*** ONLINE AS OF AUGUST 5, 2011 ***
    



St. Nicholas Orthodox Cemetery - Slippery Rock Twnp PA

This small Catholic cemetery in rural Slippery Rock Township is the sacred burial ground for members of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Catholic Church in New Castle, Pennsylvania. The first Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants in this area came from Central Europe to New Castle in about 1890 and constructed the St. Nicholas edifice on South Mill Street in 1910 – and expanded it in 1918-1919. (See the page of NEW CASTLE – St. Nicholas Catholic Church for more information.)

The initial burials of church members were conducted in other Catholic cemeteries in the city, mainly at St. Joseph’s Cemetery (for German Catholics) and a few others at St. Mary’s Cemetery (for Irish Catholics). At some point in the mid-1920’s a small property was purchased outside the city limits so the church could start a dedicated cemetery of its own. It is located on Old Route 422 (Old Butler Road) where it intersects with Copper Road. A small chapel was also constructed at the site. The earliest burial I have been able to find is that of eight-month-old Alice Varzaly, who was interred on Monday, July 9, 1926. She was the daughter of the Rev. Stephan Varzaly, who was the church’s pastor from 1921-1932 and later became a leading activist of the Rusyn cause in the United States.

My maternal great grandparents John and Mary LaPatka, who came to Pennsylvania from Austria-Hungary in the 1890’s, are buried here in an eight-plot section owned by my family. Their sons and my uncles George LaPatka, Joseph LaPatka, and Frank “Shorty” LoPatka (who kept the traditional surname spelling) are buried alongside them. John’s brother Mike LoPatka and another distant relative Emma (Burick) Smith are buried nearby as well.

My family attempted to inter my dear aunt Josephine “Jay” (LaPatka) Teck here after her death in early November 2009. Her remains were subsequently cremated with no thought given to the unintended consequences. Little did we know that the Orthodox Church basically forbids cremations and we were refused permission to place her urn in the family plot at the cemetery. She was subsequently laid to rest in a mausoleum at Holy Redeemer (St. Agatha’s) Cemetery outside Ellwood City, where other members of the LaPatka family are buried.


The entrance sign for the small rural cemetery on Cooper Rd. (Jul 2009)


The small chapel located within the cemetery. (Jul 2009)


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The stone of Emma Burick Smith, whose father Michal Burik of Chewton was the step-brother of my great grandmother Mary (Burik) LaPatka. Click on MIKE BURIK to learn more. (Jul 2009)


My uncle Ray Bales and I had a good laugh about this one, i.e., “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Ah, you had to be there to appreciate this bold chicken that strutted right across the road and into the cemetery. (Jul 2009)


Just strolling about. (Jul 2009)


Cooper Road runs down and intersects Old Butler Rd/ Old 422 just in the background. (Jul 2009)


(Dec 2006)


The LaPatka plot includes John & Mary LaPatka and sons George, Joe, and Frank. (Nov 2009) Full Size


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My great grandparents John & Mary LaPatka of Chewton. To learn more about them click on JOHN & MARY.


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The gravesite of the Reverend John W. Roman (1892-1948), who was affiliated with the church back in the 1930’s. He died in March 1948 while serving the Orthodox Church in Rankin PA.


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A new sign (white carved stone) graces the entrance to the cemetery. (May 2014)


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Comment

  1. Great site! It may be of interest to add that members of the former Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church of New Castle were also buried in this cemetery, although I believe in the early decades of that church’s existence, they were buried elsewhere (anybody know for sure?).

    I’m seeking published histories of that Holy Trinity Ukrainian, and also the old Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox churches in New Castle. (What a coincidence they both had the same name and are both now closed.)

    Rich Custer · 03/09/2013 03:05 AM · #

  2. Wonderful discovery, I now know where my Great Grandparents are buried. My mother (90) is one of but a few Ufnar grandchildren still with us. She will be tickled to know where her grandparents are buried and the church they attended in New Castle…. Thank You for this site!!!!

    Dr. Bradley Sabelli (Ufnar) · 07/29/2014 01:47 AM · #

  3. A few years back my mother took me here to show me where some of her ancestors are (Dudash).

    Bryan Martin · 05/02/2016 08:54 PM · #