Holy Ghost Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
210 Maplewood Avenue, Ambridge, PA 15003

Your Parish Family Connected - April 19, 2024

 

SCHEDULE OF SERVICES

* (Tonight) April 19 - 6:30 PM - Akathist Prayer Service // Confessions: 6 PM - 6:20 PM

* Saturday, April 20 - 4:30 PM - Vespers // Confessions: 4 PM - 4:20 PM

* Sunday, April 21 - 10 AM - St. Basil Liturgy: “5th Sunday of Lent - St. Mary of Egypt”

* Wednesday, April 24 - 6:30 PM - Holy Unction (Anointing) // Confessions: 6 PM - 6:20 PM

* Friday, April 26 - 6:30 PM - Vespers: “Raising of Lazarus” // Confessions: 6 PM - 6:20 PM

     [This service marks the end of the 40-day Lent, and the beginning of the increased 7-day Holy Week devotion period!]

* Saturday, April 27 - 9:30 AM - St. John Liturgy: “Raising of Lazarus”  // Confessions:  9 AM - 9:15 AM

* Saturday, April 27 - 4:30 PM - Vespers (With Litiya): “Entrance into Jerusalem” // Confessions: 4 PM - 4:20 PM

* Sunday, April 28 - 9 AM - Holy Chrismation (Service of Conversion): Alecia Taylor

* Sunday, April 28 - 10 AM - St. John Liturgy (Blessing of Palms/Willows): “Entrance into Jerusalem”

* Sunday, April 28 - 4:30 PM - Bridegroom Matins of Holy Monday // Confessions: 4 PM - 4:20 PM


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+ Please contact me to schedule a special  time during the week for PRIVATE CONFSSION in addition to those times listed above if necessary.

It is my prayerful hope as your parish priest that all parish members will participate in the Mystery of Confession no later than Holy Wednesday (May 1). Only those parish members who have participated in Private Confession during this Holy Lent should approach to receive the Body and Blood of Christ once we have begun Holy Week.

+ REMINDER! Please approach for your Private Confession spiritually prepared by reviewing the available Confession materials. Question? Contact me.

+ While all are most welcome to attend the April 24th Holy Unction service and join us in prayer, you are reminded that only Orthodox Christians should come forward at the conclusion of this Sacramental Mystery to receive the anointing.


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SUNDAY LITURGY LAITY FUNCTIONS

* APRIL 21 THIRD HOUR: Mat. D. Evansky

* APRIL 21 EPISTLE: C. Corson

* APRIL 21 COLLECTION: R. Markvan / P. McKeown

* APRIL 28 THIRD HOUR: T. Evansky

* APRIL 28 EPISTLE: (Deacon)

* APRIL 28 COLLECTION: O. Mycyk / B. Nelko


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PRAYER / GET-WELL GREETINGS LIST:

* Mary Nelko: Heritage Valley Hospital - Sewickley


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*          CHURCH SCHOOL/ TEEN GROUP CLASSES are scheduled to meet again on April 28 (9 AM).

 

*         The next LENTEN COFFEE HOUR is scheduled to follow the St. Basil Liturgy this Sunday (April 21). This is a shared  coffee hour so please consider bringing a Lenten snack that day.  SCRIP CARDS will also be available downstairs during this event for you to purchase/order.

 

*          The Ladies Altar Society needs YOUR help in making the May 11th Youth Center TEA-BASKET PARTY a success. The L.A.S. needs party attendees. Please take a moment to review the attached flier. Also, there is a list on the vestibule candle desk for anyone to sign who can help at the Youth Center on the event day - or - contact Sharon Yakich to help. THANKS!

 

*          CHOIR REHEARSALS are scheduled to follow the Friday 6:30 PM services tonight and April 26.

 

*          For the first time in a long time, our OCA NORTHWEST DEANERY will have a LENTEN VESPERS SERVICE this year. The Vespers will be served at the St. John the Baptist Parish ( 150 Elmtree Drive, New Kensington 15068) this Sunday - April 21 - 6 PM. Try to come!

 

*          We thank everyone who helped make last Sunday’s L.A.S. SOUP AND SALAD LUNCHEON a success once again this year. Your generosity resulted in nearly $700 being collected to support the important mission of our L.A.S.

 

*          Please support our LENTEN CHARITY DRIVE of non-perishable food and household items by bringing some items to the downstairs kitchen area each time you come for worship. (Please contact me privately if you, or someone you know, needs some help!)

