Saint John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church Northern Cambria, PA

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Saint John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church

719 Chestnut Street

Northern Cambria, PA. 15714 Get Directions
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The large majority of Greek Catholic immigrants who settled in the Barnesboro area were Carpatho-Rusyns. They came to Patton, Hastings, and Barnesboro in the 1890s to work in the bituminous coal mines and other industries that were growing. There was no Byzantine Catholic Church established in the area at that time. They had to attend church in Ramey, Clearfield County (founded in 1893) or SS. Peter & Paul in Punxsutawney, Jefferson County (founded 1894). They traveled to these churches for baptisms and weddings. At other times of worship they met in peoples homes and sang the Vespers and Matins, whose melodies and text they knew by heart.

Father Cyril Gulovich, OSBM, who came to Barnesboro from Ramey, became the pastor of the new St. John the Baptist Greek Catholic Church. He is recognized as the first spiritual father of the parish.

In the fall of 1897 a small frame church and rectory stood on a parcel of land donated by the Barnes Coal Company. Father Gulovich blessed the Holy Altar and icon screen on July 4, 1902. The church was decorated in the traditional Rusyn style of the immigrants’ Carpathian Mountain homeland. The icon screen spanned from the floor to the ceiling; the icons were written by Father Stephen Zacharias.

However, in 1924 St. John the Baptist Church was destroyed by an accidental fire which began in the choir loft.

In 1926 Father Denis Girecky was appointed to the parish. Through perseverance and untiring work, he and his parishioners were able to build a new brick church on Chestnut Avenue in Barnesboro (now Northern Cambria).

St. John’s steeple was replaced with a gold dome in 1990, and an icon screen, which was lost in the fire of 1924, was added in May 1997 to complete the traditional Byzantine appointments. In preparation for the parish centennial celebration in September 1997, the interior of the church was thoroughly cleaned and painted, and new icons were written.