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

Your Parish Family Connected - September 22, 2022

 

SCHEDULE OF SERVICES:

* Friday, September 23 - 6 PM - Panikhida (Memorial Service): +Frank Yakich (First anniversary of Repose)

* Saturday, September 24 - 6:30 PM - Vespers [NOTE special start time of 6:30 PM due to the Festival of Churches event.]

* Sunday, September 25 - 10 AM - Divine Liturgy

* Friday, September 30 - 6:30 PM - Vespers (with Litiya): “Pokrov (Protection) of the Holy Theotokos” // Private Confessions - 6 PM - 6:20 PM

* Saturday, October 1 - 9:30 AM - Divine Liturgy: “Pokrov (Protection) of the Holy Theotokos” // Private Confessions - 9 AM - 9:15 AM

[Come and honor the Mother of our God on this beautiful Holyday - - especially since it falls on a Saturday this year when many of us are not at work!]

* Saturday, October 1 - 4:30 PM - Vespers // Private Confessions - 4 PM - 4:20 PM

* Sunday, October 2 - 9:30 AM - General Confession

[This service of General Confession is only for parish members who have participated in Private Confession since the beginning of Lent 2022 - others wishing to receive Holy Communion should come to Private Confession first. Any communicant unable to attend General Confession should come to Private Confession before approaching the chalice. General Confession participation is not required for individuals who have come to Private Confessions during the past 30 days.]

* Sunday, October 2 - 10 AM - Divine Liturgy

* Monday, October 3 - 3 PM - Memorial Service (Panikhida): +Michael Petkash (1st Anniversary of Repose) / +Don Petkash

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SUNDAY LITURGY LAITY FUNCTIONS:

* SEPTEMBER 25 THIRD HOUR: A. Lauer

* SEPTEMBER 25 EPISTLE: M.D. Stahoviak

* SEPTEMBER 25 COLLECTION: A. Lauer / P. McKeown

* OCTOBER 2 THIRD HOUR: M.D. Stahoviak

* OCTOBER 2 EPISTLE: M. Soroka

* OCTOBER 2 COLLECTION: I. Yakich / B. Sopko

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PRAYER LIST/ GET-WELL GREETINGS:

* His Eminence, Archbishop MELCHISEDEK: Continued convalescence at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Ellwood City) after orthopedic surgery

* Ann Ehnatko: Hospitalized in St. Louis, Missouri

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*          Attached to this ebulletin are THREE FLIERS for you to review - this Sunday’s Liturgy scripture readings plus two fliers about upcoming lectures at area parishes.

*          The 9 AM CHURCH SCHOOL/ TEEN GROUP CLASSES will meet again this Sunday - September 25 - 9 AM. We hope for good attendance!

*          The first SUNDAY DIALOGUE DISCUSSION for all parish adults is scheduled for this Sunday - September 25 - 9 AM in the church nave. The primary topic will be: The Divine Liturgy - Receive the Cup of Salvation. It would be wonderful to regularly see a good turn-out of parish members participating in the parish’s educational programs to be better prepared Orthodox Christians!

*          There is no COFFEE HOUR following Liturgy this Sunday (9/25) - the next coffee hour will follow the October 2nd Liturgy. The parish’s SCRIP CARD PROGRAM should also be available downstairs that Sunday so you can purchase/order more cards for area stores and restaurants.

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IMPORTANT! AMBRIDGE FESTIVAL OF CHURCHES - SEPTEMBER 24!

IT’S HERE! We hope you will be able to help/participate in the AMBRDIGE FESTIVAL OF CHURCHES being held at the PJ Caul Park (11th and Merchant St.) in Ambridge THIS SATURDAY.

< We hope everyone will come and watch the parade (11 AM), the opening ceremony (11:30 AM),

and visit our booth throughout the day (Noon - 6 PM)! >

~ We need participants, especially the parish children/teens, in the 11 AM parade to be on our parish float - - please contact Nikki Yakich if participating.

~ Please contact Mary Wagner ASAP if you gave her a verbal agreement to help work at the booth so that your “working hours” can be finalized.

