Diocese: Albanian Archdiocese
Deanery: Mid-Atlantic Deanery
9230 Old Bustleton Ave
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19115
From North and South
Take I-95 to Academy Rd exit. Follow Academy Rd to the 2nd traffic light, Willits Rd. Turn left onto Willits Rd, which turns into Welsh Rd. Follow Welsh Rd across Roosevelt Blvd (US Rt 1) to Old Bustleton Ave (at the 7-11 store). Turn left at Old Bustleton, church is half a block on the right. Parking is available behind the church, as well as directly to the right of the Church, courtesy of the Galzerano Funeral Home, in their parking lot.
Schedule of Services
All services are in English.
6:00 PM Vespers (General Confession first Saturday of the month).
10:00 AM Divine Liturgy.
7:00 PM Bible Study
7:00 PM Vesperal Liturgy.
Eve of Feast Day
7:00 PM Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts followed by Adult Education and Lenten “covered dish”.
Wednesday Evenings in Great Lent
For a complete list of upcoming services, please visit the Monthly Calendar on the parish website.
SS Peter and Paul was founded in 1915, serving the first Divine Liturgy on December 25 of that year. The priest appointed to serve was Fr Naum Cere, the building was a rented facility at 4th and Sharswood Sts. Three years later, the community had gathered enough funds to purchase the church building at Hancock and Oxford Sts. The new building was renovated by parishioners and was consecrated by then Archimandrite, Theofan S Noli, on January 12, 1919.
Fr Marko Kondili served the parish from that time until 1928. Fr George Suli endured the sacrifices of the Great Depression with the parish. Fr Nikolla Prifti served the parish from 1934 until his falling asleep in 1941. From 1943 through the difficult years of the Second World War, the parish flock was tended by Fr Christo Costa. In the postwar years, the parish was cared for by Fr Haralamp Dode, Fr Costa Belba, and Fr Diogen Econom.
In 1949, another transition took place. Far ahead of many local Orthodox parishes, the choir began to sing responses in English, thanks to the publication of the reanslation work of then Bishop Theophan Noli. Ordained to the priesthood in June 1949 by Bishop Noli, Fr Stephen Lasko served the parish from 1951 to 1955. He was followed by Fr Constantine Noni, formerly the Abbot of the Monastery of Kalishti, Albania. Many of our current parishioners received the sacrament of marriage or baptism through Fr Noni. Under the pastorate of Fr Vangel Avgerinos, who served from 1958 to 1961, the parish made further progress, using English as the language of the Liturgy and for the reading of the Gospel. From 1961 until 1964, the pastor was Fr Ernest Tsonis, among the first of the American-born clergy, and the first to use the Theological Fund for his seminary studies at St Vladimirs in New York.
Through another transition, and the formation of the Albanian Archdiocese as a part of the soon to become autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, Fr Gregory Fontaine served the parish from 1964 through 1969. The following year, Hieromonk Roman Serdynski came to serve SS Peter and Paul. He had returned to Philadelphia for treatment of a kidney ailment. It was through the efforts of Fr Roman that the seed was planted to find a new parish building, in the northeast part of the city. During Fr Roman’s extended grave illness, and after his falling asleep in September 1974, the parish was served by Fr Basil Horsky. Fr Basil was retired, but came to serve with saintly humility and great love. Shortly after celebrating his 80th birthday at the parish, he served the last Liturgy of his life with us.
It was then that Fr John Rachko, who travelled 62 miles wach way from Bethlehem, PA, came to serve the parish. Through his spiritual care and fatherly guidance, the parish finally achieved the goal of relocating to a new church facility. Once again, the parishioners gave of their time, efforts, talents and finances to make the needed renovations.
In 1983, Fr Antony Bassoline came to served the parish for a six month period, which became ten years. He was a fiery preacher, a scholarly theologion and a talented linguist. It was Fr Antony who shaped the Liturgical form we now use, blending the Slavonic Typicon, used in our Liturgy of the Word, with the Byzantine Typicon, used in the Liturgy of the Faithful. At the untimely falling asleep of Fr Antony, the parish was blessed to be served by Fr George Gregory, who had only just retired. He, too, came for a period of months, which became five years. And he, too, travelled a considerable distance, often when a more cautious man would not have come. Through his steadfastness, the unity and stability of the parish was maintained. As Fr George had so graciously agreed, when a priest became available for permanent appointment, he returned to retirement.
That gift came to us in the person of Fr Stephen Siniari. Baptized at SS Peter and Paul, his spiritual journey has been an extended and mission-oriented one. Even while Fr Stephen continues his work of ministering to the needs of the poor and the homeless, we rejoice at the work of the Lord in bringing Fr Stephen, Priftesha Margot and their family home to us. In December of 2014, father Stephen Sinari retired from the parish after 16 years of caring for the people. He is deeply missed. Fr. H.Gregory Dudash who has been attached to the parish for 12 years will be the interim pastor until such time as another is assigned. All services and activities of the parish are ongoing.
SS Peter and Paul is a parish of acceptance, diverse peoples, spiritual seeking, and great joy because it has been so well cared by its pastors and people. We hope you will join with us singing the responses and in sharing our full liturgical involvment.