History of St. Peter & Paul's  Society Elmira, N. Y.

A small group of men of Russian descent met on June 13, 1914 in Elmira Heights, N.Y., to form a lodge which was named St. Peter & Paul's Society. Their first meetings were held in different members homes. The purpose of the organization was to group our Russian people together in religion, traditions, provide protection through insurances, eventually build a Church and have their own cemetery. In a short time the society was well organized. It had it own sick and death benefits for its members. On January 2, 1916 at a yearly meeting the membership decided to purchase one acre of land to be used as a Russian Cemetery which to this day the society maintains and supervises. The cemetery is operated as a non-profit organization serving as a parish cemetery for Holy Trinity Russian Church and other Eastern Orthodox faith. For over forty years the St. Peter & Paul's Society members have given their time and energy so the Russian people could have their own cemetery. In the same year of 1916 the members decided something should be done about building a church. Since they were organized over two years their next step was a Russian Church. The Society played an important part in building, financing the church and later the parish home through it members. The minutes of lodge meetings and records on file speak for themselves what the organization did in building the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church of Elmira Heights. The St. Peter & Paul's Society has been the Church Brotherhood from the first day. Every Christmas and Easter its members stand with lighted Candles throughtout Divine Liturgy, their faith and loyalty to the Church. The Society has done much in the past through donations, purchases and supporting all worthy undertakings of the Church. In the year of 1921, the Society became a chartered member of the R.B.O. as Chapter 213 and 116 providing life insurance for the members. Today the R.B.O. offers some of the best life insurance policy that can be obtained from any fraternal insurance company. Our young members have taken advantage of them. The lodge has its own local sick and death benefits. Also in time of death, it provides pall bearers, cars, assistance to immediate family and in some cases through wills or insurance arranges the complete funeral for its members without relatives. On the lighter side, the lodge holds dances, banquets, parties and has its annual picnic after St. Peter & Paul's Lent. Today the Society is doing the work of three different organizations in one, being a church brotherhood, operating a Russian Cemetery and being a lodge in the R.B.O. The work of the organization will always continue to serve the Russian People in the Elmira area as it was organized by its pioneers in the early days of the Society.

Banquet held at Myhalyk's Resturant on May 15, 1955 by members of R.B.O. Lodge 213