St. George Orthodox Catholic Church began in 1913 when it was founded as St. George Romanian Orthodox Parish, located at 205 East Street in Buffalo as one of the oldest Orthodox communities on the Niagara Frontier. It served the Rumanian Orthodox community for many years. However, by the late 1930s, the parish could no longer support a priest due to declining membership as families left the area.
In 1945 as a missionary parish under the name Theophany Orthodox Catholic Parish was started by ten students at the University of Buffalo, with the authorization and blessing of Metropolitan Benjamin Fedechenko, Exarch of the Patriarch of Moscow, and under the spiritual guidance of the Priest Michael Gelsinger, a scholar and classics professor at U.B. His specialty was Byzantine liturgics and hymnology. A convert from Lutheranism, Fr. Gelsinger was ordained for missionary work by Archbishop Alexander Nemolovsky and devoted himself to the growth of the parish with the intense support of his wife Agnes, daughter Mary, and son John. Mary and Matushka Agnes ran the Church School while John directed and developed the Choir.
The first several Liturgy services were celebrated in the pastor’s home with the founding students, their families, and other Orthodox students at U.B. to form the small congregation. A Romanian student enlisted the cooperation of St. George Romanian Orthodox congregation whose parish was without a priest for several years, but had its own small church building which was only used occasionally for services with invited Orthodox clergy. In this way, the erstwhile missionary parish first called Allied St. George-Theophany, later simplified to St. George-Theophany, and finally, in 1963 named St. George Orthodox Catholic Church, became an active and energetic parish using English nearly exclusively in its divine services, but from time to time using tokens of Greek, Slavonic, and Romanian to accommodate its ethnically oriented and diverse parishioners. During the years from 1963-1965, the parish was servd by Fr Paul Karraz and his beloved Matushka Dolores. The parish was served by part-time priests without compensation until 1965 when it took the bold step of committing its small congregation to supporting a full-time pastor, a convert by the name of Father Gregory Champion. In 1970, the parish voted to be transferred from the Patriarchal jurisdiction to the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) and was assigned Father George Timko, who continued as the spiritual director and father of the parish for 28 years with the active support of his Matushka Dorothy, who remains a member of St. George to this day, and his children, two of whom are still active in the life of the parish.
In 1964 – 65, a new church building was constructed on a previously purchased parcel of land at the edge of Delaware Park at Nottingham and Amherst. The church hall was expanded in 1977 , and a Rectory built on the property in 1990. With Father George’s falling asleep in the Lord in 2000, Father Herman Schick and Matushka Cynthia were assigned to the parish and served from 2000 to 2011 when Father Herman was placed on medical leave by Bishop Michael.
St. George was served through the dedication of Fr John Bohushand Very Rev Alexey Karlgutas visiting priests until the assignment of Fr. Jason Vansuch in June of 2013. St. George has always had a mix of Orthodox parishioners from varied backgrounds and cultures, but has drawn most of its strength by giving low priority to ethnicity and focusing rather on the spirituality of the church. This may account for the large number of converts to Orthodoxy who have been and continue to be an active part of the community. It is a spiritual center where personal friendships are nurtured and cherished – a family with “faith and love” in Christ.