Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church Erie, PA

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Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church

3415 Wallace Street

Erie, PA. 16504 Get Directions


Immigrant Byzantine Catholics began to settle in the three-state area on the shores of Lake Erie around 1885. Some of these unskilled individuals did farm work, while others found employment in the paper industry on the East Side of the city of Erie. Without any religious or social leaders, they organized their own religious communities and adapted to life in America. Although unfamiliar with the Latin Rite devotions and language, these Eastern European immigrants affiliated themselves with Holy Family Catholic Church of the Latin Rite on Fulton Street. At one of their meetings after the Sunday Liturgy, 15 families decided to organize a congregation of Byzantine Catholics, build their own church and seek a resident pastor.

In 1912, the trustees invited Father J. Danilovich, pastor of St. Michael Church in Sharon, Pa. (now in Hermitage), to accept a temporary assignment to administer the Holy Mysteries (sacraments) to the faithful. The most significant organizational work was done by Father Nestor Volensky, pastor of St. Michael Church in Sheffield, Pa. The growing congregation purchased the abandoned Emmanuel Evangelical Congregational Church on East 23rd Street. The interior was remodeled and the church was blessed and dedicated as SS. Peter & Paul Greek Catholic Church on Thanksgiving Day, November 18, 1912 by Father Emil Burik. When he was transferred in 1914, the leaders of the congregation once again were supported by the pastor at the Sheffield parish. Father Nicholas Sabo came to Erie every third Sunday of the month to celebrate Matins, the Divine Liturgy and Vespers. He also administered the Holy Mysteries and celebrated funeral services. In 1915, Lodge 487 of the Greek Catholic Union was organized. This active organization contributed to the appointment of the first resident pastor, Father Theophile Zatkovitch in 1918.

In 1953 the church was remodeled during the pastorate of Father Paul Dano and was rededicated by Bishop Daniel Ivancho. A new SS. Peter & Paul Church was built on Wallace Street while Father John Onesko was pastor.

Dedicated on May 1, 1960 by Bishop Nicholas T. Elko, the church’s interior decoration was completed and celebrated on August 8, 1960. A Parish Center was built in 1969. During the pastorate of Father Julius Kubinyi, STD, a new copper roof was installed (1982), the mortgage burning took place (1984), and an asphalt parking lot was added to the church and Parish Center complex (1987). The parish today has a group of Religious Education teachers, a Parish Council, Altar-Rosary Society, Baking Group, Acolytes-Altar Servers, and Get-Together Workers.