Carpatho-Rusyns are one of the major ethnic groups of Pennsylvania. From the time they settled the state’s small towns and cities in the late 1870s until the present time, Carpatho-Rusyns have left an indelible mark on the state, and their story should be told. This blog is about a project that will do just that. Read more

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Chronology of Carpatho-Rusyn Churches in the U.S., 1884-1900

While working on an article about Lemko Rusyn businessmen (& a businesswoman) in Shamokin, Northumberland County (forthcoming), it became clear that I often have to keep piecing together a list of all of the Carpatho-Rusyn churches founded in the U.S. and in what year they were founded.

To definitively establish a year of founding can be a challenge due to varying circumstances in the history of each parish. I have tried to use the date generally accepted both by the parish and in primary sources of the time to say that this parish/church was unquestionably in existence at some point that year. Generally this would either be the granting of a civil charter to the parish, the existence of a permanent place of worship, and/or the assignment of a priest (or a visiting priest making regular visits for services and sacraments).

Occasionally the date I use conflicts with the date used by the parish. For example, Shamokin's Transfiguration Church has celebrated its anniversaries based on 1884, when Father Ivan Voljans'kyj began to visit the Shamokin/Excelsior area occasionally. However, a church was not built until 1889 (the date I am using here); the parish was chartered only in 1892.

For my own reference and for your interest, here's that list, from the first in 1884 through 1900. The list is always open to correction and improvement.
Locations are in Pennsylvania unless otherwise noted; all are Greek Catholic unless otherwise noted. Within each year, parish is listed alphabetically rather than chronologically. While some of the Greek Catholic parishes were assigned in 1916 to the Galician/Ukrainian jurisdiction in Philadelphia, all those mentioned here were founded by Carpatho-Rusyns and remained (with two exceptions) almost entirely or substantially Carpatho-Rusyn to the present time.

Shenandoah (1884)
Freeland (1886)
Jersey City (1887)

Minneapolis (1887)
Punxsutawney (1893)
Trauger (1894)

