Holy Ghost Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
210 Maplewood Avenue, Ambridge, PA 15003

Your Parish Family Connected - September 22, 2023



* Saturday, September 23 - 4:30PM - Vespers // Confessions: 4PM - 4:20PM

* Sunday, September 24 - 10AM - Divine Liturgy // Prayers for the Departed (2nd Anniversary): +Michael Petkash

* Saturday, September 30 – 7PM – Vespers (with Litiya): Protection of the Theotokos // Confessions: 6:30PM - 6:50PM

(NOTE the special 7 PM START TIME!)

* Sunday, October 1 – 9:30AM – General Confession

* Sunday, October 1 – 10AM – Divine Liturgy: Protection of the Most-Holy Theotokos (Pokrov) Holyday




* SEPTEMBER 24 THIRD HOUR: N. Domitrovic

* SEPTEMBER 24 EPISTLE: M.D. Stahoviak

* SEPTEMBER 24 COLLECTION: N. Domitrovic / P. Evans



* OCTOBER 1 COLLECTION: I. Yakich / R. Grano



*          Looking ahead … GENERAL CONFESSION will be held at 9:30 AM on October 1. Any Eucharistic participant unable to be present for the Sacrament should come to Private Confession before approaching the Holy Chalice. Individuals who have come to a Private Confession during the past 30 days are not required to also attend General Confession. This General Confession is only for the parish members who have come to Private Confession since the beginning of Great Lent 2023 - others should come to a Private Confession before communing.


*  THIS SUNDAY!  The Ambridge Senior FOCA chapter cordially invites everyone in the parish (and their guests) to the annual PARISH BREAKFAST FUND RAISER. This will take place downstairs in the church hall immediately following the Liturgy this Sunday. Please attend! (L.A.S. members should note that the L.A.S. meeting originally announced for this date will be rescheduled to follow the October 8th Liturgy.)


*          The next CHURCH SCHOOL-TEEN GROUP CLASSES are scheduled for this Sunday - September 24th - 9 AM. (The first Sunday Dialogue for the adults of the parish is scheduled in the nave of the church at 9 AM on October 8th. Please forward any topic you would like me to “tackle” in advance of that session.)


*          Many THANKS to all who made last Sunday’s visit by Sisters Michele and Sarah from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery such a wonderful day in the parish! A special “thumbs-up” to all who made donations to the monastery so generously.


*          In response to several inquiries, there are extra CONTRIBUTION ENVELOPES available now at the vestibule candle desk - - please ask a parish council member to give you a “bundle”  of the envelopes if you are using them. (These are the envelopes that have taken the place of the commercially ordered boxed envelopes beginning this year. Usage of these envelopes is not required to make your parish donations.)


*          Please forward OCTOBER SPECIAL OCCASION NAMES to me no later than Wednesday, September 27. These October birthdays and wedding anniversaries will be mentioned in prayer during the October 1 services and listed in the preceding week’s e-bulletin.


*          The next regular COFFEE HOUR is scheduled for downstairs in the church hall immediately following the October 1 Liturgy. (But we hope to see you THIS Sunday downstairs for the FOCA Parish Breakfast, too!)



Ambridge Festival of the Churches

Saturday, September 30 - 11:30 AM to 6 PM - P.J. Caul Park - 11th & Merchant Streets

How can YOU help?

  • Volunteer to work in the booth – signup sheets are in the Vestibule for 2-hour shifts.
  • Volunteer to bake – Cookies or Pies (Please DROP OFF  your baked goods at the Youth Center on Friday, September 29 between the hours of 9 am and 5 PM.
  • We need a 12-gauge extension cord for the booth (Please inform Tammy if you can provide this cord.)
  • Volunteer as Food Runners
  • Participate in the activities planned for the day!
    • Homemade Ethnic Foods provided by over 20 churches
    • Live Music!
    • Children’s Activities
      • Petting Zoo
      • Cookie Decorating
      • Pumpkin Painting
      • Pony and Train Rides
      • Face Painting

If you have any questions, please contact Tammy Needham.  This will be our only fund-raising event of 2023, so everyone’s participation is needed - whether you volunteer to help or come and enjoy the day! (Monetary donations are also appreciated! Please be sure to mark your check or monetary donation as being for the “Ambridge Festival of Churches Project.”)



