In 1991, four Orthodox Christians met with his Grace Bishop Methodios to discuss the possibility of starting a Church in the 95/495 area where many young families had settled and where the presence of an Orthodox Parish was lacking. Together with His Grace, who strongly encouraged the idea, they formulated a Mission Statement which engendered great enthusiasm among clergy and laity throughout the Archdiocese. The words "prototype" and "the future of Orthodoxy in America" were often heard.
Soon approximately fifty others joined the effor to create a new parish, all sharing and supporting the vision of a Church whose mission is: "TO SERVE THE RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL NEEDS OF ALL GREEK ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS, CONVERTS, THOSE OF INTER-FAITH MARRIAGES, AND THE "UNCHURCHED" LIVING IN THE 95/495 AREA, AND ESPECIALLY, THOUGH NOT EXCLUSIVELY, THOSE WHOSE MOTHER TONGUE IS ENGLISH". United in purpose, they rented a tiny building in Norwood, MA. Working with great commitment and dedication, they created an Orthodox house of worship in a very small space. On Sunday, May 10, 1992 the first Divine Liturgy was conducted by Father George Economou, who had been assigned by His Grace to serve the Parish.
Almost immediately the congregation outgrew the Norwood Church and a committee was formed to pursue a larger facility. Eventually, the Parish rented a warehouse five miles south in Sharon, MA. Once again, committed and dedicated volunteers worked night and day giving generously of their time, talents and treasure. Their efforts, under the caring guidance of Father Stanley Harakas (the second priest assigned to the Church), resulted in a beautiful and serene Church. Shortly afterwards, the Church which had been known as the Greek Orthodox Parish of Rtes. 95/495, received its name, St. Gregory the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church.
In 1995, Father Michael Bird became the full-time priest of the Parish and joined in the effort to find a permanent home for St. Gregory's. In 1997, after much prayer and through the Grace of God, an existing Church situated on 8 acres was found in the town of Mansfield, MA almost exactly where Routes 95 and 495 intersect. It is difficult to describe the fervor with which the parishioners almost overnight transformed a neglected building into a magnificent Orthodox Christian Church. With love and devotion they worked feverishly to construct a sanctuary, refurbished classrooms, offices, a social hall, and later a bookstore and library.
Upon the retirement of Father Michael, Father Ted Toppses, became the 4th Priest to serve at St. Gregory's conducting his first Divine Liturgy on August 15, 2014.
IN THE BEGINNING.... there was a dream, a vision, a mission. May God give us the strength, the wisdom and the courage to follow the dream, promote the vision, and never forget the mission upon which this Church, St. Gregory the Theologian, was founded. Let us be true to Christ's mandate: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the end of the age." Matthew 28: 19-20
St. Gregory in the news
- Parishioners of St. Gregory's in Mansfield remember the Rev. Michael Bird; The Sun Chronical, February 6, 2015.
- A tough assignment for new Mansfield church's priest; The Sun Chronical, February 7, 2015.
- Mansfield church welcomes new priest; The Sun Chronicle, October 25, 2014.
- A Greek Revival; The Sun Chronical, February 11, 2006.