Our Mission: SS. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church is a local Christian community of the Orthodox Church in America located in Meriden, Connecticut, and serving the surrounding area. We offer the love of Christ Jesus to all, both in words and in action. Grateful for God’s gifts, we work to expand the mission of Jesus Christ.
Who We Are: Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church is a parish of the Diocese of New England in the Orthodox Church in America. The Orthodox Church traces its history, worship, and faith continuously back to the Apostles of Jesus Christ.
We are a lively and friendly community embracing a variety of backgrounds, all holding to the faith of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
We are the heirs of the missionary efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church, which began on the North American continent more than 200 years ago. The parish was founded in 1911 by the Very Rev. Seraphim Oblivantzeff, and is named for the leaders of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, Saints Peter and Paul. The founding members were primarily Russian immigrants, but from the first there have been other nationalities and ethnicities represented as well. Today, certain members of our parish can trace their roots back to those founders, but we also include many people of widely different backgrounds. All are welcome.
The center of our Orthodox life is the worship of God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. This worship follows a tradition of a thousand years and more, and is almost entirely scriptural in language. Most of it is sung or chanted, with no instrumental accompaniment. Its focus is on proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and participating in the Holy Mysteries (often called sacraments). Baptism and Chrismation (anointing with the seal of the Holy Spirit) bring us forgiveness and enter our names into God’s adopted family; the Eucharist feeds us with spiritual food and gives us life from God; Confession restores us when we stray from God. These and other Holy Mysteries fill all of life with the presence and power of God.
The weekly rhythm of our worship is based on the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We begin Saturday evening with the Vespers service, which prepares us for hearing the Gospel and paricipation in the Eucharist Sunday morning, at the Divine Liturgy.
The best way to learn who we are is to meet us in person. Come and see for yourself!
We are located in Meriden, Connecticut, a city of 50,000, which is half-way between Hartford and New Haven on I-91. The Church is easily reached from I-691, the connector between I-84 and I-91.
Our Church building is located at 54 Park Avenue, neighboring City Park. Our building is the second one to be occupied by the parish. It was built in 1954-55, according to a traditional Byzantine-Russian style, and was painted by Ivan Dikey in 1961-63 in traditional Byzantine manner.
Much of the iconography is related to that in the Monastery Catholicon of St. Stephen of Decani in Kosovo.
The Orthodox Church traces its beginnings to the self-revelation of God on earth. As testified in the Scriptures, God has revealed Himself through a particular people whom He chose and taught through the prophets, teachers, evangelists and all those who have made His righteousness known throughout the ages. Most particularly He has revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ (the anointed one of God) who became a man, suffered, died, rose again, ascended into heaven and is coming again in glory to bring judgment and salvation; and through His Holy Spirit who was revealed to us on the day of Pentecost. This Holy Spirit gave the Apostles the power and understanding to preach the good news (the Gospel) of Jesus Christ throughout all the world. Those who received and followed their preaching rightly and faithfully are the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which the Nicene Creed speaks. The Orthodox (literally, "right-believing") Church is the company of Christians who have upheld the whole tradition of the Apostolic Faith to this day.
Although this tradition remains the greatest treasure of Christians, it also is a cause of sorrow, because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and we have frequently allowed sin, division, and false teaching to flourish. By the mercy of God alone, the great treasury of His Church remains open to all who wish to find it. From the beginning, people have strayed from the ways God had set for them, and it is also difficult to express divine truths in human terms, accessible to each generation and culture. So there have been divisions among Christians from the beginning. The Roman Catholic Church has been divided from the Orthodox on important matters of teaching and practice for hundreds of years, before the Protestant Reformation.
In our own day, the Orthodox Church is found mostly in the East: Russia, Eastern Europe, Greece, the Middle East. But Orthodox missionaries have established churches not only in America but southern Africa and the Pacific. Significant communities of Orthodox Christians can also be found in Western Europe. World-wide, there are about a quarter of a billion Orthodox Christians, with about two million in North America. The Diocese of New England, of which Saints Peter and Paul Church is a member, is comprised of 27 parishes and missions. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon is the leader of the Orthodox Church in America, and he currently leads our diocese, until a permanent diocesan bishop is elected.