A Message from the Parish Council


Recently, some members of our church brought up concerns about safety during church services. As all of us are aware, the comfort of being safe in today's world has unfortunately been diminished. We can no longer assume that we are safe when we are out in public and that includes being in church. As a result, the Church Council had a lengthy discussion on issues that we can control (and those we cannot) on Monday evening, September 18, 2023, regarding the safety of our parishioners.  We never want anyone to feel unsafe to attend a church service or event.  As Orthodox Christians who are strong in our faith, we want to ensure we turn to prayer and scripture for guidance such as, Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me".


While we understand that there have been some incidents recently in our neighborhood that have caused concern, the Council is unanimous in the decision not to lock our doors, which is also in line with many Orthodox parishes in the Ambridge area.  However, we are investing in a safety device which can quickly be put on the doors in the event of an emergency.  In addition, there will be a member of Council in the vestibule, as we always have had in the past and will continue this practice for all services where a member is present.  Please feel free to ask a member of Council, or anyone in the Parish, to walk you to your vehicle after services if needed.


In response to the incident that took place in Ambridge several blocks away from our church on August 27th, the Council is fully supportive of how Fr. Bill handled the situation and notified the parish. He was following the previously put in place protocol, by locking all doors, as well as following the advice of law enforcement.  Our main concern was safety and did not want to cause anyone to panic.  As a reminder, the only door that is ever normally unlocked are the main doors to the church.  Also, we have made changes in our church over the years to address safety concerns such as moving Vespers services earlier, so people can leave prior to the sunset (especially in the winter months), and changing Pascha services, so we are no longer outside at midnight.  We want to encourage people to come to church and to worship with us, whether you have been a member for 50 years or looking to join.


We are open to considering any suggestions that you would like to share with Fr. Bill or any member of Council.  Also, as a reminder, anyone is welcome to address the Council at any of our upcoming meetings if this is still a concern – please contact Tom Zelesnik or Fr. Bill as they construct the next Council meeting agenda when the meeting date is announced.



Fr. Bill

Monthly Newsletter - September 2023


Laity Liturgy Functions


DATE                   THIRD HOUR                EPISTLE___           COLLECTION_____

SEPTEMBER   3           T. Evansky                               (Deacon)                       I. Yakich / P. McKeown

SEPTEMBER 10           T. Zehnder                              (Deacon)                       O. Mycyk / B. Nelko

SEPTEMBER 17           N. Yakich                                 A. Lauer                         S. Yakich / T. Zelesnik

SEPTEMBER 24           N. Domitrovic                         M.D. Stahoviak               N. Domitrovic / P. Evans


^  Please notify Fr. Bill in advance if you are unable to perform your liturgical function so that a substitute can be found in an orderly manner. Please mark your calendar since we do not send individual reminders.


^ Please contact Fr. Bill if you have any questions about these ministries. New participants are encouraged as well!



Pastoral Reminders from Fr. Bill


~ We refrain from eating meat on each Wednesday and Friday during this month.


~ Thursday, September 14 is a STRICT FAST DAY (no meats or dairy products) in honor of the Holyday of “The Elevation of the Cross” which will be commemorated with Vespers (with Litiya + Procession of the Holy Cross) on September 13 (6:30 PM) and a Liturgy on the Holyday - September 14 (9:30 AM). Come to these divine services and honor the sacrifice on the Holy Cross done for our sakes by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! (Can’t come to BOTH services because of a work conflict? Come at least to one of the Holyday services!)


~ The reception of the Holy Mysteries of Private Confession and Holy Eucharist (Communion) at least annually is expected of each parish member. Let us not grow lackadaisical in dealing with our eternal salvation and our individual relationship with our Savior given in sacramental grace!


~ Eucharist participation general guideline for the parish: individuals who do not receive Holy Eucharist for three or more consecutive Sunday Liturgies should return for a Private Confession before approaching the Holy Chalice. Please contact Fr. Bill about this at any time if you have a question about your sacramental standing in the Holy Church - - these are the means of directly receiving Christ!


