman and Dam Szypulski forever.

One local boy grew up to be St. Nicholas's highest ranked  military officer:

Lt. General John Stephen  Pustay, PhD