In early 1926 a small enclave of Ukrainian immigrants in New Castle, Pennsylvania, decided to form their own Orthodox church. These majority of the Ukrainians, who had been immigrating to the United States since the 1870’s, had previously been attending services at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Catholic Church on East Reynolds Street. They met in a private home in February 1926 and organized what became the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The new church aligned itself with what later became the New Jersey-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America.
They took up donations and soon purchased a lot on Rose Avenue, where it intersects Stanton Avenue. They borrowed additional funds and soon started work on a small church. On Sunday, October 3, 1926, the church was dedicated during a ceremony in which the cornerstone was laid. The New Castle News of Friday, October 1, 1926, reported, “The dedication services will be in charge of the pastor Rev. Ch. Yacobchuk, Rev. Gregory Clemovich of Butler, Pa., Rev. Koshel of Youngstown, O., Rev. Sidlecki of Ambridge, Pa., Rev. Kashuba of Pittsburgh. The Ukrainian National chorus of Youngstown, O., will furnish the music for the occasion.” Subsequent services were primarily held in Ukrainian – with one a month mass provided in English.
The brick church, erected with the help of the men of the congregation, was completed soon after. The tough economic times of the 1930’s led to a sharp reduction in the church’s membership. With only a part time pastor and church struggled to survive. The Reverend Stephen Musiychuk (1894-1952), a noted choir director who came to the United States in 1913, took over as pastor in early 1941 and provided stability during the war years. The mortgage was finally paid off in 1944 and things started to look up. Musiychuk left for a new assignment in 1947, but left the congregation in good shape. Sadly, in October 1952, at the age of only fifty-eight, he died of a heart attack at his home in Sharon.
The church held steady during the fifties, when the Reverend John Kobot served the congregation from 1952 until 1957. Kobot organized an effort to purchase a private home across the street from the church, and it was renovated to become the new parish house. It was blessed by church officials during a service held on Sunday, July 24, 1955.
On Sunday, June 4, 1961, the congregation, celebrating its 35th anniversary, held a banquet at the St. Elias Church recreation hall on East Long Avenue. The Reverend Anthony Stangry (1895-1974) served as pastor from 1963 until 1967. Under his reign a major renovation project, which took about two years to complete, was undertaken beginning in the fall of 1965. The entire church was encased in new bricks, the interior was renovated, the basement was greatly improved, and a small addition was made to the rear of the structure. The church was rededicated during a ceremony held on Sunday, July 2, 1967. The Reverend Stangry, after forty-two years of proud service, retired a few weeks later.
In May 1968 his successor, the distinguished Reverend John F. Shnurer (1897-1976) arrived to take over as pastor. He guided the church until he settled into retirement in 1975. On Sunday, October 10, 1976, the congregation held a special program to honor the 50th anniversary of its founding.
Holy Trinity slowly but steadily lost its Ukrainian identity as many members of the old guard passed away. Sunday services in Ukrainian were ceased as a way to cater to a broader audience. The church was eventually supplied by visiting pastors, and facing dwindling attendance it was finally closed down in late 2011 or early 2012. The church building was subsequently sold and today is a private residence.
The church building underwent a major remodeling effort, led by the Reverend Anthony Stangry (seen above), beginning in the fall of 1965. The completed church was rededicated on Sunday, July 2, 1967. (Sep 1965)
The church always had a small but loyal congregation – which in October 1976 proudly celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of their church. (1976)
Renovations to the interior of the sanctuary were completed in early 1982. (Feb 1982)
(Aug 2013) Full Size
(Aug 2013) Full Size