Saint Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church Youngstown, OH

Contact Details

Address

Saint Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church

1898 Wilson Avenue

Youngstown, OH. 44506 Get Directions

History

For Byzantine Catholics in the eastern suburbs of Youngstown, the only church was clear across town. St Mary’s in Steelton (west side) had been in existence for over ten years, and the idea of a new parish in Haselton (an east end neighborhood originally named after the Haseltine family, who owned land in the area) had been gaining momentum. Many experienced the hardships of attending a parish so far away with the street car being the only mode of public transportation. Fares for the whole family were prohibitive. Many families walked miles to St. Mary’s and back on a Sunday morning because they could not afford the fare. A group of nineteen men led by Father Alexius Medvecky, pastor of St. Mary’s, met with the idea of organizing a parish of their own in Haselton. First a social function was held, netting a total of $60 for the new church building fund. The enthusiasm and goodwill resulting from this first gathering led to the organization of the new parish on January 7, 1912. The first pastor of St. Nicholas Church was Father Alexander Kossey. The founders quickly negotiated the purchase of an old church building from a Swedish congregation located at 1886 Wilson Avenue. Not long afterwards, the steadily increasing membership of the parish necessitated the building of an addition to the church in 1914. Even though his pastorate spanned only two years, Father Alexander is remembered for enlarging the old church and for acquiring the cemetery on Hyatt Street in Campbell, then known as East Youngstown. In 1914, Father Alexander Papp was appointed pastor of St. Nicholas. During his pastorate, the young parish continued to grow. In 1918, the need for a new and much larger church became apparent. With a new church in mind, the parish purchased the Haseltine estate for $15,000. With youthful vigor Father Papp began making plans for the new church, envisioning a magnificent structure patterned after the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross in UĆŸhorod, Subcarpathia-Rus’. In 1919, the new church arose in splendor on the corner lot; the Haseltine home is still used as the parish rectory. In 1937, the parish acquired 11 acres of wooded land in Youngstown’s Lansingville section, which was developed into a picnic area and now is generally known as Shady Run Grove. The late Father John Rommack made no secret that he had always looked forward to having a parochial school at St. Nicholas. In 1952 the Oles estate on Youngstown-Poland Road was purchased for $75,000 by the combined efforts and resources of all five Youngstown area parishes. The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate accepted an invitation to Youngstown, and by May 1953 the Byzantine Catholic Central School was well underway. The school continued to serve the needs of Byzantine Catholic youth and families in the greater Youngstown area until its closing in 2009. St. Nicholas parish has since its inception transformed from a nationality parish to a cosmopolitan parish, attended regularly by a great number of Eastern Catholic Christians from various ethnic backgrounds.