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

Your Parish Family Connected - June 8, 2023



* Saturday, June 10 - 4:30 PM - Vespers // Private Confessions: 4 PM - 4:20 PM

* Sunday, June 11 - 9:30 AM - Divine Liturgy: “Sunday of All-Saints”

* Saturday, June 17 - 4:30 PM - Vespers // Private Confessions: 4 PM - 4:20 PM

* Sunday, June 18 - 9:30 AM - Divine Liturgy + Trisagion (Father’s Day): “All-Saints of North America Sunday”




* JUNE 11 THIRD HOUR: N. Domitrovic

* JUNE 11 EPISTLE: C. Stahoviak

* JUNE 11 COLLECTION: P. Evans / R. Grano

* JUNE 18 THIRD HOUR: N. Yakich

* JUNE 18 EPISTLE: (Deacon)

* JUNE 18 COLLECTION: A. Lauer / R. Markvan



*          The APOSTLES FAST (Ss. Peter and Paul Fast) begins on Monday, June 12, and is completed with the celebration of the Saints Peter and Paul Holyday on June 29th. Please honor this fasting period - one of the four fasting periods annually in the Orthodox Church.


*          The initial meeting of the special ad hoc YOUTH CENTER STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE will take place downstairs in the church hall  this coming Tuesday - June 13 - 6:30 PM.


*          Please let me know if you would plan on attending BIBLE STUDY on Thursday, June 15 - 6:30 PM downstairs in the church hall. I will decide by this coming Tuesday night, June 13, if the group will meet based on the number of projected attendees.


*          We hope you will be in church on Sunday, June 18, for our special FATHER’S DAY COMMEMORATION. A special lunch, prepared by the Parish Life Committee, will take place downstairs as well. Special prayers will also be offered for both our living and deceased fathers that morning during the Liturgy.


*          Please forward any PARISH COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS for inclusion to Tom Zelesnik or me no later than this Sunday evening (June 11) for the June 19 (6:30 PM) council meeting taking place downstairs in the church hall.


*          THANKS to all who attended yesterday’s Simply Social parish gathering at the Houlihan’s Restaurant in Cranberry Township - we had approximately 20 people gather for a nice meal and pleasant conversation. The Parish Life Committee will announce the date of the next Simply Social once determined. [ADVANCE PLANNING! Please set aside Saturday, August 26­ for a special day in our parish - - we’re now beginning to plan a PARISH PICNIC on the church grounds immediately following Vespers (that will be moved up to 4 PM)!]


*          The LADIES ALTAR SOCIETY is scheduled to have a meeting downstairs in the church hall immediately following the June 25th Liturgy. We hope both current and prospective L.A.S. member will stay for this brief meeting.



  Join us for a fun afternoon of professional baseball in Washington, PA as we watch the WASHINGTON WILD THINGS take on the Sussex County Miners on July 9 at 5:35 pm! Kids eat free every Sunday at Wild Things games, but that night they are also doing Christmas in July! Tickets are $10 each. Three ways to reserve tickets:

  1. Fill out this form here: https://forms.gle/GW2uNQ26yZqfatpV9
  2. Sign up list in the Vestibule at church
  3. Call/text Danielle

(You can either pay Danielle cash/check directly, or Venmo (@dilchuk). Prepayment is not necessary. Guests are invited, too.)

   Deadline to order: June 26 // Please reach out to Danielle with any questions!



   We need help! – It will not be  more than 2 hours!! EXTERIOR CHURCH PAINTING DAY: Saturday June 17 - 9 AM

We will start the following projects:       

  1. Scrape and spackle the Ed Center first floor kitchen. (we eventually will paint it)
  2. Scrape and paint the 3 air conditioning units in front and 1 in back used for the Altar.
  3. Scrape and paint rusted areas on the perimeter fence and church railings.
  4. Paint the elevator.
  5. Paint flaking paint areas around the Base of the church.
  6. Paint the air conditioning units on the roof of the Youth Center.

If you can, bring wire brush, paint brushes (not too big), paint scraper. Let Bill Nelko know if you can assist.



