About Our Parish

Our parish is quickly approaching the 125th- a 125 years of hard work and heroic accomplishments by our predecessors and founders.

It all began on April 1, 1894 when an organization of eight men was established, named SS. Peter and Paul Greek Catholic Russian Orthodox Church Association, with the goal of establishing an Orthodox parish in Buffalo, New York. This was the first Orthodox Church in the Niagara Frontier in the New York/New Jersey. A fund – $59.00 in cash and $253.00 in pledges – was established for the purpose of constructing a church.

In may of 1894 a site for the proposed church was purchased at 45 Ideal Street extending to Benzinger Street and consisting of four city lots. The cost of the property was $2,160.00.

From June of 1894 through December of 1895 the parish was able to purchase the lumber for $300.00 and to build a small wooden church, furnishing it with the necessary sacred items. The construction was done by the men from the parish who also built a parish hall.

In 1903 SS. Peter and Paul received a bell cast from bronze which was made at the Chaplain Fulton Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The bell was consecrated on April 23, 1903, by His Grace, The Most Reverend Archbishop Tikhon who came to America from St. Petersburg. Later he became a Patriarch of Moscow, who was glorified a saint in 1980’s in the Orthodox Church.

The first full-time rector, Father Alexander Venjaminoff, assigned to the parish in 1905. The decades that followed were marked by continuing growth in membership with.

On July 1, 1928 Father Erast Wolkodoff was assigned to SS. Peter and Paul. About one year after his arrival plans were made for the construction of brick church.

During the autumn of 1932, with 225 families registered, contracts were signed with the architect and contractors. Joseph E. Fronczak, the noted architect, designed the church in the Russian-Byzantine style with the capacity of 400 at estimated cost of $45,000.00. The cost of $45,000.00 included 4 and 1/2 tons tons of copper to lay gutters, Spanish tile roofing and three towers (turrets) and a 30-foot copper tower for the central dome extending the height of the church to 100 feet.

The cornerstone was laid for the new church. Men of the parish who were unemployed because of the depression were hired by the construction company as laborers. By October of 1933 the church was completed. The consecration of the new edifice took place on October 8, 1933 with thousands in attendance. Many of people in attendance traveled great distances to participate in this milestone and represented many different ethnic Orthodox Christians. The Lord’s Prayer was especially arranged for the choir by Nicholas Kedroff, director of the famous Kedroff Quartet.

One of the factors that contributed to the parish growth was Father Erast Wolkodoff effort in sponsoring refugees to the United States who contributed greatly to the cultural, financial, educational and spiritual life of the Buffalo Parish. Most of these refugees came from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Following the demise of Father Wolkodoff, the state of SS. Peter and Paul has paralleled the history prior to his coming to Buffalo. Several clergy were assigned to the parish, but the longest stay was 8 years (by Father Steven Janos). Every priest who served at Saints Peter and Paul did their very best to serve the people and every one contributed to what our parish is today.

In August of 2011, His Grace, The Right Reverend MICHAEL, bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey initiated the “Operation Buffalo”, a project aimed at renovating the parish rectory for a new full-time priest. The project galvanized the¬†enthusiasm of the parishioners who are now looking towards the great future of Saints Peter and Paul parish.

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