Saint John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church Mingo Junction, OH

Contact Details

Address

Saint John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church

207 Standard Avenue

Mingo Junction, OH. 43938 Get Directions

History

The Byzantine Catholic community of St. John the Baptist traces its roots to the immigrant-filled days at the turn of the 20th century. The expanding steel-making facilities and coal fields in and around Mingo Junction attracted many Rusyn people. They settled there and soon wanted to establish a parish for worship. In 1923 a small group of these immigrants became the nucleus of St. John’s parish. In the early days, the community was served by the Byzantine Catholic priest from St. Joseph Church in Toronto, Ohio. At first they celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the old St. Agnes School. Shortly afterwards, several houses were bought on McLister Avenue. They were used until 1927, when the present St. John the Baptist Church was built. The cornerstone was laid and blessed by Bishop Basil Takach and the church was dedicated in 1928. The parish continued to be administered by the priest from the Toronto parish with services once a month. An appeal was made to expand the ministry to better serve the needs of the people. The church subsequently was made a mission parish of St. Mary Church in Weirton, W.Va., and Divine Liturgy was celebrated weekly. As the years passed, the people continued to hope for a resident priest of their own. In 1958, an opportunity to acquire a rectory was realized. Many houses in the path of the relocated Route 7 were put up for sale; they were to be moved or torn down. One of the houses close to the church was purchased from the State of Ohio, and the parish moved it to a lot adjoining the church property. The rectory was repurposed for dwelling by a priest. The happy day came on May 5, 1961 when Father Charles Kofile was assigned as resident pastor. Since that time, many improvements have been made. The exterior of the church took on a new look in 1962 when the entrance was renovated, adjoining the rectory to the church. The interior again was renovated and redecorated in 1965. In 2010, under the guidance of Reverend James Atkins, the interior of St. John Church was repainted and redecorated. An antique chandelier was installed and an iconostasis (icon screen) with proper Byzantine style icons now stands between the nave and the altar. The foundations of St. John Church were laid with sacrifices and the parish endured numerous hardships by remaining faithful to their God and to their Church. Many priests have had the opportunity to serve the people of St. John since 1923. Each brought his own particular gifts and each shared both sorrows and joys with the people. In turn, each departed his Mingo Junction assignment, taking with him the Christian love of the people of St. John’s.