Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church Charleroi, PA

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Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church

828 Meadow Avenue

Charleroi, PA. 15022-1818 Get Directions
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At the close of the nineteenth century, industrialization and immigration were transforming the farms and small towns along the Monongahela River. A newly incorporated city, Charleroi – and its sister towns of Monessen, Donora, Monongahela and Belle Vernon – were leading the new economic boom in glass production, coal mining and steel making. Helping to fuel this new American Industrial Age was a tidal wave of hard working immigrants from southern and eastern Europe.

As Charleroi prospered, the needs of the many Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants living there grew. Among these needs was the desire to form “spiritual” communities which also would observe the many ethnic traditions of the Byzantine Ruthenian Church. In January 1899, Father John Hrabar was able to visit the faithful, solemnize marriages, baptize the young and give hope to the growing community. Religious services were held in the old Mound Hall on McKean Avenue.

On June 7, 1899 a 14-member committee convened to make positive steps for the erection of a new church. Their efforts were successful, and six lots were purchased on Ninth and Meadow Avenues. The new church was dedicated on July 4, 1899; the first pastor was Father Nestor Volensky. This church marked the firm beginning of a spiritual home for the Eastern Catholics, and it was a consolation to many Roman Catholic Slavs who also came to pray in the “Slavonic” tongue familiar to them.

Tragedy visited the congregation on April 27, 1907, when the wooden church was destroyed by a tornado, leaving only the bell tower in tact. A determined congregation made new plans to rebuild the church in stone and brick.

While the work of rebuilding was carried on, the congregation was welcomed to the use of a hall for their religious services at SS. Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church. The new brick church was completed in December of 1907.

Holy Ghost Church celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 1959 under the spiritual guidance of then-Father George Kuzma, who later was Bishop of the Eparchy of Van Nuys (California) from 1991-2000.

In 1970 construction of a new church structure was completed. The beautiful new structure was necessary to accommodate a thriving parish family.

During the 1980s the parish family once again reflected the economic realities of the once heavily industrial Mid-Mon Valley. With the decline in coal mining and steel making as well as the aging of the community, Holy Ghost parish served the unemployed and needy through the establishment of the Charleroi Area Food Pantry housed at the church.

The parish faithful undertook a complete icon renovation project, donating the time and resources to provide for 250 icons in the church. The spirit of the church remained strong, and on October 25, 1987, a celebration of thanksgiving for the renovation of the church took place. Holy Ghost Church serves as a reminder of the dedicated faithful who have, through their faith, generosity and Byzantine Catholic tradition, so humbly honored our Lord God over its 100-plus years of existence.