 

*          [ONE WEEK LEFT! I continue my LENTEN PASTORAL VISITS to our parish members unable to receive the Holy Sacraments of Confession and Communion at church because of physical limitations. I will be contacting the known names on my list, but you are free to also contact me if you, or someone you know in the parish, needs such a pastoral visit prior to Holy Week.

 

*          [DEADLINE SUNDAY!] The youth of the parish are selling SARRIS CANDY CROSSES as a fund raiser. The crosses cost $6.00 each and are available in chocolate or white chocolate. An ordering list is on the vestibule candle desk - please note that this Sunday is the deadline so the crosses can be distributed on April 28. Please contact Nikki Yakich if you have questions about this project.

 

*          HELP from anyone in the parish - male or female - is needed at the Youth Center tomorrow to make the PASCHA BREAD. The pre-ordered bread will be available for pick up downstairs in the church hall immediately following the April 21 Liturgy. We thank all who ordered bread.

 

*          The GRAVE WATCH LIST was placed in the vestibule this week for you to sign if you can take a turn “guarding” the Lord’s Tomb on Holy Friday (May 3) and Great Saturday (May 4) for an hour or two. All parish teens are invited to participate in the initial watch immediately following the 3 PM Holy Friday Burial Vespers and preceding the 7 PM Matins and Lamentations at the Tomb. Families, especially, are encouraged to bring your children and take part in this time-honored pious Orthodox tradition.


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    JESUS WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER  - for US!

He has no form nor comeliness; and we saw him, but he had no form nor beauty. But his form was ignoble, and inferior to that of the children of men; he was a man in suffering, and acquainted with the bearing of sickness, so that his face was turned away: he was dishonored, and not esteemed. He bears our sins and is pained for us: yet we accounted him to be in trouble, and in suffering, and in affliction. But he was wounded on account of our sins and was bruised because of our iniquities: the chastisement/teaching of our peace was upon him; and by his bruises we were healed. All we as sheep have gone astray; every one has gone astray in his way; and the Lord gave him up for our sins. And he, because of his affliction, opens not his mouth: he was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is voiceless, so he opens not his mouth. In his humility his judgment was taken away: who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken away from the earth: because of the iniquities of my people he was led to death.” (Is 53: 2b-8, Septuagint-translation)

            Not just some of us, but WE ALL have gone astray, “as sheep.” Not just Judas, or Pilate, or the Jews or Roman soldiers or riled-up crowds in the Gospel-narratives about Christ’s passion. On Holy and Great Friday (May 3), the God-Man, as one of us, “as a sheep,” paves the Way back for us, allowing Himself to be led “in His humility” along the Way of the Cross.

            Let each of us contemplate our Lord’s cross as we say: Thank You, Lord. Thank you for going through it all, through our darkness, death, and hell, that we may have a way out of there, into new life and light, in You. Let us embrace Your new Way today, once again, the Way of the Cross, in humility and gratitude for You. Let me walk through things responsibly, rather than avoid them through denial, wishful thinking, or self-centered fear. “Remember me, Lord, when You come into Your kingdom!

   We gather to enter into the Mystery of our Savior’s Crucifixion in merely 14 days - are YOU prepared?

    Be part of Christ - - participate in the HOLY SACRAMENTS of CONFESSION and EUCHARIST soon!


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Fr. Bill


Monthly Newsletter - April 2024

 

Laity Liturgy Functions

 

DATE                   THIRD HOUR                EPISTLE___        COLLECTION______

APRIL   7                      C. Schulte                                M. Soroka                      I. Yakich / N. Wiglesworth

APRIL 14                     T. Stahoviak                             (Deacon)                      R. Grano / A. Lauer

APRIL 21                     Mat. D. Evansky                      C. Corson                      R. Markvan / P. McKeown

APRIL 28                     T. Evansky                               (Deacon)                      O. Mycyk / B. Nelko

 

^  Please notify Fr. Bill in advance if you are unable to perform your liturgical function so that a substitute can be found in an orderly manner. Please mark your calendar since we do not send individual reminders.

 

^ Please contact Fr. Bill if you have any questions about these ministries. New participants are encouraged as well!

 

Pastoral Reminders from Fr. Bill

 

~          GREAT LENT continues during April leading up to our increased fasting regimen during Holy Week.  All the days of this month until the Holy Pascha (May 5) are considered days of fasting for Orthodox Christians. Each believer is called upon to honor this fasting period to the best of their ability. This time of spiritual renewal should not only include a dietary change but also the time to utilize the time-honored spiritual tools of increased prayer, Scripture reading, time of solitude, almsgiving, acts of seeking forgiveness from others, personal repentance, and frequent attendance at the divine services.     

