Diocese: Diocese of New York and New Jersey
Deanery: New Jersey Deanery
11 Wilkins Station Rd
Medford, New Jersey 08055
24 Colmar Rd
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
From the New Jersey Turnpike
Take the Turnpike south to exit 4 and follow Route 73 SOUTH to the Marlton Circle where Route 70 intersects Route 73. Follow directions from Marlton Circle (below).
Take the Route 70 EAST exit to the Marlton Circle where Route 70 intersects Route 73. Follow directions from Marlton Circle (below).
From Marlton Circle
Drive EAST on Route 70. After approximately 4 miles, you will come to a light and see a Burger King and an Acme on your left. As you pass Medford Ford on your right, you will see the Union Fire Station and a Rita’s Water Ice. At the next light, turn left on to Medford-Mt. Holly Rd, Route 541. Turn at the first right, Wilkins Station Rd and then make the first left into the Church parking lot.
Schedule of Services
5:00 PM Great Vespers.
9:30 AM Church School and Adult Education (Fall-Winter).
10:00 AM Divine Liturgy (9:30 AM in summer).
The Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross was founded in 1973 with the conviction that Orthodoxy was a gift that did not require the acquisition of certain language skills or the love of any particular ethnic cuisine or culture. All these could and indeed would be celebrated in their own time and way but they would not be the central organizing principles. In taking the name of the Holy Cross the parish leaders sought to bring together under this universal Christian “symbol” the deepest yearnings of all people to “know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” (John 17:3)
The first concrete step came wit a letter written by Alexander Leon and Dennis Siry on May 9, 1973 asking the late Metropolitan Ireney for permission to start an Orthodox Church in southern New Jersey. After a number of organizational meetings and the participation of the dean, Fr John Nehrebecki, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on September 16, 1973, at a school in Cherry Hill.
Shortly after that, Fr Anthony Pluth was ordained to the Priesthood and assigned as pastor, a position he held until 1986. From 1975 until 1984, when it purchased its present facility, the community utilized space within the hall of a local Roman Catholic Church.
The parish membership of approximately 100 adults is represented by many different backgrounds: Arabic, Carpatho-Russian, Greek, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian, as well as many converts to the Orthodox Faith. As such, it draws people from nearly an hour radius of its location in southern New Jersey (outside of Philadelphia).
Over the years many creative and supportive people have given of their talents and resources. Of particular importance has been the work and generosity of its women’s organization, St Helena’s Guild. Alexander Leon has added greatly to the aesthetical beauty of the community’s worship with his craftsmanship in designing and carving the altar, iconostas, center table, processional cross, and icon stands. The parish has also been blessed with one of its own sons, Alexander Gerken, attending St Vladimir’s Seminary, becoming an Orthodox Monastic, and being ordained to the Priesthood. Fr Sergius (as he is now known) has served, among other places, as the pastor of Three Saints Church in Old Harbor, Alaska, and presently at Holy Resurrection Church, Berlin, New Hampshire.
The parish’s most signioficant annual fundraising project is a Fall Festival (Held in September) that incorporates the sale of ethnic foods, imported and craft items, with a variety of musical and dance performers.
Church school classes and adult education take place on Sunday morning before the Divine Liturgy. Other educational opportunities—guest speakers and presentations—are offered during the year, as well as a summer church school program. The parish prepares monthly meals for a local soup kitchen and donates to other local and national church causes as the need arises.
In 1986, Fr John Shimchick was assigned as the church’s pastor. Since that time the parish has continued to grow and be challenged by the gift of the Orthodox Faith. It has sought to develop ways, both educational and social, that allow for this Faith to shape its own community life and to be shared with the greater community.