Diocese: Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania
Deanery: Southwest Deanery
506 High St
Monongahela, Pennsylvania 15063-2530
From Route 51
Proceed to Rt 136W. Follow Rt 136W to the Monongahela Bridge. Cross the bridge and bear right at the end. Proceed into the town of Monongahela until you reach McDonalds. At McDonalds, make a left to Fourth St. Continue up Fourth St. Make a right turn at Sixth St and continue ahead to the Church.
Schedule of Services
6:30 PM Vespers as scheduled.
9:30 AM Divine Liturgy.
6:30 PM Bible study, adult classes, and special lectures.
Confessions are individually scheduled.
As announced, weekday Liturgies at 9:30 AM, evening Vespers at 6:30 PM.
The congregation of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church was organized on September 30, 1914. The first service was celebrated in the McGregor Building on Main Street in Monongahela, PA and immigrants from Russia, Czechoslovakia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were the first to attend. These pioneers faced many hardships, but their dream of a church where they could worship according to their own Faith was imperative.
In that same year, plans were underway on High Street to begin construction of a church
building and a parish house. The parish members planned, laboured and advanced the first funds for the materials. Some of the lots for the church property were purchased and some were donated.
Between 1914 and 1946, nineteen priests served this Orthodox community and each offered their particular talents to further strengthen and develop the parish. Fr. Nicholas Fedorchak came to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church in 1946. After Fr. Nicholas’ arrival to the parish, the community continued to move forward with many accomplishments to follow.
Fr. Fedorchak was a choir director prior to his ordination and this talent helped him form a church choir. The singers consisted of many young people and this enhanced a desire to learn more music in English, in addition to the traditional Slavonic language.
Spring 1948, an outdoor Memorial Day service for departed service men who were members of the parish was instituted and continues to this day. In 1949 stained glass windows were installed and the church exterior was painted. In 1950 a new Table of Oblation was placed in the sanctuary of the church.
Nineteen fifty-two marked the steps taken to enlarge the church building. A “do-it-yourself” project was designed to remodel the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church. This project was later hailed by Archbishop Benjamin as the “Miracle on High Street”.
In 1955 the interior of the church was renovated. This included plastering, new pews, dishes for the church kitchen and a new furnace. The money for the renovation was raised by church dinners sponsored by families and/or individuals. Coinciding with our 40th Anniversary, a dinner was held on May 22nd 1955 with His Grace Bishop Benjamin celebrating with us. The dinners are held immediately following Divine Liturgy and they are still a tradition in our parish, in conjunction with a special Orthodox Feast Day, the Sunday before one of the fasting periods or our parish Feast day Slava “The Nativity of the Virgin Mary”.
During the spring of 1955, our Sunday school was developed and in 1956 the building of a new parish home was begun and completed the following year. In 1958 landscaping of the church property was completed and Baccalaureate Exercises was established to acknowledge high school graduates.
The summer of 1959 marks the year when the new iconostas was installed in the church. New banners were purchased and new carpeting was placed in the sanctuary.
In 1960 Shumeric bells were installed and the sound throughout the neighborhood became known as the “Bells of St. Mary’s”. In 1998 the ‘bell system’ was replaced and the new system offered more variety of music to our community. They ring each evening at 6 p.m. to announce the new liturgical day. In retrospect, 1959 marks the year when the iconostasis was completed and blessed by Archbishop Benjamin on October 9th. At this same time the murals on the sidewalls were finished and new vestments along with a chalice/paten set was purchased. In 1963 the church basement was remodeled and during 1964 the painting of the church was completed and our church was most elegant with murals, icons, gold leafing and all the liturgical vessels necessary for all services. This was all crowned with a beautiful, new, crystal chandelier.