~ Baked goods can be brought to the Youth Center Friday evening between 5 PM & 7 PM or bring them to the park on that Saturday starting at 10 AM- - we’ll receive goods throughout the day until 2 PM. Please have your product packaged to sell. Please call/text my cell today if you are baking but need someone to stop by and bring your baked goods to the festival if you cannot come to Ambridge to drop them off. I will arrange a time for Friday morning or early afternoon to come to your home for the pick up.

Please contact Festival Chair Mary Wagner if you have questions or can provide any assistance>

            Finally, here’s a reminder concerning homemade baked goods that we REALLY need your help providing. Please donate only acceptable food items for the bake sale. As per official health department guidelines, this would include such things as fruit pies/ candy/ cakes/ cookies/ bread/ muffins. Unacceptable items for this outdoors bake sale include high risk foods and any foods requiring temperature controls, such as custards/ custard pies/ real cream pies/ jar or canned bread/ home-canned goods/ cream-filled cupcakes or doughnuts/ frostings and fillings made with cream cheese/ flavored oils/ homemade ice cream/ pumpkin pie/ cheesecake.

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*          The PARISH LIFE COMMITTEE will meet with me for an in-person meeting downstairs in the church hall on Wednesday, September 28 - 6:30 PM. We hope past Parish Life Committee members will be in attendance - and - we encourage new committee members from within the parish. This committee works with me to chart long-range goals for our parish’s non-liturgical spiritual programs, education programs, and social activities. Also, you are welcome to pass along any ideas concerning these areas to committee chair Rob Grano or me in advance of this September 28 meeting.

*          Please forward OCTOBER SPECIAL OCCASION NAMES to me no later than next Wednesday (9/28). These October birthdays and wedding anniversaries will be listed in next week’s ebulletin and mentioned in prayer before the Lord during the October 2nd Liturgy. You can email me at this email address or call/text my cell with this info.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT - - - HELPING OUR KIDS NAVIGATE THIS PAINFUL DAY AND AGE

Our kids are growing up seeing more PAINFUL THINGS on TV and social media than many in previous generations ever experienced in a lifetime. How as parents, grandparents, godparents, family, and parish family members do we shield our children without being overprotective? How do we talk to our kids about scary things they have seen or experienced - or - heard about from other children in the school cafeteria? Here is some time-tested advice I offer, based on PBS’ Mr. Rogers. I hope and pray this helps a little! Let me know if this “strikes a chord” and you want to discuss this more during a future Sunday Dialogue discussion - or - privately.

  1. Ask your kid how much he/she knows about the situation they are asking about. Sometimes we adults may discover that their fantasies are very different sometimes from the actual truth.Address their fears and give them hope!
  2. What children need to hear most is that they can talk to us about anything - - and we’d better mean it if we say it! (BTW: You’d better be spiritually strong yourself! Aren’t you glad you come each week to the parish’s services faithfully to be fortified with God’s grace instead of doing this alone?!)
  3. HINT when talking to your child: we need to listen more than give quick answers or false assurances. Sometimes the best “words” are a smile and a silent hug!
  4. Kids need our presence and our promise to do all we can to protect them more than they need perfect answers to impossible questions.
  5. Don’t avoid hard conversations or difficult questions; show up and give your child your full attention and then assure them that you will protect them as much as you can in every situation.
  6. Remind them that GOD will be with them in every situation and protect them. Explain that is why we teach them from the youngest ages to follow a daily “Prayer Rule” so they can talk with God - and He with them - regularly. Remind them that God meets them personally at every church service and that He goes home with them, too. (That’s the BEST assurance of all! That’s the glory of being a committed ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FAMILY!)

