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

Your Parish Family Connected - March 23, 2023



* Friday, March 24 - 6:30 PM - Vespers (Litiya) - Holyday of “The Annunciation” // Private Confessions - 6 PM - 6:20 PM

* Saturday, March 25 - 9:30 AM - Liturgy of St. John: Holyday of “The Annunciation” //Private Confessions - 9 AM - 9:15 AM

[Note: this is NOT a “Liturgy for the Departed” since this major Feastday is being commemorated instead.]

* Saturday, March 25 - 4:30 PM - Vespers // Private Confessions - 4 PM - 4:20 PM

* Sunday, March 26 - 10 AM - Liturgy of St. Basil: “Leave-taking of the Annunciation” //

            Prayers for the Departed: +Robert Nestor (34th Year) / +Helen Andrus (9th Day)

* Wednesday, March 29 - 6:30 PM - Great Canon of Repentance of St. Andrew of Crete // Private Confessions - 6 PM - 6:20 PM

[NOTE that this is not a Presanctified Liturgy so there is no Holy Communion given at this service.]

* Friday, March 31 - 6:30 PM - Akathist Prayer Service // Private Confessions - 6 PM - 6:20 PM

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

* Sunday, April 2 - 10 AM - Liturgy of St. Basil: “5th Sunday of Lent - St. Mary of Egypt”





* MARCH 26 EPISTLE: C. Corson

* MARCH 26 COLLECTION: R. Markvan / P. McKeown

* APRIL 2 THIRD HOUR: M.D. Stahoviak

* APRIL 2 EPISTLE: D. Ilchuk

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



*          Please take the time to review the three attachments to this e-bulletin: 1) this Sunday’s Liturgy SCRIPTURE READINGS, 2) information about the Ladies Altar Society’s PASCHA BREAD BAKE SALE, and 3) a LECTURE FLIER from the Canonsburg parish.

*          A pastoral reminder - - it is expected that all parish members will participate in PRIVATE CONFESSION during Great Lent to prepare for the Holy Pascha (April 16). In addition to the times listed above, please contact me privately to set up a special time during the week for a Private Confession if necessary. Only those Orthodox Christians who have participated in Private Confession since the beginning of Great Lent should approach to receive the Eucharist on Pascha or thereafter.

*          It is hoped you will support our Ladies Altar Society by coming to the LENTEN SOUP-N-SALAD LUNCH downstairs in the church hall this Sunday immediately following the Liturgy. Those who can provide Lenten soups are reminded to bring them downstairs prior to the start of the Liturgy. Please contact project co-chairs Mat. Vicki Stahoviak or Patty Lear if you have questions about this event.

*          The next (LENTEN) COFFEE HOUR  is scheduled for April 2. You will be able to purchase/order SCRIP CARDS during the April 2nd coffee hour as well. Please do so before you start purchasing your special Easter Sunday foods!

*           CHURCH SCHOOL-TEEN GROUP CLASSES will meet this Sunday (March 26) - 9 AM. SUNDAY DIALOGUE is also scheduled for 9 AM this Sunday in the church nave for EVERYONE in the parish - - plan on coming! Two questions will be the first to be discussed: 1) How do we know the Bible translation we use is accurate? 2) What is the meaning of the cupolas (domes) on an Orthodox church?

*          CHOIR REHEARSALS are scheduled to follow the 6:30 PM Annunciation Vespers this Friday. We hope our choir members can attend.

*          The PARISH COUNCIL meeting that was postponed will take place this coming Monday (3/27)  downstairs in the church hall beginning at 6:30 PM. The first item on the agenda is the election of the (4) 2023 Executive Board positions.

*          Our annual LENTEN CHARITY DRIVE of household and non-perishable food items continues; please bring these donations downstairs to the kitchen area when you come to church. Monetary donations are also highly valued; please forward those cash or check donations to me (or any parish officer who will forward it to me). Please make checks payable to “Holy Ghost Church” as you mark the memo line “Charity Assistance.” Please contact me confidentially if you (or someone you know in the parish or area) needs our assistance - the Christ’s church is here to help! (P.S. - The response to this “campaign” has been significant - thanks!)

*          I continue to schedule my LENTEN PASTORAL VISITS to the parish members unable to receive Confession/Communion at Liturgy due to an impairment and who are on my known visitation list. Feel free, however, if you (or on behalf of someone else in the parish) would like to schedule a specific day/time in advance for such a sacramental visit - hopefully prior to Lazarus Saturday (April 8).