All-Saints Sunday - June 11th


            Honoring the friends of God with much reverence, the Prophet-King David says, "But to me, exceedingly honorable are Thy friends, O Lord" (Ps. 138:16). And the divine Apostle, recounting the achievements of the Saints, and setting forth their memorial as an example that we might turn away from earthly things and from sin, and emulate their patience and courage in the struggles for virtue, says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every burden, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).


            This commemoration began as the Sunday (Synaxis) of All Martyrs; to them were added all the ranks of Saints who bore witness (the meaning of "Martyr" in Greek) to Christ in manifold ways, even if occasion did not require the shedding of their blood. Therefore, guided by the teaching of the Divine Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition, we the pious honor all the Saints, the friends of God, for they are keepers of God's commandments, shining examples of virtue, and benefactors of mankind. Of course, we honor the known Saints especially on their own day of the year, as is evident in the Menologion. But since many Saints are unknown, and their number has increased with time, and will continue to increase until the end of time, the Church has appointed that once a year a common commemoration be made of all the Saints. This is the feast that we celebrate today. It is the harvest of the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world; it is the "much fruit" brought forth by that "Grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died" (John 12:24); it is the glorification of the Saints as "the foundation of the Church, the perfection of the Gospel, they who fulfilled in deed the sayings of the Saviour" (Sunday of All Saints Vespers).


            In this celebration, then, we reverently honor and call blessed all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown, who have been added to the choirs of the Saints and shall be added, from the time of Adam until the end of the world, who have been perfected in piety and have glorified God by their holy lives. All these, as well as the orders of the Angels, and especially our most holy Lady and Queen, the Ever-virgin Theotokos Mary, do we honor today, setting their life before us as an example of virtue, and entreating them to intercede in our behalf with God, Whose grace and boundless mercy be with us all. Amen.



Fr. Bill

Monthly Newsletter - June 2023


Laity Liturgy Functions

DATE                   THIRD HOUR                EPISTLE___            COLLECTION_____

JUNE   4                      T. Zehnder                              Mat. Evansky                     I. Yakich / N. Domitrovic

JUNE 11                     N. Yakich                                 C. Stahoviak                      P. Evans / R. Grano

JUNE 18                     N. Domitrovic                         R. Markvan                        A. Lauer / R. Markvan

JUNE 25                     A. Lauer                                  (Deacon)                          P. McKeown / O. Mycyk

^  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


~ Trinity Week (the week following the Feast of Pentecost on June 4) is a fast-free week as we rejoice at the giving of the Holy Spirit to the members of the Holy Church.

~ We resume kneeling in prayer and corporate worship once the “Pentecost Kneeling Prayers” are chanted during the June 4th Pentecost Liturgy.

~ We resume using the prayer “O Heavenly King,” the prayer to the Holy Spirit, during the Feast of Pentecost in our private prayers and corporate worship.

~ The Saints Peter and Paul Fast (The Apostles Fast) begins on June 12 and continues until the Feastday of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. This is one of the four “major” fasting seasons of the Orthodox Church – please honor it by adjusting your ascetical diet accordingly.

~ The reception of the Holy Mysteries of Private Confession and Holy Eucharist (Communion) at least annually is expected of each parish member. Let us not grow lackadaisical in dealing with our eternal salvation and our individual “repentance relationship” with our Savior!

~ Eucharist participation general guideline for the parish: individuals who do not receive Holy Eucharist for three or more consecutive Sunday Liturgies should return for a Private Confession before approaching the Holy Chalice. Please contact Fr. Bill about this at any time if you have a question about your sacramental standing in the Holy Church.

~ The General Confession sacrament scheduled for June 4th  (9 AM) is only for parish members who have participated in Private Confession since the beginning of Lent 2023 – others wishing to receive Holy Communion should come to Private Confession before approaching the holy chalice. Parish members who have participated in Private Confession during the previous 30 days are not required to also attend General Confession but are encouraged to do so to grow spiritually.

~ Reminder: except for individuals required to eat or drink for diagnosed medical conditions, Eucharistic participants are expected to conduct a Eucharistic fast prior to Holy Communion. This means refraining from eating or drinking from midnight until receiving Holy Communion. Children who have not come to Holy Confession are, of course, exempt from this guideline. Question? Contact Fr. Bill any time.



