During the first decade of the twentieth century, immigrants from Carpatho-Ruthenia, a small portion of the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire, began to settle in the Oakland section of the City of Pittsburgh. Leaving their Carpathian homeland in Central Europe, these pioneer Ruthenian immigrants were lured to Pittsburgh’s emerging steel mills by the promise of economic advancement.
Encouraged by Father John M. Szabo, they formed a committee in June of 1907 to discuss organizing a parish. Within one week, a vacant church building was obtained on the corner of Bates and Atwood Streets. The parish was named in honor of the Most Holy Spirit, and Father Szabo celebrated the first Divine Liturgy in this new House of God.
In January of 1908, Reverend Dr. Theodosius M. Vasochik, who had received a Doctoral Degree in Sacred Theology from the University of Budapest, became the pastor of Holy Spirit Church. He served the parish for 43 years until his death in September of 1950.
In July of 1952, Bishop Daniel Ivancho assigned Father Michael Hrebin as pastor, and under his guidance, property was purchased on Fifth Avenue for a new parochial edifice. Then in 1959, Father John M. Volosin was appointed pastor, and ground was broken on October 23, 1960 for the new parish complex. The present edifice was dedicated by Bishop Nicholas T. Elko on May 6, 1962.
In March of 1970, Metropolitan Archbishop Stephen J. Kocisko assigned Monsignor John M. Macko to tend the parish. He served until his retirement in August 1992. During his 22-year tenure, the present rectory was constructed, and funds were amassed to provide for the parish’s future financial welfare.
On June 15, 1995, Metropolitan Archbishop Judson M. Procyk called upon Monsignor Russell A. Duker to assume the pastorate. He presently serves as the eleventh pastor of Holy Spirit Parish.
Inasmuch as Holy Spirit Church is located in the academic and medical centers of the City of Pittsburgh, and because of its large seating capacity, the church has served as the site of many Archieparchial events. They include Ordinations to the Holy Presbyterate, the Solemn Investiture of Papal Honorees, the Installation of Bishop Stephen J. Kocisko as the fourth Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Installation of Archbishop Stephen J. Kocisko as the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh, the episcopal ordination of Bishop John M. Bilock as the second Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Fortieth and Fiftieth Jubilee Celebrations for Archbishop Stephen J. Kocisko, and the funeral of Metropolitan Archbishop Thomas V. Dolinay.
Holy Spirit parishioners joyfully celebrated their 100th anniversary of founding in 2007 with a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving and gala banquet. Throughout these ten decades of parish life, Holy Spirit Church has administered faithfully to the spiritual needs of the Byzantine Catholic people in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.