~          All parish members are called upon to participate in PRIVATE CONFESSION and then receive HOLY COMMUNION (EUCHARIST) during Great Lent – this act of personal repentance is what ultimately marks us being members of the Holy Orthodox Church. Please come to Private Confession spiritually prepared by reviewing the material concerning Holy Confession in the pamphlet rack in the vestibule, on the parish web site, or by contacting Fr. Bill privately. If necessary, please contact Fr. Bill to schedule a special time for Private Confession during the week in addition to the multiple opportunities scheduled on the April calendar attached to this newsletter. Come to Christ soon!

 

~          Except for individuals required to eat or drink small amounts for medical conditions (i.e., with medications, etc.), Communion recipients are expected to conduct a EUCHARISTIC FAST prior to Holy Communion. This means refraining from eating or drinking from midnight until receiving Holy Eucharist. Individuals who find it necessary to eat or drink “larger” amounts on Liturgy days should refrain from receiving Communion that day. The Eucharistic fast for evening Presanctified Liturgies begins following a (light) lunch, continuing until the time of the Liturgy. Children who have not come to First Holy Confession are, of course, exempt from this guideline. Individuals with medical conditions that require a modification of the Eucharist fast should discuss it privately with Fr. Bill.


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Parish Transitions

 

*          Christina Stahoviak - Eli Schulte: United in Christian Marriage - March 2 + MANY YEARS! +


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^          Fr. Bill will be AWAY FROM THE PARISH on April 1 - 2 to attend meetings of the OCA diocesan chancellors from around the country at the OCA Chancery in Alexandria, Virginia. As is true any time, please call his cell in the event of an emergency requiring immediate clergy attention so he can have a local Orthodox clergyman respond in his stead.

 

^          Please forward your preferred email address to Fr. Bill if you are not receiving the parish E-BULLETINS but would like to receive them. Please note that email addresses are not shared. A limited number of copies of each week’s electronic bulletin are put in the vestibule wall pamphlet rack for those individuals wanting a paper copy with the same being true for the monthly newsletter. This e-bulletin is prepared in lieu of a Sunday paper bulletin.

 

PARISH ON-LINE GIVING

 

No envelope, no checks, no cash?  No problem!  ON-LINE giving is always available! Go to our website under “Online Giving” (https://www.holyghostoca.org/onlinegiving) and make your donation today.  You even have the option to donate to the General Fund or Memorial Fund and we will add Special Projects as opportunities arise.  There is even an option to set a recurring donation so you can set it and forget it!  Please note there is a small credit card processing fee to donate online. Please contact Nicole Domitrovic or Fr. Bill if you have any questions about this on-line method of stewardship.

 

^          Fr. Bill has begun his LENTEN PASTORAL VISITS to administer the Holy Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist to our parish members unable to personally receive them in church due to physical limitations. Fr. Bill will contact the known people on his visitation list but you are also welcome to contact him to schedule an appointment during the weekdays of Lent for yourself or someone else in the parish. Fr. Bill’s goal is to (hopefully) complete these private visitations before Lazarus Saturday (April 27th ). Unite yourself to Christ before His Resurrection on May 5th!

 

^          Our annual parish LENTEN CHARITY DRIVE of non-perishable food and household items continues.  Please bring your donated items downstairs to the church hall kitchen area when arriving at church for services. Monetary donations are also MOST appreciated! Please give those types of donations directly to Fr. Bill making checks payable to “Holy Ghost Orthodox Church” with the memo line “Lenten Charity Drive.” These donations benefit any Holy Ghost parish member in need as well as our friends and neighbors serviced by the Fair Oaks Fire Department Food Pantry. Please do not hesitate to contact Fr. Bill privately if you, or someone you know, needs our assistance.

 

^          We will gather as a diocese for the annual SUNDAY OF THE CROSS LENTEN VESPERS SERVICE on Sunday, April 7 - 6 PM. The Lenten service will be held at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral located in Allison Park at 8290 Thompson Run Road. A Lenten meal will be offered downstairs in the church hall following the 6 PM service. (We had a nice turn-out from our parish last year at this service - it would be GREAT to duplicate that again in 2024!)

 

^          For the first time in a long time, our OCA NORTHWEST DEANERY will have a LENTEN VESPERS SERVICE this year. The Vespers will be served at the St. John the Baptist Parish (150 Elmtree Drive, New Kensington 15068) on Sunday, April 21 - 6 PM. Try to come!