*          (Deadline approaching!) Our parish’s Jr. FOCA-Teen Group is selling SARRIS CANDY CROSSES again this year as a fund raiser. Each cross (dark or white chocolate) costs $5.25 with payment due on April 9, the date of delivery. Deadline to order is April 2. An order list has been placed on the vestibule candle desk; please contact Nikki Yakich if you have questions. (A “side note” - anyone ordering kielbasi from St. John’s in Canonsburg is welcome to speak with Nikki since she may be able to pick up that order for you when she travels to Sarris Candy in Canonsburg.)

*          We offer our PRAYERS AND CONDOLENCES to John Homick (and all the family) at the recent death of his grandfather +John Homick. The funeral was held this past Monday.

*          Please forward APRIL SPECIAL OCCASIONS NAMES to me no later than next Wednesday (March 29) evening. These April birthdays and anniversaries will be listed in the March 30 e-bulletin and mentioned in prayer during the April 2nd St. Basil Liturgy.



THE ANNUNCIATION [VESPERS - Friday - 6:30 PM // LITURGY OF ST. JOHN - Saturday - 9:30 AM]

Six months after John the Forerunner's conception, the Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, a town of Galilee, unto Mary the Virgin, who had come forth from the Temple a mature maiden (see Nov. 21). According to the tradition handed down by the Fathers, she had been betrothed to Joseph four months. On coming to Joseph's house, the Archangel declared: "Rejoice, thou Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." After some consideration, and turmoil of soul, and fear because of this greeting, the Virgin, when she had finally obtained full assurance concerning God's unsearchable condescension and the ineffable dispensation that was to take place through her and believing that all things are possible to the Most High, answered in humility: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." And at this, the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her all-blameless womb, and the Son and Word of God, Who existed before the ages, was conceived past speech and understanding, and became flesh in her immaculate body (Luke 1:26-38).

Bearing in her womb the Uncontainable One, the blessed Virgin went with haste from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea, where Zacharias had his dwelling; for she desired to find Elizabeth her kinswoman and rejoice together with her, because, as she had learned from the Archangel, Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. Furthermore, she wished to tell her of the great things that the Mighty One had been well-pleased to bring to pass in her, and she greeted Elizabeth and drew nigh to her. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, she felt her six-month-old babe, Saint John the Baptist, prophesied of the dawning of the spiritual Sun. Immediately, the aged Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized her as the Mother of her Lord, and with a great voice blessed her and the Fruit that she held within herself. The Virgin also, moved by a supernatural rejoicing in the spirit, glorified her God and Savior, saying: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour," and the rest, as the divine Luke hath recorded (1:39-55)



Today is the beginning of our salvation,

the revelation of the eternal mystery!

The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin

as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.

Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:

“Rejoice, O Full of Grace,//

the Lord is with you!”



O victorious leader of triumphant hosts!

We, your servants delivered from evil

sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos.

As you possess invincible might set us free from every calamity//

so that we may sing: “Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!”



Fr. Bill

Monthly Newsletter - March 2023


Laity Liturgy Functions


DATE                   THIRD HOUR                EPISTLE___          COLLECTION______

MARCH   5                  T. Zehnder                              M. Soroka                       B. Sopko/ I. Yakich

MARCH 12                  N. Yakich                                 C. Corson                       N. Domitrovic/ P. Evans

MARCH 19                  N. Domitrovic                         (Deacon)                       R. Grano/ A. Lauer

MARCH 26                  A. Lauer                                  (Deacon)                       R. Markvan/ P. McKeown

^  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

~ Having begun the GREAT FAST (LENT), all the days in March are days of personal ascetical fasting for all pious Orthodox Christians. This is the most rigorous of the four Orthodox fasting seasons of the year as we prepare our bodies and souls for the Lord’s Glorious Resurrection (Pascha) on April 16.

~ 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 March calendar attached to this March newsletter. Come to Christ for healing soon!

~ 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 in this parish. Please contact Fr. Bill privately if you have any questions about your important sacramental standing.




Parish Transitions

*          Michael Ehnatko:        Reposed in the Lord; February 1st funeral service [MEMORY ETERNAL!]




^          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?  No problem!  Online Donations are now LIVE! 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. Please contact Nicole Domitrovic or Fr. Bill if you have any questions about this on-line method of stewardship.


^          A reminder that we begin DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME on March 12 – be sure to move your clocks ahead one hour. Also, this is a good day to check the batteries in your various home safety alarms to make sure they are functioning properly.

^          As per the consensus of those attending the 2023 Annual Parish Meeting, the 2023 OFFERING ENVELOPE BOXES ORDER has been cancelled since the earliest anticipated arrival of those envelopes would be mid to late March. Please continue to give generously to the parish by using private envelopes from home; please be sure to include your name/ date of stewardship contribution/ donation amount on the outside of that envelope. You no longer need to use the outdated 2022 numbered offering envelopes. We will have more to share about this subject after the March 20 parish council meeting.

