About Our Parish
The Congregation of the Church of Holy Ascension of the Lord was established in October 1971, mostly by the Serbian immigrants from the region surrounding the City of Elizabeth and the rest of the State of New Jersey. Majority of the founders were previously members of the Congregation of Saint George Serbian Orthodox Church in Elizabeth who found themselves without church after they decided to disobey the new organization established by the Holy Synod of Serbian Orthodox Church in 1963. The new organization was in large part caused by the interference from the communist regime in Yugoslavia, seeking to establish three new dioceses that were directly subservient to the Patriarchate in Belgrade, and consequently to the communist government of Yugoslavia. Due to their anti-communist sentiment and aware of the influence of the communist regime in Yugoslavia on the Holy Synod, majority of the congregation of the Church of Saint George did not accept their decisions and the new rules. After an unsuccessful effort to keep their Church of Saint George, they decided to establish a new Congregation.
The Third Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth generously and wholeheartedly gave shelter to our congregation in their Sunday schoolroom in the basement. Our congregation, with the priest at the time, father Mitrofan, held the holy liturgies there for almost eight years until buying today's church. This was especially hard on their souls, knowing that they had built the Church of Saint George with their own hands, through hard labor and sacrifice, only 10 years earlier.
The current church building at 117 Liberty Street in Elizabeth was purchased with Lord’s help and generosity of the congregation and other benefactors in April of 1976. The first Divine Liturgy was held in the new building soon after, beginning of May 1976. Despite starting to use the church soon after the purchase, the building itself was in great need of restauration and remodeling. With a great amount of love, dedication, self-sacrifice, and generosity of the congregation and our friends, the church was restored and fully outfitted over the following two years, culminating with the Church Dedication and celebration on 19th November 1978.
Our congregation celebrates 50-year anniversary his year (2021). Unfortunately, due to disruptions and health concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we were not able to organize a celebration of this important milestone. However, we have every intention, and our Parish Council plans to organize a celebration in Summer 2022.
In this day and age, as our society and humanity as a whole are facing many challenges, uncertainty, and all kinds of changes that affect spirituality, faith, and our future, we need mutual love, compassion, unity, and cooperation among our congregation. Each one of us, through our actions and participation in Church activities, makes valuable contribution in preserving our heritage and orthodox faith. Everyone is invited and welcome to join in the prayer and church activities, be part of our congregation, and help our community to thrive and pass on our heritage and Christian values to future generations of Serbs in America.
With this faith and hope, we pray to Almighty God to help us and give us his blessings!
The Circle of Serbian Sisters
In our congregation we are especially proud of our Circle of Serbian Sisters. With their relentless dedication, labor, Christian love and faith, our Sisters contribute immensely to our congregation and community. Every Sunday our Sisters prepare Sunday Lunch in the church hall, they manage the church kitchen, and are actively participating in organization of various cultural and social activities in the church. They are truly an inspiration to all of us.