About Our Church

Holy Trinity

1. The Local Church

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity is under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America which belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate with headquarters in old Constantinople, present day Istanbul.

The Church was built in the centuries old Byzantine tradition which brings together the Hellenic and Christian concepts of faith and knowledge. The design of the Church incorporates two octagons capped by a dome. The outer octagon is called paideia (education, culture), and serves educational purposes. It includes classrooms for religious and cultural instruction, Sunday school and Greek school. Greek learning, knowledge of Greek history, language, philosophy and ideas are very important for an understanding of Christianity - its birth, growth, and development. A knowledge of the Bible is, of course, indispensable for an understanding of the Christian faith. Early Christianity and Hellenism were in constant interaction and mutually fulfilling.

Both the art and architecture of Holy Trinity have religious and symbolic meaning and significance. It was important for the local community that conceived and built the church in 1982 to use ancient symbols as a statement of its conviction that the eternal truths which are symbolized in the exterior and interior of the church have meaning and importance for our modern age. The dome is symbolic of the heavens which descended to meet the earth, God's incarnation in Jesus Christ and His ministry among human beings in order to elevate them to the Divinity. The design of the physical church helps to uplift the believer to God.

As we pass through the doors of the church, we enter the outer Narthex. Historically this space was the place where the unbaptized stood to learn the teachings and beliefs of the Christian Church. It contained many Icons (religious paintings) that were used as visual aids to teach the eternal truths. In our Narthex you see panels depicting the hospitality of Abraham and the Virgin with the child Jesus.

In today's church, the Narthex helps us to prepare to enter the House of God. We can make an offering, light a candle and meditate, or pray silently.

In the narthex we reverence the icons of the Church before entering the Nave. The Greek Orthodox Church honors the Holy Trinity: One God in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Then, the nave of the church is entered. We have dropped our worldly cares and made a symbolic entry into the Kingdom of God. We are in the company of the Apostles, Evangelists, and Saints who have gone before us, some of whom are depicted on the Icon Screen, and on the dome above us.

At the far end of the church our eyes are attracted to the icon of the Platytera, the title given to the Virgin Mary who is holding the Christ child. As these figures rise above the altar, our gaze is drawn to the icon of the head of Christ, the Pantocrator centered in the golden dome above us.

Thus, the architecture of our church speaks to us theologically as well as aesthetically. The dome that covers the entire church symbolizes God as dominion and the floor symbolizes the earth. The Virgin Mother of Christ, centrally situated, symbolizes the ladder of Divine descent by which God entered history through the Incarnation. In this way, Christ offers salvation, accomplished through the crucifixion, symbolized by the shape of the cross, within the church. The Resurrection is experienced when one comes forward to receive Christ in Holy Communion.

The Altar, which may be entered only by the clergy in the Orthodox Church, can be seen through the Beautiful Gates set in the center of the icon screen.

All of this symbolism, accented by the gentle roundness of the architecture, represents the entire universe, not reaching upward with spires and steeples, but humbly submitting itself to the everpresent God, receiving His saving Grace.

2.The World-Wide Greek Orthodox Faith

Greek Orthodox Christians believe that there is one God, Who created humankind and the universe. He created everything we see and what we don't see out of nothing. We have a beginning. Matter has a beginning.

We also believe that God is more than a creator. We call Him Father, meaning that while he doesn't need us, and didn't need to create us, He loves us, and is sorrowful that we took the precious gift of free will and chose to separate ourselves from Him. The results of this separation from God, which we call sin, is death. But God did not create us to die. He created us to live forever. But we had to choose life.

Seeing that man could not reach his potential of immortality because of death, God sent His Son into the world to save us from the results of sin which is death. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God Who through His crucifixion and resurrection destroyed the power of death and gives man the opportunity once again to choose God, who is life.

We believe that Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life." We also believe that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him. It is this Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth that guides and protects the believer. We believe that this Holy Spirit gives life to those who believe in God.

This belief that God is one, yet three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is called the doctrine of the Trinity. Three persons comprise the Trinity that are one in essence. This is a mystery, beyond our comprehension, but experienced by us in the reality that we know God outside of us, beyond us and the universe as the Father. We also know God inside us, talking to us, reminding us of right and wrong, renewing us as the Holy Spirit. But we also know God next to us as a friend, someone to talk to, someone to guide us, someone to hold on to, who sees right through us, but who sees us through, who gives His life for us as the Son of God.