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Fr. Bill


Monthly Newsletter - September 2022

 

Laity Liturgy Functions

DATE                   THIRD HOUR                EPISTLE___        COLLECTION_______

SEPTEMBER   4           T. Zehnder                              N. Yakich                     I. Yakich / S. Yakich

SEPTEMBER 11           N. Domitrovic                         M. Wagner                 T. Zelesnik / N. Domitrovic

SEPTEMBER 18           M. Wagner                             A. Lauer                      P. Evans / R. Grano

SEPTEMBER 25           A. Lauer                                  M.D. Stahoviak            A. Lauer / P. McKeown

^  Please notify Fr. Bill in advance if you are unable to perform your assignment so that a substitute can be found in an orderly manner. Please mark your calendar since we cannot send individualized reminders.

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

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Pastoral Reminders from Fr. Bill

~ All Wednesdays and Fridays during this month are days on which we abstain from eating meat at our meals.

~ The General Confession service scheduled for September 4 (9 AM) is only for parish members who have participated in Private Confession since beginning of Lent 2022 – all others wishing to receive Holy Communion should  come to Private Confession before receiving the Eucharist. Any communicant unable to attend General Confession should come for a Private Confession before approaching the chalice to receive (unless you have come to Private Confession during the past 30 days).

~ The reception of the Holy Mysteries of Private Confession and Holy Eucharist (Communion) at least annually is required to be considered a member of the Orthodox Church and this parish. Please contact Fr. Bill privately if you have any questions about your important sacramental standing.

~ Eucharist participation general guideline for the parish - - individuals who do not participate in Holy Eucharist for more than three consecutive Sunday Liturgies should return for a Private Confession before approaching the Holy Chalice. Please contact Fr. Bill about this since there is always the possibility of an extenuating circumstance.

~ The September 14th Holyday of “The Elevation(Exaltation) of the Cross”) is a STRICT FAST DAY as we abstain from eating meats or dairy products. We fast in remembrance of the sacrifice our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ endured through His terrible suffering on the Cross on Golgotha.

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PLEASE NOTE! We will begin our fall/winter SUNDAY MORNING LITURGY

SCHEDULE on SEPTEMBER 11TH when Liturgy returns to a 10 AM start time.

(All other weekday – Saturday service start times remain constant throughout the year.)

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< Please continue your GENEROUS STEWARDSHIP during September – it’s important!  >

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^          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.

^          Please contact Fr. Bill (Email: frbill158@verizon.net, or call or text) if you, or someone you know in the parish, would like a PASTORAL VISIT during September to receive the Holy Sacraments if unable to attend the Divine Liturgy and receive the Body and Blood of our Savior from the Holy Chalice due to infirmity or physical impairment. Fr. Bill continues to contact the members on his visitation list but please always feel free to reach out to him for a visit!

^          You are encouraged to attend a UKRAINIAN RELIEF DINNER & PRAYER SERVICE sponsored by the International Orthodox Christian Charities, Pittsburgh Committee. This will take place on Sunday, September 25, at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh at 419 South Dithridge Street. A prayer service will begin the event at 4 PM; dinner will be served at 5 PM. RSVP’s for the $50 dinner must be received by September 20. Contact Zelfa at 412-417-4706 / zkhalil1@live.com for information. Please make checks payable to “IOCC” with “Ukrainian Relief” on the memo line. Tickets will be held at the door, not mailed.

^          The first CHURCH SCHOOL/ TEEN GROUP CLASSES for the 2022-2023 academic year will take place on September 11 (9 AM) when we gather for a prayer service in church. Any parent of a child now beginning pre-school this fall, and who hasn’t previously attended our important religious education classes, should contact Church School Coordinator Matushka Debbie for information. Mat. Debbie will soon be sending a group email to all parish parents with more information about the 2022-2023 schedule. We hope and pray our Orthodox parents will make every effort to have their child be a REGULAR ATTENDEE of these classes this year! (FYI: The first Sunday Dialogue will take place in the church nave with Fr. Bill on September 28 (9 AM). Please attend and learn more about your Holy Orthodox Faith!)

  ^        Our Ambridge FOCA Senior Chapter #5 will once again this year help us kick off our fall parish schedule with the annual  PARISH BREAKFAST downstairs in the church hall following the 10 AM Liturgy on September 11. The net profit will help our FOCA chapter render its generous support of parish, diocesan, and OCA charitable and educational projects. FOCA members are asked to be in touch with Bill Nelko concerning breakfast  assistance. Please come and enjoy some great breakfast food and even better fellowship on September 11.

