From Very Rev. Father R. George York ... I was born in Cleveland Ohio. My father was a Cleveland policeman and my birth was announced at the Cleveland stadium while he was directing traffic for the baseball game. Our family had changed its last name from Yourkovitch to York and became Roman Catholics from the Eastern heritage Byzantine Catholic and Russian Orthodoxy to fit into American society. I became Orthodox at age of 16 because of conviction and the spiritual counsel of Father Stephen Jula whose Parish was in the Carpatho Russian Orthodox Diocese. When I graduated from High School, I attended Christ the Savior Seminary in Johnstown to being my studies for the priesthood. I was tonsured reader by the late Bishop John Martin. After four years out of a five year program at Christ the Savior Seminary, I left and went to Cleveland State University to get my Bachelors Degree in Religion and Psychology. It was during that time that I met my future wife Mary. We were married by Father Vladimir Berzonsky in the Original Holy Trinity Church in Ohio. Mary and I moved to New York so I could attend St. Vladimir’s Seminary so I could continue my studies for the priesthood. I was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Theodosius on Bright Friday on the 40th Anniversary of St. Vladimir's Seminary Anniversary. My first parish was St. Thomas Albanian Orthodox Church in Detroit. I was Pastor at St. Thomas Church for a year and a half. I joined the Antiochian Archdiocese and was assigned as the first Pastor at the mission parish of St. Andrew of Lexington, Kentucky. Within my four years as Pastor, the mission grew from the five founding families to eighteen including many converts and over thirty children. I returned to the OCA and was assigned Pastor of Holy Resurrection Church in West Brownsville by the late Archbishop Kyrill. Shortly after that, our son Nicholas was born. When our son was two years old, Archbishop Kryrill assigned me to my current parish of the the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church in Carnegie. In addition, I became a Veteran's chaplain after having four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Heinz Community Living Center in Pittsburgh at which I work two days a week with the blessing of Metropolitan Tikhon and Archbishop Melchizedek.
Holy Virgin Parish was organized under the leadership of Fr Peter Kockanik in 1909 and the first pastor was Fr Basil Popoff. Originally the founders of the parish were members of the Ukrainian parish of SS Peter and Paul which is located on the same block. Holy Virgin parish was established by the founders because they wanted to preserve Orthodox Faith of their ancestors. The original ethnic makeup of the parish was Russian, Carpatho-Russian, and Ukrainian. Four lots with houses were purchased and one served as a church until 1920 when the present structure was built. Over the years land was acquired for a parish cemetery, and a home in the suburbs was purchased for a new rectory.
During the 70’s, under the leadership of Fr Michael Draovitch, the inside of the church was renovated with the installation of a new iconostasis and matching altar tables. Again in the mid 90’s the church and rectory were updated. The parish cemetery has a perpetual care fund and is well maintained. Also during the 90’s all the parish records were translated from Russian to English and put on computer disks by Diane Sokol and Anna Marie Sokol.
Over the years, Holy Virgin parish has become a pan-Orthodox parish, welcoming people of all backgrounds. There is a full liturgical cycle of services available and all services are in the English language. The parish family of Holy Virgin Church is open, warm, and welcoming. The various parish projects from making pierogies, kobassi and the parish picnic and various dinners involve all age groups willing to lend a hand. The pastor and congregation work together to make these fund raisers successful. In the many years since the founding of the parish the goal of not only preserving the Orthodox Faith but living it and passing it on to future generations has and is being accomplished through the grace of God.
The parish education system is geared for all ages, beginning at age 3 and up. Sunday School starts in September and runs through May. Classes are taught grade school children an hour before divine liturgy on sunday morning. Young adult classes grade 9-12 are taught by Father George on the scheduled Sunday evenings. Adult inquiry class / Bible study is taught by the Pastor as scheduled in the Fall and Winter.
The parish has a full cycle of services for various feast days throughout the Orthodox liturgical year. The parish choir is under the direction of Rebecca Danchenko and has regularly scheduled practices. Our Parish choir has made beautiful and uplifting recordings which can be purchased, if interested.
The Parish Cemetery is located in on West Manilla Avenue in Greentree Borough and bodes upon a six acre area. If you are interested in purchasing a plot or obtaining more information, please contact Rebecca Danchenko or the Parish Offices.
The St. Vladimir's Men's Club is under the leadership of Tony Lucas. The Men's club engages in various parish projects ranging from maintenance of the church to assisting at food festivals and other fun projects. Our Men's club is most famous for its homemade Kolbassi, both smoked and unsmoked of which proceed go to the parish and support other charitable causes.
Russian Food Festival
The HVROC annual Russian Food Festival has been entertaining the Carnegie community for decades. Held on the second Saturday of December, it features our Award-Winning Pirohi, home-made Kolbassi, Father George’s Mushroom Soup (family recipe), Haluski and Vodka-Roasted chickens.
Pirohi (Pierogi) Sales
Our award winning succulent Pirohi, voted #1 by the Steel Valey Pirohi cook off, are available for purchase multiple times throughout the year. Click the "View Month" button on our church calendar -here- for upcoming sales.
Created by our Men's club, this old word crafted, freshly-hand-ground pork and hand-stuffed Kolbassi is available for purchase throughout the year. Our four featured products are smoked, unsmoked, hot sausage and a unique wine/cheese sausage. Kolbassi is available for purchase multiple times throughout the year. Click the "View Month" button on our church calendar -here- for upcoming sales.
Annual Church Picnic
Come and join us at our annual church-wide picnic, typically held at the Carnegie Park -- dates TBD. Weather permitting, the event will offers a catered menu often including hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and cold beverages/bottled water. The picnic has games for kids, raffled prizes and good-old family fun. Click the "View Month" button on our church calendar -here- for details.
Pets for Vets
HVROC is a suporter of Pets for Vets which believes our country owes military veterans a debt of gratitude. Our troops have been brave but many of them have returned with physical and emotional injuries that have made it difficult to transition back to civilian life. Some estimates state that as many as 20% of returning military veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Pets for Vets is a concrete way to thank U.S. Military Veterans for their service.
St. Cyril of White Lake Food Pantry
HVROC participates in the the cooperative ministry of local Orthodox Churches dedicated to meeting the emergency needs of the poor of our community. We welcome and encourage the support of the food pantry through food donations, monetary donations and through your holy prayers. We especially welcome volunteers who would like to donate their time to help their brothers and sisters in need. For information, please call: 412-431-6428