^          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.

^          Holy Ghost is on Facebook!  Search “Holy Ghost Orthodox Church” and be sure to “like” your parish!  Keep up-to-date with services, events, and reflections! 



No envelope, no checks, no cash?  Consider using the parish’s  Online Donations option. Go to our website under Online Giving (https://www.holyghostoca.org/onlinegiving) and make your donations 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. (Several individuals are already routinely using this on-line stewardship method – give it a try!) Please contact Nicole Domitrovic or Fr. Bill if you have any questions about this on-line method of stewardship.

^          We will honor our FATHERS (living and deceased) on June 18th with special prayers during that Liturgy and a special brunch downstairs in the church hall following the Liturgy sponsored by our Parish Life Committee. Please plan on being in church for this special day!

^          The parish is once again offering partial ORTHODOX SUMMER CAMP SCHOLARSHIPS to our parish youth - - parents should contact Fr. Bill quickly for more information if interested since the camps are rapidly filling up this year as interest is renewed post-COVID.

^          Any teen or adult in the parish interested in participating in a summer CHANTING CLASS is asked to contact Fr. Bill. We will learn the basic skills to chant at Vespers, the Hours (before Liturgy), and the Liturgy epistle readings.



While personal information of individuals is never used,

images of our parish’s services and group events may be used on

social media from time to time. Anyone having an objection

to their image being used should privately contact

Fr. Bill or Tom Zelesnik to opt-out of this usage.




Pentecost – The Giving of the Holy Spirit – June 4

After our Savior Jesus Christ’s Ascension into the Heavens, the eleven Apostles and the rest of His disciples, the God-loving women who followed Him from the beginning, His Mother, the most holy Virgin Mary, and His brethren - all together about 120 souls - returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem. Entering the house where they gathered, they went into the upper room, and there they persevered in prayer and supplication, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit, as their Divine Teacher had promised them. In the meanwhile, they chose Matthias, who was elected to take the place of Judas among the Apostles.

Thus, on this day, the tenth day after the Ascension and the fiftieth day after Pascha, at the third hour of the day from the rising of the sun, there suddenly came a sound from Heaven, as when a mighty wind blows, and it filled the whole house where the Apostles and the rest with them were gathered. Immediately after the sound, there appeared tongues of fire that divided and rested upon the head of each one. Filled with the Spirit, all those present began speaking not in their native tongue, but in other tongues and dialects, as the Holy Spirit instructed them.

The multitudes that had come together from various places for the feast, most of whom were Jews by race and religion, were called Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and so forth, according to the places where they dwelt. Though they spoke many different tongues, they were present in Jerusalem by divine dispensation. When they heard that sound that came down from Heaven to the place where the disciples of Christ were gathered, all ran together to learn what had taken place. But they were confounded when they came and heard the Apostles speaking in their own tongues. Marveling at this, they said one to another, "Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?" But others, because of their foolishness and excess of evil, mocked the wonder and said that the Apostles were drunken.

Then Peter stood up with the eleven, and raising his voice, spoke to all the people, proving that that which had taken place was not drunkenness, but the fulfilment of God's promise that had been spoken by the Prophet Joel: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that I shall pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy" (Joel 2:28), and he preached Jesus of Nazareth unto them, proving in many ways that He is Christ the Lord, Whom the Jews crucified but God raised from the dead. On hearing Peter's teaching, many were smitten with compunction and received the word. Thus, they were baptized, and on that day about three thousand souls were added to the Faith of Christ.

Such, therefore, are the reasons for the celebration of Pentecost -  the coming of the All-holy Spirit into the world, the completion of the Lord Jesus Christ's promise, and the fulfilment of the hope of the sacred disciples, which we celebrate on June 4. This is the final feast of the great mystery and dispensation of God's incarnation. On this last, and great, and saving day of Pentecost, the Apostles of the Savior, who were unlearned fishermen, made suddenly wise now by the Holy Spirit, clearly and with divine authority spoke the heavenly doctrines. They became heralds of the truth and teachers of the whole world. On this day they were ordained and began their apostleship, of which the salvation of those three thousand souls in one day was the comely and marvelous first fruit.


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