The history of our Cathedral begins long before the doors opened in the fall of 1969. In 1952 there was only one Greek Church in Bergen County, the Ascension Church in Fairview. As the number of Greek Orthodox Christians grew, there became a need for an additional church in Northeastern Bergen County. Members of the congregation began exploring locations in the area to build another Greek Orthodox Church.
In 1959, with love, support and generosity a group of our members began purchasing and donating land. Over time we acquired 11 beautiful acres on the East Hill in Tenafly which is the site of the present church complex. Groundbreaking for the new church took place on April 14, l968 and a little over a year later the church opened its doors on November 9th, 1969 under the guidance of the first priest assigned to St Johns, Father Socrates Tsamutalis.
On April 5th, 1979, the Archdiocese elevated the church to status of Cathedral with Metropolitan Silas as Bishop. Today we are blessed with his Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of NJ leading our divine liturgy on many holidays and the resurrection services.
In the early 70’s the community was filled with families wanting to bring their children in a religious environment and not lose their Greek heritage. Parents longed for a sense of family and the church was able to provide that environment. Greek school education, Sunday school classes, spiritual guidance, dance classes, GOYA activities, Scout outings were all conducted at the church as they are to this day. There was a sense of family. Today that sense of family still exists with first and second generations viewing the Cathedral not only as a religious home but also as an extended family.
The parish council throughout the years along with the vibrant and energetic community at St John’s continues to improve the church. In the 1980’s, the parish embarked on a massive iconography program, as well as the construction of a community center and a gymnasium.
A landscaping project is underway to beautify the church as well as plans for a playground to benefit our children.
In addition to a strong physical facility, the community has been blessed spiritually under the guidance of six inspirational priests.
- Father Socrates Tsamutalis 1969 – 1988
- Father Peter C. Kyriakos 1988 – 1990
- Very Rev. Anastasios C. Blougouras 1990 – 1998
- Father John Alexandrou 1998 – 2008
- Father Panagiotis Lekkas 2008 – 2014
- Father Peter Zougras 2014 – present
Throughout the years the church has cultivated an engaged community with active groups, fundraising and most importantly a spiritual resolve evident in even our youngest members.
Our history is long and there may be relevant parts missing in this summary.
Please forward to any information to [email protected] and we will be happy to feature it in upcoming updates.