ShenandoahImmaculate Conception, later
St. Michael
FreelandSt. Mary (Dormition)
Jersey City, NJSs. Peter & Paul
KingstonSt. Mary (Protection)
Minneapolis, MN (became Orthodox)St. Mary (Protection)
OlyphantSs. Cyril & Methodius
Wilkes-Barre (became Orthodox; returned to Gr. Cath.)St. Mary (Dormition)
HazletonSt. Mary (Dormition)
Duquesne (became Orthodox)St. Nicholas
Passaic, NJSt. Michael
Osceola Mills (became Orthodox)St. Mary (Nativity)
Brooklyn, NYSt. Elias
Mahanoy CitySt. Mary (Protection)
Mayfield (became Orthodox)St. John the Baptist
McAdooSt. Mary (Protection)
Mount CarmelSs. Peter & Paul
Old Forge (became Orthodox)St. Michael
PhiladelphiaHoly Ghost
Pittsburgh (Greek Catholic)St. John the Baptist
Pittsburgh (Orthodox)St. Alexander Nevsky
ScrantonSt. Mary (Dormition)
Trenton, NJSt. Mary (Dormition)
Chicago, IL (Orthodox)St. Vladimir, later Holy Trinity
Cleveland, OH (became Hungarian GC)St. John the Baptist
LansfordSt. John the Baptist
LeisenringSt. Stephen
Yonkers, NYSt. Nicholas
Hazleton (2nd Greek Catholic parish)St. John the Baptist
PunxsutawneySs. Peter & Paul
RameySt. Mary (Annunciation)
Alden StationSt. Vladimir
Bridgeport, CT (became Hungarian GC)St. Elias, later Holy Trinity
Bridgeport, CT (Orthodox)Holy Ghost
Brookside, AL (became Orthodox)St. George, later St. Mary and St. Nicholas
Buffalo, NY (became Orthodox)Ss. Peter & Paul
Philipsburg (Orthodox)St. John the Baptist
Sheppton (became Orthodox)St. John the Baptist
Streator, IL (Orthodox)Three Hierarchs
TraugerSt. Mary (Dormition)
Ansonia, CT (Orthodox)Three Saints
Beaver MeadowsSs. Peter & Paul
Elmira, NYSt. Nicholas
Glen LyonSt. Nicholas
JohnstownSt. Mary (Protection)
BraddockSs. Peter & Paul
Cleveland, OH (Orthodox)St. Theodosius
HomesteadSt. John the Baptist
MinersvilleSt. George
Wilkeson, WA (Orthodox)Holy Trinity
Ansonia, CTSs. Peter & Paul
BarnesboroSt. John the Baptist
Bayonne, NJSt. John the Baptist
Hartshorne, OK (Orthodox)Ss. Cyril & Methodius
Marblehead, OHSt. Mary
Mont ClareSt. Michael
Old Forge (new Greek Catholic parish)St. Nicholas
Perth Amboy, NJ (became Orthodox)St. John the Baptist
Philadelphia (Orthodox)St. Andrew
Saint ClairSt. Michael
Scranton (2nd Greek Catholic parish)St. John the Baptist
Scranton (Orthodox)Ss. Peter & Paul
Troy, NY (became Orthodox)St. Nicholas
Cleveland, OH (new Greek Catholic parish)St. John the Baptist
Denver, CO (became Orthodox)Transfiguration
Forest CitySt. John the Baptist
Garfield, NJ (Orthodox)Three Saints
Marblehead, OH (Orthodox)St. Mary (Dormition)
Pleasant City, OHSt. Michael
PlymouthSs. Peter & Paul
Yonkers, NY (Orthodox)Holy Trinity
Catasauqua (Orthodox)Holy Trinity
CharleroiHoly Ghost
JessupHoly Ghost
Whiting, INSt. Mary (Dormition)
Yonkers, NY (2nd Greek Catholic parish)St. Michael
Madison, IL (Orthodox)St. Mary (Nativity)
New Britain, CTHoly Trinity
NorthamptonSt. John the Baptist
PattonSs. Peter & Paul
Pittsburgh (2nd Greek Catholic parish)(Second) St. John the Baptist
Syracuse, NYSt. John the Baptist
Wilkes-Barre (Orthodox)Holy Resurrection
WindberSt. Stephen, later St. Mary (Dormition)
Youngstown, OHSt. Mary (Dormition)

(In case you're wondering -- all of these parishes still exist, except for Alden Station, Brooklyn, Bridgeport - Hungarian, Sheppton - Orthodox, and Streator.)

Alden Station (1894)
Minersville (1896)
Wilkeson (1896)

Saint Clair (1897)
Youngstown (1900)
Madison (1900)

Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.


  1. Very nice work Rich. It shows the importance of the church in Carpatho-Rusyn culture. Everywhere they settled, it was the center of life.

  2. How nice to see St John the Baptist in Forest City on the list. My grandmother was married there in 1901 soon after arriving in America and after being widowed, married my grandfather there in 1920. My parents married there in 1943. Sadly very few parishioners left when I last visited in 2013. I remember when the old steeple was replaced for safety reasons in the 50s. I wish I had a photo of how it looked back then.
    Eileen Backofen

    1. Eileen, please write me at -- I have a postcard of the Forest City church with the old tower and will email a scan of it to you.

  3. Would like to see Saint John the Baptist in Dundaff, PA on the list. My great grandfather was a founding member.

    1. Hi -- the list only goes to 1900; the community in Dundaff began to form in the 1920s but St. John's Church in Dundaff was founded only in 1938. The Rusyn community and church of Dundaff will certainly be covered in my book. Would love to hear about any info you have on the community's history. I have a 1988 50th anniversary book, which has some nice old photos, and have been to the church & cemetery and have info mainly from the Simpson churches' records that show who settled in Dundaff and from which European villages...


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