185 East Main StreetUniontown, PA. 15401 Get Directions
In the late nineteenth century immigrants from all over Eastern Europe poured into America. This included many people of Slovak, Rusyn, Hungarian, and Croatian backgrounds. They shared the dreams, ideals and motivations of the other nationalities leaving the confines of Europe to pursue a new life in the land of the free. Their possessions were few; material things were left behind in their homelands. They came to America with a few belongings but, most importantly, they came with their faith in God and with their Byzantine traditions.
Hard-working people that they were, the hope of employment led them to Pennsylvania to the coal fields and industry in and around Uniontown. In time, God’s blessings were evident as homes were established and families grew. And, the time had come to sacrifice once again for the Lord.
As the roots of the Rusyn people became planted and the dedication to their religious heritage grew, plans were formulated to establish a church of their own in the Uniontown area. On August 10, 1911 Father Stephen Gulovich became their first pastor. The first Divine Liturgy in Uniontown was celebrated on August 27 of that year in the local Greek Catholic Union hall. Because of the growing number of Byzantine Catholics, a new parish was chartered within a month of Father Gulovich’s appointment to Uniontown. On September 21, 1911 St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Congregation of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, became a reality. Property on East Main Street was purchased, and the hilltop site became an appropriate location for the construction of the new church and rectory, which were completed in 1918.
One of the significant pieces of St. John’s history is the construction of St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic School. The doors of the facility opened officially for the 1956-57 school year. Four Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great taught the 114 students in grades one through eight. The school gave a viable witness to the Gospel and to the Byzantine Church for over 42 years. Unfortunately, due to a steady decline in enrollment, the school closed in 1998.
In 1973, the parish began broadcasting the Divine Liturgy for shut-ins over a local radio station.
St. John Church boasts of having two of its native sons elevated to the rank of Archbishop of our Metropolitan Church: Archbishop Thomas V. Dolinay and Archbishop Judson M. Procyk.
In the new millennium, the founding ancestors of St. John parish are remembered with great pride and honor. Many of their ethnic traditions remain alive, because they are passed down from generation to generation. St. John the Baptist Church continues to be an active Christian community, reaching out and evangelizing to the people of the Uniontown area.