- Website: http://www.gcuusa.com/snc.htm
Father William Rupp
Contact: SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary
5400 Tuscarawas RoadBeaver, PA. 15009 Get Directions
Father St. Nicholas Chapel was built in 1992, when the Greek Catholic Union of the USA, the largest fraternal benefit society serving Byzantine (Greek) Catholics, observed the centennial anniversary of its founding. For several decades GCU members had discussed building a wooden church similar to those classic structures at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Central Europe. This was the region from which GCU’s founders and most of the early Greek (Byzantine) Catholics came to America.
Over 120 wooden churches were studied from an eight-county region of what formerly was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Studies of the immigration patterns of the earliest GCU members then determined what style would be constructed.
St. Nicholas Chapel is tri-partite, with three adjoining rectangles, each having a domed tower. This particular style was popular in the former counties of Šariš and Zemplyn of what was then known as SubCarpathian Rus’, today part of Slovakia. St. Nicholas Chapel is patterned after three churches in Subcarpathian Rus’: the tower from the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Mikulasova (former Šariš County) and later relocated to the open air museum in Bardejov; the center section from the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Nova Sedlica (former Zemplyn County); and the altar area from the Church of St. Nicholas in Zboj (former Zemplyn County). Unique to the chapel are ten icons on the side walls, each depicting scenes from the life of St. Nicholas.
In 1995 Metropolitan Archbishop Judson M. Procyk designated St. Nicholas Chapel as a parish of the Archeparchy, appointing Very Rev. Archpriest John G. Petro as pastor. A small but enthusiastic community developed immediately. In addition to the registered parishioners, St. Nicholas Chapel attracts visitors from near and far. GCU district and lodge groups often combine worship at the Chapel with a visit to the GCU’s Seven Oaks Country Club located within the GCU complex. Others choose to attend the Divine Liturgy at the chapel for the peace of its prayerful decor.
Located on the lower level of the chapel is a museum which contains interesting artifacts from GCU, the Byzantine Catholic Church and Carpatho-Rusyn history.