 

AMBRIDGE FESTIVAL OF CHURCHES – SEPTEMBER 24!

We need YOUR HELP! Now that we are not holding an October Slavic Food Festival in 2022, we are going to put much more effort into our parish participation at the SEPTEMBER 24TH AMBRIDGE FESTIVAL OF CHURCHES, an event taking place at the PJ Caul Park in Ambridge. Mary Wagner has graciously agreed to chair this effort - but we need EVERYONE’S HELP! We plan to double the size of our booth and include some homemade baked goods and halushki provided by our parish members. We also want to have a parish presence in the parade that begins at 10:30 AM. I also plan on participating in the formal opening ceremony in the park at 11:30 AM. The event ends at 6 PM.

 So - - - here are some specifics actions that YOU can do by informing Mary:

^ We need BAKERS (a lot!). Bear in mind when choosing what you are making that this is outside, and temperature is unknown.

^ We need MONETARY DONATIONS (Make check payable to “Holy Ghost Church” - Memo Line: Festival of Churches Support / Cash is fine, too)

^ We need (2) 10’ x 10’ CANOPIES and people to set them up

^ We need help bringing TABLES FROM THE YOUTH CENTER

^ We need BAKE SALE & FOOD SERVICE WORKERS (11:30 AM until Festival close at 6 PM)

^ We need CLEAN-UP HELP - garbage removal, return tables to Youth Center, small equipment back to Youth Center, canopies taken down.

^ We need CHILDREN to participate in the 10:30 AM PARADE

[Nikki Yakich is the contact person for the parade]

 

The Beginning – not the End - - are YOU Growing in Faith?

Fundamentalist Christians are constantly proclaiming that all we must do to be saved is make a “decision” for Christ and be “born again” by believing in Jesus. They tell us that one becomes a full and complete Christian as soon as this happens. The whole process of GROWTH is thereby omitted. One goes immediately from the “cradle” to “mature spiritual adulthood.”

Orthodoxy believes that to confess faith in Christ is the beginning, NOT the end. It is a life-long journey, NOT a “bed” on which to lie while we wait for the Lord’s Second Coming return. The moment we become like the Pharisee and say, “I have arrived; I am where I am supposed to be; I thank God I am not like others; I don’t need church” - - at that point we become stagnant – - and stagnation in the spiritual life is condemnation.

Human perfection is not the state of “having arrived.” Only God has arrived! Only God is perfect in this sense! Human perfection consists of a constant growing toward perfection (i.e., SANCTIFICATION), a constant journey from the image of God to the likeness of God, a constant “becoming” as St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote of “…the eternal discovery of the eternal growing.”

[LET’S GROW TOGETHER THIS FALL AS AN ACTIVE ORTHODOX PARISH COMMUNITY!]

Monthly Newsletter - October 2022

 

Laity Liturgy Functions

DATE                   THIRD HOUR                EPISTLE___        COLLECTION_______

OCTOBER   2              M. Soroka                                M. Soroka                    I. Yakich / B. Sopko

OCTOBER   9              M.D. Stahoviak                        C. Corson                    O. Mycyk / B. Nelko

OCTOBER 16              M. Vogel                                 D. Ilchuk                      S. Yakich / T. Zelesnik

OCTOBER 23              C. Stahoviak                            C. Stahoviak                N. Domitrovic / P. Evans

OCTOBER 30              Mat. D. Evansky                      Mat. D. Evansky          R. Grano / A. Lauer

^  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!

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Pastoral Reminders from Fr. Bill

~ All Wednesdays and Fridays during this month are days on which we abstain from eating meat at our meals.

~ The General Confession service scheduled for October 2nd (9:30 AM) is only for parish members who have participated in Private Confession since beginning of Lent 2022 – all others wishing to receive Holy Communion should  come to Private Confession before receiving the Eucharist. Any communicant unable to attend General Confession should come for a Private Confession before approaching the chalice to receive (unless you have come to Private Confession during the past 30 days). Believers who have come to Private Confession during the past 30 days are not required to attend General Confession as well.