~ The General Confession sacrament scheduled for September 3rd - 9 AM - is only for parish members who have participated in Private Confession since the beginning of Lent 2023 – others wishing to receive Holy Communion should come to Private Confession before approaching the holy chalice. Parish members who have participated in Private Confession during the previous 30 days are not required to also attend General Confession but are encouraged to do so to grow spiritually.


~ Reminder: except for individuals required to eat or drink for diagnosed medical conditions, Eucharistic participants are expected to conduct a Eucharistic fast prior to Holy Communion. This means refraining from eating or drinking from midnight until receiving Holy Communion. The Eucharistic fast for evening Vesperal Liturgies begins following (light) lunch time until the time of the Liturgy. Children who have not come to Confession are, of course, exempt from this guideline. Question? Contact Fr. Bill any time.



^          Please forward your preferred email address to Fr. Bill if you are not receiving the parish E-BULLETINS but would like to receive them. Please note that email addresses are not shared. A limited number of copies of each week’s electronic bulletin are put in the vestibule wall pamphlet rack for those individuals wanting a paper copy with the same being true for the monthly newsletter. This e-bulletin is prepared in lieu of a Sunday paper bulletin.




No envelope, no checks, no cash?  Consider using the parish’s  Online Donations option. Go to our website under Online Giving (https://www.holyghostoca.org/onlinegiving) and make your donations today.  You even have the option to donate to the General Fund or Memorial Fund and we will add Special Projects as opportunities arise.  There is even an option to set a recurring donation so you can set it and forget it!  Please note there is a small credit card processing fee to donate online. Please contact Nicole Domitrovic or Fr. Bill if you have any questions about this on-line method of stewardship that is growing monthly is usage.


^          An updated 2023 PARISH STEWARDSHIP CONTRIBUTION REPORT was mailed during August to all parish households that completed and returned the 2023 stewardship pledge form. Please contact Administrative Secretary Patty McKeown if you did not receive this update or if you have any questions about the contents. You may also contact Tom Zelesnik or Fr. Bill with questions. You will probably recall that the parish eliminated the pre-made envelope boxes this year. The envelopes enclosed in the stewardship mailing can be used as replacements. Please contact any officer in the vestibule or Patty McKeown for additional donation envelopes at any time.


^          Here’s a reminder about the INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES PITTSBURGH COMMITTEE UKRAINIAN DINNER & PRAYER SERVICE on Sunday, September 24 at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh - - the deadline to RSVP is September 19. Please contact Zelfa – Tel: 412-417-4706 / Email: zkhalil1@live.com - for ticket info – or – contact Fr. Bill.


^          We move back to a 10 AM SUNDAY LITURGY START TIME on September 10. Also, the CHURCH SCHOOL/ TEEN GROUP CLASSES will begin that morning at 9 AM with a Prayer Service in the church followed by the first classes. Families with school-aged children will be receiving further information from Mat. Debbie soon about the complete 2023-24 class schedule.


^          Our annual PARISH BREAKFAST sponsored by the Ambridge Senior FOCA chapter will follow the September 24th Liturgy. We hope YOU – and your GUESTS - can join us for this annual fund raiser downstairs in the church hall.


^          Please make every effort to attend the September 17 Sunday Liturgy since it will be a MOST special day! TWO SISTERS from the HOLY TRANSFIGURATION MONASTERY in Ellwood City will join us for the Liturgy and then give two talks to the parish downstairs during the coffee hour about the monastery and Orthodox monasticism in general. PLEASE MARK THE DATE and STAY FOR THE PRESENTATION as we welcome the nuns back to our parish for the first time in several years!


^          The LADIES ALTAR SOCIETY MEETING previously announced to take place during September has been RESCHEDULED - - the new post-Liturgy meeting date will be October 8.


Ambridge Festival of the Churches

Saturday, September 30, 2023

P.J. Caul Park

11th & Merchant Streets

How can you help?