^          The OATH OF OFFICE will be administered to the 2023 parish council as well as the 2023 auditing committee members at the conclusion of the March 19 Liturgy. All council and auditing members are reminded to please participate in Confession/ Eucharist prior to this installation service.

^          All are invited to attend the LENTEN SOUP AND SALAD LUNCH fund raiser sponsored by our Ladies Altar Society downstairs in the church hall immediately following the March 26 St. Basil Liturgy. A list of individuals willing to provide homemade Lenten soups will be placed in the vestibule during March. Invite a friend, too!

^          The TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY VESPERS SERVICE sponsored by the Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood of Greater Pittsburgh is scheduled to take place on March 5 – 4:30 PM. This will take place at the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh (off the Boulevard of the Allies) at 3400 Dawson Street.

^          The annual LENTEN VESPERS SERVICE of our Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western PA (OCA) will take place at the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on March 19- 4:30 PM. A Lenten meal will be held downstairs in the church hall immediately the service at the church located in Allison Park at 8290 Thompson Run Road.

^          Fr. Bill is now beginning his LENTEN PASTORAL VISITS to administer the Holy Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist to our parish members unable to personally receive them in church. 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 8). Unite yourself to Christ before His Resurrection on April 16th!

^          Our parish has a busy schedule of activities/events on the calendar for the remainder of the year! Here’s a partial list of 2023 PARISH EVENTS for you to mark your calendar to set aside and be a part of within the parish family. Please note that some dates may be subject to change so please watch for updates in the newsletters, group emails, Amvon announcements, etc. (More to come as well!)

            ~ March 26 – L.A.S. Soup-n-Salad Lunch

            ~ April 1 – Pascha bread baking

            ~ April 16 – Pascha Blessing of Baskets + Agape Meal

            ~ April 16 – Children’s Egg Hunt

            ~ May 6 – Simply Social (Location to be announced later.)

            ~ May 14 – Mother’s Day Brunch

            ~ May 21 – Wine Tasting & Basket Party - LAS

            ~ June 7 – Simply Social (Location to be announced later.)

            ~ June 18 – Father’s Day Brunch

            ~ July 9 – Wild Things Baseball Game – Washington, PA (Tentative)

            ~ August 26 – Parish Picnic (Church Grounds - following special 4 PM Vespers start.)

            ~ September 10 – Parish Breakfast – FOCA

            ~ September 17 – Liturgy visit/presentation – Mother Christophora/ Ellwood City Sisters

            ~ November 12 – Soup & Sandwich Lunch – LAS

            ~ December 17 – Children’s Nativity Program + Charity Coffee Hour

            ~ December (?) – Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops Concert (T.B.D.)




^          Our annual parish LENTEN CHARITY DRIVE of non-perishable food and household items is now beginning. 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 Ambridge area citizens as well as the St. Cyril of White Lake Orthodox Food Pantry in the Southside of Pittsburgh. Also - - anyone needing confidential assistance – or anyone knowing of someone needing assistance – should contact Fr. Bill privately. THANKS!

^          Reminder: our 2023 STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM SIGN-UP is now ending. Please be sure to return the PLEDGE FORM received with the February parish newsletter to the parish soon if you haven’t done so already – either mail it to the parish office or drop it off in the special box located on the vestibule candle desk. Please contact Fr. Bill if you need a duplicate pledge form to use. THANKS!





In the early Church, the main purpose of LENT was to prepare the catechumen, that is to say, the newly converted Christian, for baptism which at that time was performed during the Paschal Liturgy. But even when the Church rarely baptized adults (in favor of infant baptism) and the institution of the (adult) catechumenate (nearly) disappeared, the basic meaning of Lent remained the same. For even though we are baptized, what we constantly lose and betray is precisely that which we received in baptism. Therefore, Pascha (Easter) is our return every year to our own baptism, whereas Lent is our preparation for that return – the slow and sustained effort to perform, at the end, our own “passage” or “pascha” into the new and authentic life in Christ. Each year Lent and Pascha are, once again, the rediscovery and recovery by each of us of what we were made through our own baptismal death and resurrection.

(- Fr. Alexander Schmemann)


+ Our SPIRITUAL SPRINGTIME is here! Come and enjoy the journey to the Resurrection! +

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


Center for Hope Outreach Dinner - 11/03/2022

Our parish did our fall community outreach dinner on November 3 at the Center for Hope in Ambridge. Seventy hot meals were prepared and served by the parish for the community.

(6 images)

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