The missionary zeal of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church implanted the Cross of Christ in 1794 in Alaska and grew the Church of Christ across America. The Church in Alaska baptized thousands of the indigenous population. In the late 1800’s immigrants from southeastern Europe and of the Orthodox faith established parishes throughout America, and Saints Peter and Paul Church was among the first of the new communities.
Under the pastoral guidance of Archpriest Alexander Hotovitzky, who served under the His Grace, Bishop TIKHON (Belavin), who later became a Holy Confessor, and Patriarch of All-Russia, the parish was founded on March 25, 1907. The church only a mile from Ellis Island became a hub for the ‘newcomers’ and served their needs. The temple in which the parish worships today was consecrated in 1928, by the Most Reverend PLATON (Rozhdestvensky), Archbishop of North America and the Aleutian Islands, later Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church of North America. His Grace, Bishop MICHAEL (Dahulich), presides over the parish as Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, and the parish is ministered daily by its pastor, Archpriest Joseph Lickwar.