Saint Maximus Church is an Orthodox Christian community in the Binghamton, N.Y. area having its house of worship in rural Tioga County near the town of Owego. The church building, begun in 2003, was commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. Lazarus Gehring and erected by a gifted local stonemason, Mr. Mark Arrow. Soon an astonishing structure was rising in the countryside of upstate New York, a building unparalled in the New World.
The chapel, dedicated to our venerable father Maximus the Confessor, is based upon the 9th and 10th century Orthodox churches of Asturias in northwestern Spain and is in every detail faithful to the originals. This small but stunning monument is testimony in stone to the fact that Orthodox Christianity is that very faith spread by the holy apostles throughout the known world and common to East and West alike in the first Christian millennium.
By the end of 2006 the chapel was usable and at the beginning of 2007 a parish was organized having it as its place of worship. The ruling hierarch of the parish is Metropolitan Demetrius of America. The parish is under the jurisdiction of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of America, an autonomous eparchy of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, currently under the presidency of Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens. In its liturgical life the parish follows the Patristic (Julian) Calendar.
The wall paintings in the nave are mostly the work of the talented iconographer Priestmonk Maximus Marretta and his assistants, and are evocative of the frescoes and mosaics that adorned early Christian churches. The icons on the templon (iconostasis) and the main icon of Saint Maximus were painted by the parish rector, Protopresbyter Thomas Marretta. The wall paintings in the narthex are the work of the world-renowned iconographer Konstantina Krili and are in the style of the 11th and 12th centuries.
The parish hall is in a Mediterranean style harmonious with the church. Besides a kitchen and dining facilities, it includes three classrooms.
The liturgical language of the parish is English, with some use of Greek and Slavonic. Traditional psaltic (Byzantine) music is employed, and the various services are executed as fully as possible. There are no pews or musical instruments, as these are foreign to the Orthodox tradition.
The parishioners of Saint Maximus are a diverse group of various nationalities, both cradle Orthodox and converts, but are united in their commitment to authentic Orthodox piety and to upholding pure Orthodox Christianity – the original and true faith of Christ our Saviour. As such, the parish has as its dual focus the salvation of the souls of its members and the presentation of the priceless treasure of Orthodoxy to the surrounding community.