 

^          Our Ladies Altar Society is holding the annual LENTEN SOUP AND SALAD LUNCH fund raiser downstairs in the church hall immediately following the April 14 St. Basil Liturgy. Please come and invite a guest or two! There is a sign-up list on the vestibule candle desk for anyone in the parish to sign if you can provide a home-made Lenten-recipe soup. Please contact project chairs Mat. Vicki Stahoviak or Patty Lear if you have any questions about this April 14th event.

 

^          The youth of the parish will be once again this year be selling SARRIS CANDY CROSSES as a fund raiser. The crosses cost $6.00 each and are available in chocolate or white chocolate. An ordering list will be placed on the vestibule candle desk - please note that April 21 is the deadline so the crosses can be distributed on April 28. Please contact Nikki Yakich if you have questions about this project.

 

^          Orders for PASCHA BREADS are now being accepted by our Ladies Altar Society for the bread being prepared at the Youth Center on April 20. This year they are baking one-pound long and one-pound round loaves (1/2 of the previous size). Plain (long and round) pascha breads will cost $5.00 each while raisin (long and round) will be $5.50 each.

       *** To order, please contact Susan Bufalini - leave a voice mail or text her. ***

~ IMPORTANT!~ HELP from anyone in the parish - male or female - is needed at the Youth Center in the morning on April 20th to do the baking. There will be a sign-up list placed on the candle desk or you can speak with Sharon Yakich about helping. (We will NOT be able to continue these “labor intensive” projects in the future if sufficient help cannot be found to keep up the parish tradition!)

 

^          We hope to keep our parish tradition alive this year of having a GRAVE WATCH at the tomb of our Lord on Holy Friday (May 3) and Great Saturday (May 4). A sign-up list will be placed on the vestibule candle desk later in April - please consider taking some time to be with your Lord! (Families, especially, are asked to “lay aside all earthly cares” and PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME properly to be in church with your children for such Orthodox activities during Holy Week!)

 

^          Parents with children of camping age are asked to note that the parish council unanimously voted this past Monday to provide ORTHODOX CAMP SCHOLARSHIPS once again to children of our parish to certified Orthodox Christian camps this summer. Parents are asked to discuss this soon with Fr. Bill since the camping season WON’T be far away! (It has been proven that attendance at such Orthodox camps greatly benefits our children  to stay strong in the Orthodox Faith since they are often “swayed” by “non-Orthodox influences” as they grow older. Our Orthodox camps provide fun activities in a spiritual environment led by Orthodox clergy and Orthodox camp advisors - MUCH different than other kinds of “mere” secular sports camps.)

 

Our parish has once again been blessed to receive another PARISH BEQUEST from departed members of our community. Fr. Bill recently received in the mail two checks totaling $13,000.00 in honor of the departed servants of God +John/Victoria Pawlack and +Joanna Pawlack from the estate of the departed +Jean (Pawlack) Keil who was residing in Florida. In accordance with Jean’s wishes as specified by her executor Mike Karas, this donation will be put into the parish’s Memorial Fund and used as part of the iconostasis icons replacement project that is anticipated to begin in 2025 with the planning stage. (This will be a MAJOR - and necessary - renovation project!)

+MEMORY ETERNAL!

 

OF NOTE! It  is incredible to see how many of our Holy Ghost parish members have such a love for this community! With this bequest, our parish has been the beneficiary of approximately $175,000.00 in such donations since we started the bequest campaign after Fr. Bill arrived in 1991. (This figure does NOT include the  Memorial Fund total that is separately over $72,000.) Please consider leaving such a bequest in YOUR will - it’s a beautiful act of love that will help your parish long after you have reposed to be with your God! Large or small, all bequests TRULY help! Questions? Contact Fr. Bill.           

 

 

^          Well done, “Holy Ghost Family!” Our 2024 STEWARDSHIP PLEDGE TOTAL is reaching the $110,000 mark! While not the highest annual pledge level year, it IS the third highest since we began the stewardship program after eliminating the outdated “minimum dues” system that had long outlived its viability seven years ago. THANKS for loving your Savior and His Church by demonstrating it practically!

 

~ 2024 LAS VICTORIAN TEA AND BASKET PARTY - May 11 ~

We are back and need YOUR help to make this fund-raiser a success!!

