Parish History

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Monongahela, Pennsylvania was established in 1911 by immigrants from the region of Eastern Europe known as “Carpatho-Russia”. They arrived in America seeking a better life for themselves and their families from the villages of Swierzowa Ruska, Dlugie, Radosyna, Vysna Polianka, Nizhna Polianka, Jedlinka, Mikulasova, Dobova, Mykulivci, Kopynivci, Kal’nyk, Chopivcy, Andrijivka, Benedykivci, Ivanica, Nove Davydkovo, Velyki Lucky, Brid and Irshava. The names of the founders listed in the newspaper Amerikansky Russky Viestnik are: Andrej Dzamba, Peter Karmazin, Stanislav Kopko, Georgiy Kachmarik, Peter Durkota, Tomko Dubets, Onfry Dzhuba, Tomko Kovalko, Georgiy Yatsina, Vasily Stanko, Fedor Legeza, Ivan Roman, Grits Goydan, Michail Levkulich, Georgiy Kopko. The first cantor (dyak) was Fedor Glagola.

Services were held in Landefield’s Hall until their present property on the corner of Sixth Street and Marne Avenue was purchased in 1914. The site was blessed by Fathers Michael Andreykovich and Grigory Kulchitsky. The new congregation was placed under the protection of St. Nicholas of Mya and the first pastor was Rev. Michael Balogh. And old home which stood on the site was used for church services until a wood frame church was constructed the following year. A schism in the parish resulted in the formation of the Nativity of the Theotokos Orthodox Church in 1915 and another in 1964 which led to the formation of St. Macrina Byzantine Catholic Church (now closed). As the years progressed and the parish grew, it became clear that the old church structure needed to be replaced. A magnificent, new Byzantine-style temple was constructed on the same site and was consecrated by His Grace, Bishop Orestes (Chornock) in 1962.

An ornate, hand carved oak icon screen and altar were constructed by parish member Donald Smoley and his father John Smoley of Smoley Woodworking of Munhall, Pa. The parish has active youth organizations affiliated with the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Youth (ACRY) winning national awards as the outstanding national chapter in numerous years. The parish has been served by 37 dedicated priests in its 100+ years of existence, including the Very Rev. David Smoley who dedicated 29 year of his priestly ministry in Monongahela. The parish celebrated the centennial of its founding on October 2, 2011 with a celebration led by former pastors and with the publication of an extensive journal of historical photographs and records from its 100 year history.