Syro-Malankara rite buys historic Presbyterian church in US
Blauvelt: The Syro-Malankara rite, an India-based Eastern Catholic Church, has bought a historic Presbyterian church in a New York hamlet.
The two-centuries-old church building and 1.6-acre property along Western Highway in Blauvelt has been sold for US$710,000, according to documents on file at the Rockland County Clerk’s Office.
It will become home to St. Peter’s Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, a 100-member parish that now meets in Spring Valley, vicar Father Augustine A. Mangalath told lohud.com on January 19.
The Malankara priest said it would take some time before the new parish could move in because the building had been unused for more than a year and needed maintenance work.
The Presbytery of Hudson River sold the parcel to the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy in the USA and Canada, headquartered in Elmont, New York.
The Indian Church was earlier sought to build a church on Mountainview Avenue in Valley Cottage before the land was sold to Clarkstown amid neighborhood opposition.
Greenbush Presbyterian Church was founded in 1812 and became a hub of what was then a heavily German community.
Amid dwindling membership and shifting demographics, the congregation came to the decision to close the church in 2015, and its last service was held in October of 2016.
At that point the church had fewer than 50 members, down from upwards of 275 in the 1970s.
Greenbush Presbyterian Church was founded in 1812 by 10 members. They built the church in 1824 and dedicated a year. However, a fire destroyed it 11 years later. The second church too was gutted in 1882. Third church, which currently stands at the site, was dedicated in 1883. The present church, in the Gothic style, has a tower and bell erected in 1896.
The name “Blauvelt,” of Dutch origin, is that of a prominent family that settled in the area in the 17th century. Literally, it means “blue-field”, or “blue pasture fields.”