 After a few years hiatus, the Ladies Altar Society has reserved May 11, 2024, for the next Victorian Tea and Basket Party at the Youth Center. The party is a wonderful afternoon of fellowship, fun and food, and the highlight is the basket raffle.  If you, or a group of friends/family, are interested in donating a basket, please see Matushka Debbie.

 

Some ideas for basket themes:

--Tea or Coffee (mugs, teapot, Starbucks gift cards)

--Cooking and baking (utensils, cookbooks, spices, cookie sheets, kitchen towels)

--Family Fun (DVD’s, board games, snacks, toys)

--Pampering (candles, lotions, perfume, bath products)

--Sports teams (blankets, mugs, decorations)

--Wine (bottles of wine, accessories, glasses)

--Romance novels/Mystery Lovers Basket   

--Picnic (basket, tablecloth, plates, utensils, tabletop grill)                                                   

--Car wash/cleaning basket (bucket, sponges, car soap/wax, buffing cloths)

--Dinner/restaurant gift certificates     --Breakfast Basket (pancake mix, syrup, etc.)

--Chocolate Lovers                             --Summer/Beach theme                    

--Gourmet foods                                 --Any holiday

--Crafts/Knitting                                   --Gardening

 

…or anything you want to create! If you don’t like to shop but still want to donate a basket, we can shop for you!  Just see Matushka Debbie to give her your money and tell her what theme you would like. Men of the parish---you can donate toward a basket, too!

 

< THANKS! We look forward to seeing YOU and your guests at the MAY 11TH Party! >

 

 

Something to ponder - especially during Holy Lent - our annual period of self-reflection and repentance:

For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. (2 Corinthians 8.21)

People who don’t know Jesus Christ get their ideas about who He is by watching those of us who say we belong to Him. Be careful in your interactions with others! When people listen to your words and watch your actions, do they see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Let the fruit of the Holy Spirit fall off your limbs onto those around you. When you do this, you honor the Lord and are walking in your God-given purpose! Just think … your loving words and actions could be the very thing needed to bring that person into God’s Kingdom through the Orthodox Faith and our parish - OR- could be the deciding factor in turning them “off!”


Parish History

Today, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Holy Ghost Orthodox Church in Ambridge, we should pause in our festivities and reflect thoughtfully on its beginnings.

Shortly after the turn of the century, many Europeans sought to escape the religious and cultural persecutions of the Austro-Hungarian rulers by sailing to America.

Approximately 14 families, including those of John Bowan Sr., Wasil Blishak, Constantine Dzubinsky, Samuel Evans Sr., Daniel Holovach, A. Kohan, Nicholas Kraynak, Theodore Kushnir, Wasil Kuhta, Wasil Towcimak, Michael Turko, and John Zawoysky, settled in the North Side and South Side of Pittsburgh, where they attended St. Alexander Nevsky and St. Michael's Orthodox Churches.

However, these pioneers soon moved on to Ambridge where employment opportunities were greater. The American Bridge Company, which erected its first plant in Ambridge in 1902, offered such security.

Although settled in Ambridge, they continued to attend church in Pittsburgh. Each Sunday morning they walked the railroad tracks, more accessible than the unpaved roads, to Leetsdale, where they boarded a train to Pittsburgh. This continued until the group established a makeshift altar in May's Hall, Third and Merchant Streets, Ambridge. There, under the guidance of the Rev. J. Sechinsky, they continued their religious devotions. A little later, services were conducted in the residence of Samuel Evans, Sr., and still later in a little shelter on a vacant lot near Third and Merchant Streets. The reverends J. Sechinsky, P. Kohanik and Nicholas Koshevich were among the early pastors.

In October of 1907, guided by Fr. Nicholas Koshevich, this determined group purchased two lots at Second and Maplewood Avenue for $1,650. With their hands, they laid the foundation of their long-awaited church. It took them two months and cost approximately $6,000 -- lots, construction and materials included. The American Bridge Co donated steel for the foundation. This contribution so overwhelmed the group that they gathered on the grounds of the American Bridge plant with their icons and glorified the donors with prayers and singing.

On November 27, 1907, the first Divine Liturgy was served in the newly built church basement. Named trustees of the fledgling church were Wasil Blishak, John Bowan Sr. Samuel Evans Sr. and Daniel Holovach. Others who contributed their services were families of Timko Romanov, Paul Romanov, Dimitri Skomsky, Theodore Lapihuska, Timko Guch, Harry Kohanik, Stephen Felk, John Evans Sr., A. Zbigley, Nicholas Kuhta, Theodore Fecik, Wasil Liseyko, Joseph Hafiez, Anton Shpak, Nicholas Kulavchik, N. Polovischak, E. Polovischak, Timko Blishko, Harry Shepella, Michael Roman, John Towcimak, Wasil Zawoysky Sr., Wasil Guch, Michael Psinka and Wasil Hritzik.

