Holy Cross Church

Hermitage, Pennsylvania

Holy Cross Church

Founded 1906

Diocese: Romanian Episcopate

Deanery: Great Lakes USA Deanery


950 Maple Dr
Hermitage, Pennsylvania 16148-2333

Website: holycrosshermitagepa.org

Office: 724-346-3151

Parish Contacts

Home: 330-209-5841


From the East
Travel on Route 80 east. Exit at exit 1 and go north on local Rt 18.  Go through 1 traffic light and Maple Dr will be the next road on the left (be careful, it is poorly marked).  The Church is about 1 mile up the road on the left.

From the North or South
Take Rt 79 until you reach Rt 80.  Head west about 12 miles until you reach exit 1, then follow the directions above.

From Warren, OH
Take Rt 82 east out of Warren until you come to Rt 62.  Travel on Rt 62 and take the by-pass Rt 62 through Sharon.  Maple Dr is the first road (and traffic light) after Buhl Farm Dr and Kennedy Christian School.  Turn right onto Maple Dr.  At the next traffic light (about 200 ft) the main road appears to bend in front of a fire station; Maple Dr, however, goes behind the station.  The Church is about 1/4 mile down the road on the right hand side.

From the West
Follow Route 80 (note:  At the Ohio/Pennsylvania border, Rts 76 amd 80 exchange numbers).  Exit at exit #1 and go north on local Rt 18.  Go through 1 traffic light and Maple Drive will be the next road on the left (be careful, it is poorly marked).  The Church is about 1 mile up the road on the left.

Schedule of Services

All sevices are in English.

6:00 PM Vespers.
Saturday Evening

8:45 AM Matins; followed by 10:00 AM Divine Liturgy.
Sunday Morning

A complete calendar of services may be found on the parish website.

Parish Background

Records show that the need for a Romanian Orthodox parish was felt as early as 1898 after the first arrival of Romanian immigrants.  At that time a Romanian Orthodox couple, M/M Pamfil Zeicu were godparents for a baby who was baptized in a Russian Orthodox Church.

The Romanian colony in the latter part of 1905 began to organize a Romanian parish and named it Holy Cross Church.  The first service was held in the Carnegie Hall located in Farrell with Fr Moise Balea of Cleveland officiating.  At the insistence of Fr Balea, the first collection taken up by the parish was set aside for a new church edifice.  By January 16, 1906 enough money had been collected to purchase a lot and begin construction of the place of worship.  The lot at 909 Lee Ave was purchased for $1000.  The Church was completed in June 1906.

Membership of the parish increased enormously over a short period of years.  Between 1906 and 1920 some 3,400 persons of Romanian descent were living in the Shenango Valley.  The population began to decline after World War I as many returned to Romania inspired by the formation of “Romania Mare” and hoped to be a part of a glorious future.  Other Romanians in the valley migrated to larger surrounding cities.

Priests also “came and went” in the first 28 years.  The records indicate that some 14 different priests administered and served the parish.  It was in April of 1934 that this situation would be followed by the long and fruitful service of Fr Nicholae Moldovan and D’mna P’tsa Victoria Moldovan.

From the very beginning Fr Moldovan showed himself a zealous and energetic worker.  One of the first things that he did was to organize the men, and together they dug the basement of the old Lee Ave church so that there would be a small hall for educational activity and small social gatherings and a place for a furnace.  Fr Moldovan organized a Romanian language school in Farrell and also taught in Hubbard, OH.  Stern and serious about Church and the rules of the Church, he was definitely close to the people and beloved by the people.  Fr Nicholae from all account took the Incarnation of God the Word very seriously.  His life of faithful service made a profound impression on the people.  He rejoiced with the people, he wept with the people, he admonished the people, and he praised the people.

A long list of parish organizations were begun under Fr Nicholae Moldovan.  Most important is that the building and consecration of the present church, hall, and parish house which took place under his able leadership.  The Ladies Aid which was organized in 1923 continued to contribute significantly to the beautification of the church, the altar, and priestly vestments. The choir was directed by Mrs Victoria Barbu, passed into the hands of P’tsa Victoria Moldovan and continued to grow, win honors, and flourish.  It was the choir and its duties and activities which was a central aducational and social experience of the AROY organization.  The local chapter of AROY was formed in 1950 and members of Holy Cross were among the early officers of the National AROY.  Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were organized as well as a Parent’s Association.

On September 25, 1949 the parishioners realized that a larger church building was needed and voted at a Synod to organize a building-fund drive, and in 1952, 9 building lots were purchased in Farrell.  Later they were sold and the present property was purchased in 1961.  On April 1, 1962 the groundbreaking ceremonies were held.  On September 16, 1962 the cornerstone was laid and by April 21, 1963 the first Divine Liturgy in the new church was serced in the new downstairs of the new church.  In December of 1975 Fr Nicholae retired after 41 years of long, productive, and faithful service.  He was awarded the title “Priest Emeritus” by the late Archbishop Valerian.

In December of that same year Fr Nathaniel Popp began a 5 year term of service which found good soil and intense activity in Holy Cross Church.  God provides what is needed when it is needed and the stable and fertile soil of Holy Cross gave rise to growth and a flowering of what had already been planted.  A fuller use of the English language in services, an increase in weekday services, an increase in community outreach, a continued beautification of the church, some important repair and maintenance of the church, many education programs marked these years.  After 5 years of dynamic and visionary leadership, Fr Nathaniel was pressed into the service of the Episcopate as Auxiliary Bishop.  Although his last official Sunday was November 9, 1980, Bishop Nathaniel continued to serve the parish with other priests until May 17, 1981.

With the arrival of Fr John Mancantelli, his P’sa Clara, and four children on May 12, 1981, a new era began.  Consistent, deliberate, and creative work continued.  His fatherly presence and stability led the parish through the difficult times that shook the valley after the closing of a number of large factories in the valley.  In this time an increased number of converts were received into the Church, an emphasis was on Church growth and the missionary nature of of the Church, and many educational programs for yound and adults helped to prepare the faithful to face the present challenges with hope and confidence in God’s mercy.  The present St Nicholas Rooms which comprise the current Church School rooms and a smaller hall. used for Sunday coffee hour and smaller dinners, were built in the existing lower level of the Church.  The liturgical life continued to grow and sink deeper roots in the heart of the faithful.

On April 1, 1994 Fr John was transferred to St George Church, Regina, SK, Canada, and Fr Joseph (Morris) was appointed September 1994.  He served the parish until December 1997, when he was transferred to SS Constantine and Helen Church, Indianapolis, IN.  Fr Daniel (Baeyens) then served as parish priest until uary 2000.  In August 2000, Fr David Subu with his P’sa Stephanie was assigned to Holy Cross.