Administratror: Reverend Oleh Seremchuk
525 Porter AvenueScottdale, PA. 15683 Get Directions
Journey back to the late 1800s – when our Slav forebears began arriving in Pennsylvania from the Austro-Hungarian Empire looking for gainful employment. In 1903 H.C. Frick and other industrialists bought vast tracts of coal rights, and soon many mining towns or “patches” were built. The Slav people being sturdy, industrious, and accustomed to long hours of work were in great demand in the steel and coal industries. The founders of St. John the Baptist Church settled in what was known as “Swedetown,” which in 1926 became a part of the Borough of Scottdale. Swedetown’s location was not in close proximity to Leisenring (14 miles) or Trauger (Latrobe, 27 miles), two communities where Byzantine Catholic churches already were established. The early residents of Swedetown had to walk or travel by horse and buggy to these churches. The two churches could scarcely accommodate their own immediate parishioners much less provide spiritual care for the number of Byzantine Catholics scattered about the surrounding areas.
Thus, in 1910 Byzantine Catholics in Scottdale organized themselves to begin construction of their own church. It was dedicated in 1912, with Father Myron Danilovich serving as the first pastor. In later years, the church edifice underwent extensive remodeling. The congregation celebrated their 40th Anniversary in 1952 and marked the event with a rededication ceremony.
St. John parish had been a mission to St. Stephen Church in Leisenring until 1955, when the first resident pastor was appointed. At this time, a new rectory was built.
Father John Salko was appointed to St. John the Baptist Church in 1961 and is responsible for the complete transformation of the parish.
The 50th Anniversary of the parish was celebrated in 1962, highlighted by a groundbreaking ceremony for a new church building. An enormous amount of energy and financial resources were required to accomplish the task. In 1971, the first Divine Liturgy in the new church was celebrated on Thanksgiving Day.
One cannot help but marvel at the tasteful blending of contemporary design and European influence in the church architecture and decor. The sanctuary mosaic of the Mystical Supper contains more than 750,000 pieces of tile, individually cut by hand in Milan, Italy. This mosaic alone took 19 days to complete by four mosaic artists from Milan. All of the stained glass windows have vignette outlines representing various feasts of Christ and the Mother of God. Both the mosaic and stained glass windows were designed as unique works of art for St. John Church, never to be duplicated.
In 1979 the Shrine of Our Lady of the Highway was completed. Before the completion of the Shrine, arrangements were made to purchase three bells custom made in Holland.
1987 marked the 75th Anniversary of the parish. Remodeling included a new tile roof, painting and masonry changes, and gold re-gilding of the symbols of our faith.
As the parish family of St. John Church celebrated in 2010 the 100th year milestone in their history, they are proud to continue what their ancestors started in faith over 100 years ago.