  • Volunteer to work in the booth – signup sheets are in the Vestibule for 2 hour shifts
  • Volunteer to bake – Cookies or Pies
  • Volunteer as Food Runners
  • Participate in the activities planned for the day!
    • Homemade Ethnic Foods provided by over 20 Churches
    • Live Music!
    • Children’s Activities
      • Petting Zoo
      • Cookie Decorating
      • Pumpkin Painting
      • Pony and Train Rides
      • Face Painting

If you have any questions, please contact Tammy Needham.  This will be our only fund-raising event of 2023, so everyone’s participation is needed - whether you volunteer to help or come and enjoy the day! (Monetary donations are also appreciated! Please be sure to mark your check or monetary donation as being for the “Ambridge Festival of Churches Project.”)


^          A reminder from Fr. Bill - - please do not hesitate to inform him when you, or someone else you know from the parish, is HOSPITALIZED for critical emergency care or for an extended stay (i.e., more than one night). It is important that the healing power of Christ is given to that believer by the priest in the Holy Sacraments of Eucharist or Holy Unction anointing. (Never under-estimate the power of our Savior!)

+ As the book of Proverbs (3.5-6) says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your path.” +

Transfiguration Monastery - Visit from Sisters Michele and Sarah

(4 images)

Church School Begins

(4 images)

Parish Picnic

(13 images)

Dormition of the Theotokos

(5 images)


Vehicle Blessing - St Elijah


Mother's Day

Lawn Sign Blessing

Parish History

Today, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Holy Ghost Orthodox Church in Ambridge, we should pause in our festivities and reflect thoughtfully on its beginnings.

Shortly after the turn of the century, many Europeans sought to escape the religious and cultural persecutions of the Austro-Hungarian rulers by sailing to America.

Approximately 14 families, including those of John Bowan Sr., Wasil Blishak, Constantine Dzubinsky, Samuel Evans Sr., Daniel Holovach, A. Kohan, Nicholas Kraynak, Theodore Kushnir, Wasil Kuhta, Wasil Towcimak, Michael Turko, and John Zawoysky, settled in the North Side and South Side of Pittsburgh, where they attended St. Alexander Nevsky and St. Michael's Orthodox Churches.

However, these pioneers soon moved on to Ambridge where employment opportunities were greater. The American Bridge Company, which erected its first plant in Ambridge in 1902, offered such security.

Although settled in Ambridge, they continued to attend church in Pittsburgh. Each Sunday morning they walked the railroad tracks, more accessible than the unpaved roads, to Leetsdale, where they boarded a train to Pittsburgh. This continued until the group established a makeshift altar in May's Hall, Third and Merchant Streets, Ambridge. There, under the guidance of the Rev. J. Sechinsky, they continued their religious devotions. A little later, services were conducted in the residence of Samuel Evans, Sr., and still later in a little shelter on a vacant lot near Third and Merchant Streets. The reverends J. Sechinsky, P. Kohanik and Nicholas Koshevich were among the early pastors.

In October of 1907, guided by Fr. Nicholas Koshevich, this determined group purchased two lots at Second and Maplewood Avenue for $1,650. With their hands, they laid the foundation of their long-awaited church. It took them two months and cost approximately $6,000 -- lots, construction and materials included. The American Bridge Co donated steel for the foundation. This contribution so overwhelmed the group that they gathered on the grounds of the American Bridge plant with their icons and glorified the donors with prayers and singing.

On November 27, 1907, the first Divine Liturgy was served in the newly built church basement. Named trustees of the fledgling church were Wasil Blishak, John Bowan Sr. Samuel Evans Sr. and Daniel Holovach. Others who contributed their services were families of Timko Romanov, Paul Romanov, Dimitri Skomsky, Theodore Lapihuska, Timko Guch, Harry Kohanik, Stephen Felk, John Evans Sr., A. Zbigley, Nicholas Kuhta, Theodore Fecik, Wasil Liseyko, Joseph Hafiez, Anton Shpak, Nicholas Kulavchik, N. Polovischak, E. Polovischak, Timko Blishko, Harry Shepella, Michael Roman, John Towcimak, Wasil Zawoysky Sr., Wasil Guch, Michael Psinka and Wasil Hritzik.

On August 21, 1911, the parish was incorporated as the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ghost. The congregation adopted as its patron, the Descent of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) upon the Apostles.