3. The Attributes of the Church

This faith is lived in a community of believers called the Church. Its members are joined together in faith and baptism to Jesus Christ, and are united together through Him to God and to each other. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ. The guide and pilot of the Church is the Holy Spirit.

It is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ the cornerstone, and is a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. As such it dates back in unbroken succession to Christ and the first Apostles. Today there are 250 million Greek Orthodox Christians throughout the world.


The Church is often referred to as Eastern Orthodox as it has its enter of growth in "eastern" Constantinople, in contrast to "western" Rome. Of course the Church today is found in all continents and throughout the world.


It is also called Greek Orthodox to denote that it dates back to the time of the New Testament when Greek was the universal language. The Apostles preached in Greek to the gentile world, and wrote the books of the New Testament in Greek. The church of the first four or five centuries was Greek speaking.


Orthodox is derived from two Greek words: "Orthos" (right or true) and "Doxa" (praise or opinion). This denotes its emphasis to proclaim the unadulterated faith of the Apostles safeguarded in the Church through the presence of the Holy Spirit.


The Church is One, because "there is one body and one spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all." The Russian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Albanian Orthodox, etc. are all one Church united by the same faith, worship and rules. Each is governed separately, as the Orthodox Church is a federation of self-governing churches throughout the world. There is no one bishop over the entire Church. Christ is its head. The Holy Spirit is its guide and protection.


The Church is Holy because its founder, Jesus Christ, is Holy and because the Holy Spirit resides in it. Its individual members are not perfect but they strive to be holy, or separate from the sin in the world. Their constant prayer is, "Lord have mercy," Kyrie Eleison, which acknowledges their need for forgiveness. They trust that the Lord will complete that which is wanting or deficient in their lives.


Catholic is a Greek word meaning universal. The Church is for all people, not only for Greeks or Romans or Jews, but for everyone from all nations. As such, its worship services are performed in the language of the people it serves. In this parish, Greek and English are both used as these are the mother tongues of sizeable portions of the congregation. In Japan, the Japanese language is used, in Korea, the Korean, etc.


The Church began with the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. The Lord promised "that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it." Therefore it has an uninterrupted existence throughout the centuries holding the original teachings and doctrines inviolate. The bishops of the Church can trace their order of succession all the way back to the Apostles and Christ in an unbroken line known as Apostolic Succession.

Oral and Written Teachings

The teachings of the Church are embodied in the Life of Christ on earth. He left no written statement, but rather a way of life, a faith, a new covenant, and the Holy Spirit. This Spirit speaks through the written word (Scripture), but also through the lives of Christ's followers, the Church. The Church, the body of believers, the saints, came first. They handed down the teachings of Christ by word of mouth and by their way of life. Later they began saving some of the letters and accounts of their members to hand down. These were compiled and became the New Testament writings. The oral teachings are called Holy Tradition. The written teachings of the first apostles are called the New Testament.


The Greek Orthodox Church is a liturgical church with its main emphasis placed on being a worshipping community. It uses ancient traditions and symbols. The worship experience appeals to the spirit within one and to all five senses of the human person, because the human being is not only soul, but a composite being of body and soul. There are seven main sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, Communion, Priesthood, Marriage and Healing.


The central act of worship is the Holy Communion Service. In this sacrament, the faithful join to offer thanks to God for the salvation given through His Son Jesus. It is therefore also called the Holy Eucharist, a Greek word which means thanksgiving. Also, when receiving the bread and wine, the faithful receive Jesus Christ. They become one with Him. They commune with Him. Being one with Jesus means that we become one with God and all of His people.

An Invitation

If you are interested in knowing more about the Orthodox Christian Church and its faith and worship, please call 653-8092 to speak to one of our priests. Religious instruction and Greek school classes are available to all.

How Can This Faith and Church Help You?

While the Greek Orthodox Church is not just another self-help system, its faith has obvious practical application. By uniting oneself with the eternal God Who created us and by following His principles in life, strengthened and supported by co-workers in His Church, one can grow into a true heir of the Eternal Kingdom.

Services are held every Sunday and major holiday as follows:
Orthos-Matins 8:45 a.m.
Divine Liturgy 9:30 a.m.
Sermon, English and Greek, 10:45 a.m.

Church Address
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Mill Road and Ridge Avenue
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08232

Mailing Address
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Post Office Box 769
Northfield, NJ 08225