HOLY TRINITY ORTHODOX CHURCH
305 Washington Street
New Britain, Connecticut
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Parish History

A faithful group of Byelorussian and Slav immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire founded the SS Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood after the arrival of John J Hamilla to New Britain in 1899 [Memoirs of John Hamilla about the founding of the parish]. This brotherhood led to the founding of SS Cyril and Methodius Othodox Church with the blessing of Archbishop Tikhon (Bellavin) of New York. Funds were raised and property purchased. The Cornerstone was blessed on Sunday, August 31, 1902, by Archimandrite Raphael (Hawaweeny) [later Bishop & Saint Raphael ]. On December 12th the new Church building was consecrated by Archbishop Tikhon, together with Fr. Alexander Hotovitzky of New York and our first rector Igumen Ptolomey (Timchenko). The parish was truly blessed to have the presence of three of the saintly American Orthodox pioneers involved in its growth. This church building, located on Beatty Street, is still in use today, although it has gone through other ownership.


In 1907, the assignment of Fr Constantine Buketoff energized the parish. The parish choir was formed, an adult discussion group on the Faith was begun on Sunday evenings, and normal attendance grew to about 90-120 people. Membership grew rapidly, as there was no other Orthodox churches in central or northern Connecticut. The midnight services for Pascha (Easter) regularly drew about 500 people. Fr Buketoff began regular missionary work, which led to the eventual founding of SS Cyril and Methodius Church in Terryville (1908), SS Peter and Paul Church in Meriden (1911), and All Saints Church in Hartford (1914). He was assigned to Hartford in 1914. Other parishes which find the spark to their beginning in New Britain include: St Nicholas Church in Norwich (1915), Holy Trinity Church in Willimantic (1916), and SS Peter and Paul Church in Springfield, Massachusetts (1916).


In 1913, the need for a larger church building was evident. Property was purchased on Washington Street, the present location, and a new church building constructed. The church was consecrated to the Holy Trinity, which gave the parish its present name. Archbishop Platon came to New Britain in October 1913 to bless the cornerstone. The beautiful, five-domed Russian-Byzantine church remains the house of worship to this day.

In 1921, an epic era in the history of Holy Trinity Church began with the assignment of Fr Joseph Dankevich as pastor. Through the crisis of the Russian Revolution and the administrative chaos that prevailed through the Depression, through World War II, into the depths of the Cold War, Father Dankevich served Holy Trinity Church. He died in 1956, still the pastor of Holy Trinty Church. He is buried in New Britain at the church cemetery and the present day Church School is dedicated to his memory.

Fr Sergius Kuharsky, Fr Konstantin Kaminsky, Fr Paul Lazor and Fr Sergei Bouteneff followed in the years after the death of Fr Dankevich. [See list of all the pastors of Holy Trinity.] Through the 1960's. 70's and 80's, the parish went through the movement from the "old style" Julian Calendar to the "new style" Revised Julian Calendar, the translation from Church Slavonic to English and the development and growth of the education programs.


Fr John Dresko, arrived on September 1, 1989. A successful stewardship program was instituted in 1991 and serves as a model for the Stewardship and Leadership training module for the Orthodox Church in America. In 2002 the parish celebrated its 100th Anniversary and in 2004 we celebrated Fr John's 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood. Fr John served Holy Trinity for 16 years.

On March 1, 2006 our current pastor, Fr David Koles, arrived. We continue to be the leader in support for the ONE Stewards program for the Diocese of New England and have contributed mightily to The Bishop's Circle, a special part of ONE Stewards established by Archbishop Nikon. Our charitable efforts, which has been a cornerstone in our parish, has taken a local flavor assisting the surrounding community as well as national and inter-national organizations. The parish currently is comprised of 107 adults and 25 children.


On October 12 - 13, 2013 we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Laying of the Cornerstone with a visit of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon who presided at the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, procession and blessing of the church. We continue to be a beacon of Christ in central Connecticut now into our second century.