The first recorded christening was that of Nicholas Kuhta on October 27, 1907. The first marriage solemnized in the church was that of Theodore Hopta and Anna Hnath on February 8, 1908.

The parish grew steadily, and soon plans were being formulated for completion of the church. In 1912 a building committee was established. The church was completed in December 1914 at a cost of $14,000. The Rev. Andrew Ivanishin officiated at the first Divine Liturgy in the new edifice. The cornerstone, donated by Samuel Evans Sr., and the newly built church were consecrated by the Most Rev. Archbishop Alexander, assisted by Fr. Ivanishin and visiting clergy. The dream had become a reality. Just one year later, a parish home next to the new church was purchased for $5,100.

Now thoughts turned to the church interior. In 1927, led by the Rev. Damian Krehel, the church commissioned Michael Kupetz, a parishioner, to paint the murals for $2,200.

Two years later the present three bells were purchased. Metropolitan Platon blessed them.

The Great Depression ruled out further improvements until November 27, 1941, when, under the leadership of the Rev. Emilian Skuby, a new iconostas and newly renovated church interior were blessed by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin, Bishop of Pittsburgh and West Virginia. The new iconostas was designed and erected by the famous architect-artist Gennady Gordeyev.

That same year saw the outbreak of World War II, and 1950 brought with it the Korean conflict. Twelve young men of the parish were killed in those wars: Michael Chaykowsky, Edward Chumak, Peter Dudenich, Paul Durniak, John Kucer, Michael Kucer, Frank Pastrick, Steve Pastrick, Nicholas Sapovchak, Michael Sudik, George Torhan and Dimitri Wrobleski.

On November 21, 1954, a crystal chandelier was installed and dedicated to the memory of twelve young men from the parish that gave their lives to the service of their country in World War II and the Korean conflict.

In July 1974 a new parish home was purchased on Pilgrim Drive, Leet Township. The old parish home next to the church was converted into an educational center. There the church school organization, which was initiated by the Senior R Club (FROC) during the presidency of Mildred Erdelyn Mitcheil in 1947, continues to meet.

In February 1975 a fire started in the front of the church, severely damaging one corner of the interior. Fr. Vladimir Soroka and Church Council President Irene Bell led the ensuing restoration.

In 1975 The Holy Ghost Orthodox Youth Center began as a gift. The merged Russian Community Society and Russian Society of St. Michael donated the empty building at 405 Maplewood Avenue that formerly housed the Russian Community Society. A building committee was appointed, led by co-chairmen Frank Markvan and Ted Hritsko. The former building was mostly razed and a new structure erected under the guidance of architect George Ruscitto and builder Jerry Steinmetz Construction Corporation. In 1977, two years after the ownership was transferred to the congregation, the transformed building was opened as a center for both parochial events and public events. Today the Center is a hub our Annual Slavic Festival and other church related activities.

In the early 1990's, the parishioners of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Aliquippa were welcomed as members of the Holy Ghost congregation when their parish was closed.

In November 1996 the congregation undertook one of the most ambitious renovation projects since the founding of the church in 1907. Cupolas of reinforced gold fiberglass replaced the four deteriorating copper cupolas. This project was the centerpiece of a series of renovation projects that included the complete repainting of the interior of the church, enhanced internal and external lighting, and re-pointing the brick exterior of the church. All of these major projects were completed prior to the congregation's celebration of its 90th anniversary in 1997.

The congregation has just completed a 10-year capital improvements plan in time for the parish's 100th anniversary. These projects included all new iconography in the altar, including a new Platitera icon in the apse over the sanctuary, the total refurbishment of the chandelier, renovated restrooms in the church basement, new wall-to-wall carpeting, and new iconography on the proscenium arch above the iconostas.

From the original 14 families the parish has grown to over 200 adults and 30 children.

From those hard working immigrant families who formed the nucleus, to the present pastor, V. Rev. William Evansky, church council, church organizations and congregation, we are deeply indebted. To those now deceased -- May God grant them eternal rest. To those still in our midst--thank you for a job well done! God bless you and guide you in your continued efforts.

Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western PA