~ The reception of the Holy Mysteries of Private Confession and Holy Eucharist (Communion) at least annually is required to be considered a member of the Orthodox Church and this parish. Please contact Fr. Bill privately if you have any questions about your important sacramental standing.

~ Eucharist participation general guideline for the parish - - individuals who do not participate in Holy Eucharist for more than three consecutive Sunday Liturgies should return for a Private Confession before approaching the Holy Chalice. Please contact Fr. Bill about this since there is always the possibility of an extenuating circumstance.

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Parish Transitions

* Dolores Kolesin: Reposed in the Lord; September 14th funeral service

+Memory Eternal! +

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^          The beginning of the month of October reminds us that we are now entering the final quarter of the year 2022. All parish members (but especially our STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS) are reminded that your continuing generous support for the parish budget ensures a bright future to spread Christ’s Good News. THANKS … and GOD BLESS you for your generosity!

^          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.

^          Please contact Fr. Bill if you, or someone you know in the parish, would like a PASTORAL VISIT during October to receive the Holy Sacraments if unable to attend the Divine Liturgy and receive the Body and Blood of our Savior from the Holy Chalice due to infirmity or physical impairment. Fr. Bill continues to contact the members on his visitation list but please always feel free to reach out to him for a visit!

^          Fr. Bill is taking an INTEREST SURVEY to see if there is sufficient interest in starting a monthly New Testament study group during the fall season. Please email or call/text by October 12th if you are interested and available to attend this group on Thursday, October 20 – 6:30 PM downstairs in the church. (A minimum of 5 attendees is needed to help with the class teaching “dynamics.”)

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ORTHODOXY “101” – Part I

            On the day of Pentecost, Saint Peter rushed to the balcony of the upper room where the Apostles were gathered and immediately began to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. On that day about 3000 people received this Good News and were baptized. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2.42). This is the “birth” of the Orthodox Church, filled with the Holy Spirit of God. It is the creation of a new humanity at complete unity with itself and with God, no longer lost in the confusion of many languages. It is the reversal of the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11.1-9). And just as the breath of God filled the lungs of Adam and gave him life (Gen. 2.7), the Spirit of God fills the Orthodox Church and gives it life even today, for we ARE “the Ancient Church” in 2022!

            Quickened by the Spirit of God, the early apostles went about spreading the Faith of Jesus Christ. And all those who became Christian were united in faith, worship, and the sacramental mysteries (the breaking of bread or Eucharist, baptism, and so forth). Like an unquenchable fire spreading over the plains, Christianity stormed across the Roman Empire as the apostles preached, baptized, and formed permanent communities. Everywhere the Church was founded, one of the apostles, or one of those admitted to their number, would leave someone behind to oversee the local community. Thus, we know that St. Paul left St. Timothy to be the overseer (Greek, episcopos; English, bishop) to care for the young community. St. Titus was left by St. Paul to care for the people of Crete. Even before the Day of Pentecost, the eleven apostles elected St. Matthias to replace the traitor, Judas Iscariot. Every one of the men who were left to care for the Christian communities was carefully trained in the Faith and practices of the Church. And when an early bishop died, other bishops came together to choose another man to fulfill the same role for that community. [more to come]


Church School Calendar 2022-23

 

September 11   Class
  25   Class / Sunday Dialogue
       
October 9   Class
  23   Class / Sunday Dialogue
       
November 13   Class / Sunday Dialogue
       
December 4   Class / Sunday Dialogue
  11   (tentative Christmas Program rehearsal)
  18   Christmas Program
       
January 8   Class
  22   Class / Sunday Dialogue
       
February 12   Class
  26   Class / Sunday Dialogue
       
March 12   Class
  26   Class / Sunday Dialogue
       
April 9   Class / Sunday Dialogue
  16   PASCHA!
  30   Class / Sunday Dialogue
       
May 14   Class / Sunday Dialogue

 



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