On August 21, 1911, the parish was incorporated as the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ghost. The congregation adopted as its patron, the Descent of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) upon the Apostles.

The first recorded christening was that of Nicholas Kuhta on October 27, 1907. The first marriage solemnized in the church was that of Theodore Hopta and Anna Hnath on February 8, 1908.

The parish grew steadily, and soon plans were being formulated for completion of the church. In 1912 a building committee was established. The church was completed in December 1914 at a cost of $14,000. The Rev. Andrew Ivanishin officiated at the first Divine Liturgy in the new edifice. The cornerstone, donated by Samuel Evans Sr., and the newly built church were consecrated by the Most Rev. Archbishop Alexander, assisted by Fr. Ivanishin and visiting clergy. The dream had become a reality. Just one year later, a parish home next to the new church was purchased for $5,100.

Now thoughts turned to the church interior. In 1927, led by the Rev. Damian Krehel, the church commissioned Michael Kupetz, a parishioner, to paint the murals for $2,200.

Two years later the present three bells were purchased. Metropolitan Platon blessed them.

The Great Depression ruled out further improvements until November 27, 1941, when, under the leadership of the Rev. Emilian Skuby, a new iconostas and newly renovated church interior were blessed by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin, Bishop of Pittsburgh and West Virginia. The new iconostas was designed and erected by the famous architect-artist Gennady Gordeyev.

That same year saw the outbreak of World War II, and 1950 brought with it the Korean conflict. Twelve young men of the parish were killed in those wars: Michael Chaykowsky, Edward Chumak, Peter Dudenich, Paul Durniak, John Kucer, Michael Kucer, Frank Pastrick, Steve Pastrick, Nicholas Sapovchak, Michael Sudik, George Torhan and Dimitri Wrobleski.

On November 21, 1954, a crystal chandelier was installed and dedicated to the memory of twelve young men from the parish that gave their lives to the service of their country in World War II and the Korean conflict.

In July 1974 a new parish home was purchased on Pilgrim Drive, Leet Township. The old parish home next to the church was converted into an educational center. There the church school organization, which was initiated by the Senior R Club (FROC) during the presidency of Mildred Erdelyn Mitcheil in 1947, continues to meet.

In February 1975 a fire started in the front of the church, severely damaging one corner of the interior. Fr. Vladimir Soroka and Church Council President Irene Bell led the ensuing restoration.

In 1975 The Holy Ghost Orthodox Youth Center began as a gift. The merged Russian Community Society and Russian Society of St. Michael donated the empty building at 405 Maplewood Avenue that formerly housed the Russian Community Society. A building committee was appointed, led by co-chairmen Frank Markvan and Ted Hritsko. The former building was mostly razed and a new structure erected under the guidance of architect George Ruscitto and builder Jerry Steinmetz Construction Corporation. In 1977, two years after the ownership was transferred to the congregation, the transformed building was opened as a center for both parochial events and public events. Today the Center is a hub our Annual Slavic Festival and other church related activities.

In the early 1990's, the parishioners of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Aliquippa were welcomed as members of the Holy Ghost congregation when their parish was closed.

In November 1996 the congregation undertook one of the most ambitious renovation projects since the founding of the church in 1907. Cupolas of reinforced gold fiberglass replaced the four deteriorating copper cupolas. This project was the centerpiece of a series of renovation projects that included the complete repainting of the interior of the church, enhanced internal and external lighting, and re-pointing the brick exterior of the church. All of these major projects were completed prior to the congregation's celebration of its 90th anniversary in 1997.

The congregation has just completed a 10-year capital improvements plan in time for the parish's 100th anniversary. These projects included all new iconography in the altar, including a new Platitera icon in the apse over the sanctuary, the total refurbishment of the chandelier, renovated restrooms in the church basement, new wall-to-wall carpeting, and new iconography on the proscenium arch above the iconostas.

From the original 14 families the parish has grown to over 200 adults and 30 children.

From those hard working immigrant families who formed the nucleus, to the present pastor, V. Rev. William Evansky, church council, church organizations and congregation, we are deeply indebted. To those now deceased -- May God grant them eternal rest. To those still in our midst--thank you for a job well done! God bless you and guide you in your continued efforts.


Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western PA