Fall 1973, our Ladies Guild of ‘The Most Holy Theotokos’ was organized and more projects were developed and completed. Improvements such as air-conditioning, paving the parking lot, a baptismal font, altar boy vestments, new windows and front entrance doors were just a few of this organization’s offerings. Our ‘Most Holy Theotokos Ladies Guild’ continues to work hard in the community and have become very well known in the Mon-Valley for their “halupki, flea-markets and bake sales” throughout the year and especially at our ETHNICFEST (held annually during last weekend in September), in Chess Park, Main St. (on Rt. 88)), Monongahela, PA.
After 51 years of dedicated service to the congregation of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Father Fedorchak retired in October of 1997. Our current pastor, the
Archpriest George Yatsko, was assigned his ministry to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Parish on November 2, 1997, by His Eminence Archbishop KYRILL.
In the past, our parish has been blessed with the honor of having His Eminence Archbishop KYRILL celebrate services in our community on several occasions. In 1998, His Eminence visited our community to install Fr. George as the pastor of our parish and he joined us for our 85th Parish Anniversary in 1999. Our community is currently blessed by having two student clerics in our midst. His Eminence tonsured Robert Motichak and David Rostcheck in 2002-3 and ordained both men as Subdeacons. They are clerics in the Pittsburgh OCA Late-Vocations Program.
In 2002, our 5th Annual Ethnicfest, was held the last weekend in September and it has evolved into our special annual parish fundraiser. Many different ethnic food booths are represented; such as, Russian, Serbian, Italian, Polish, Southwest Americana and a ‘New York Deli’ just to name a few. The homemade donut and funnel-cake booth is a popular attraction and our baked-goods booth has been our biggest fundraiser over the years. The work is hard but the fellowship, sharing and love that permeate within the parish and the community is priceless. Monongahela’s Chess Park on Main Street (Rt. 88) is the site for our festivities. Call the rectory at 724-925-7129 for dates to join us.
The parish’s St. Peter the Aleut Youth Group works hard all year long to serve the St. Innocent Orphanage in Mexico. They work to collect monies for the orphan’s ‘Christmas Wish List’ and are usually very successful with their endeavor. Annual fund-raisers include Monongahela’s Annual Summer Fleatique, a booth at the Ethnicfest, a full ‘Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner’ offered to our community and held annually on the Sunday before the Advent Fast begins. St. Peter’s Youth Group also collects the monies following any Sunday Fellowship Hour and offers gifts for any current charitable cause.
In 2002 our parish established the “Brotherhood for the Veneration of the Saints of North America”. All of the males in our community (from the age of conception to 969 years) are members of our group. Our mission is to enhance Orthodox Christian awareness, charity and love in our Mon-Valley community. No bank account, no board members. We have no other function other than to be the presence of Jesus Christ and His Word through faith and good works. Fr. George is our spiritual advisor.
A spiritual high point for our community on June 22, 2003, was the installation of a 24 ft. by 4 ft. mural of the 12 Saints of North America, blessed by His Eminence Archbishop KYRILL.
Iconographer Matthew Garrett (son of renowned writer Paul Garrett and the author of the text, “The Life of St. Innocent”) was the artist for this work.
Fr. Yatsko has been granted permission to house several relics of the American Saints into his personal care. They will be venerated at various times throughout the year, in the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church. Our parish will annually celebrate the lives of the American Saints during the week following All-Saints Day to the following Sunday of the All-Saints of North America, with daily moliebens, lectures and historical information offered by local Orthodox Pastors. Each day will celebrate and venerate a local Saint of North America. Call 724-925-7129 to obtain the exact schedule for services and events.
Our most recent project is the construction of a new Altar Table and Analoy, matching the existing woodworking in the Nave and Iconostasis. Mr. Ed Brown, the current Warden of the Parish Council, is the designer and manufacturing artist for this project. His expert, intricate and spiritually guided work will provide exemplary housing for the sacred relics entrusted to our care.
We hope you enjoyed your visit with us and please feel free to contact us and share your ideas or thoughts that may help us grow spiritually.