Patronage of the Theotokos

The Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary Byzantine Catholic Church was unofficially founded in 1921 in the old Marsh General Store on the corner of Pike and Church Street, Herminie, Pennsylvania.

The first priest was Reverend Stephen Loya. It was incorporated on June 20th 1923. The original by-laws state that this Church is founded according to the faith, doctrine, discipline and usages of the Rusyn Greek Catholic Church.” The parish was officially embraced in the Pittsburgh Eparchy of the Rusyn Greek (not ethnic Greek, but Byzantine Rite) Catholic Church in December of 1923.

In April of 1930 the congregation purchased the present church building on Second Street from the Clover Land Company who had previously leased the property to St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church who built the present structure in 1912. In 1930, the founding Pastor Reverend Stephen Loya was reassigned as the first pastor to the church at its present location on 7 Second Street. The Trustees who certified the reincorporation of the Constitution and Statutes were: Charles Krydick - President, and Trustees: John Petros, Michael Havey, Paul Moner, John Dodney, and Frank Stiney.

The official church seal dates 1923 and uses the Carpatho- Rusyn - Slavonic language, in the Cyrillic alphabet, to state the following: "Pokrov Presvjata Bohorodica Djivy Mariji, Greko-Katoličeski Cerkov.”

Literally this translates as: Patronage (or Protection) of the Most Holy God-Bearer (or Mother of God) Virgin Mary, Greek Catholic Church.

The original Cyrillic text reads as such: Покров Ресвяата Вогородіца Діва Марй Ґреко-католйцескі церков

This church practices the Eastern Christian faith developed from the teachings of Jesus Christ, His Apostles, and sainted liturgical fathers such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great, who among others, labored to enlighten and save souls in the times of the Byzantine Empire from the 6th to the 13th century. The empire included much of Asia Minor and parts of southeast Europe. The “Greek” Rite of the Byzantine Empire was administered from the city of Byzantium later changed to Constantinople.

Evangelists and Saints Cyril and Methodius brought Byzantine Christianity to the Carpathian Rusyn area in 863. The year 1963 marked 1100 years of Byzantine Christianity.

In Eastern Europe, our mother eparchy is the Eparchy of Mukačevo. It is in and around the Carpathian mountain area, originally found in the countries known today, in 2016, as (Transcarpathian) Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. In these countries Carpatho-Rusins or Rusyns are a minority.

Here in Herminie Pennsylvania, in the 1920s, the founders of the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary Byzantine Catholic Church came from the Carpatho-Rus inhabited lands of the former Austro- Hungarian Empire, and from areas known as Podkarpatska Rus', Prjashevshchina, Lemkovina, Galicia, and the Batčka region of the Former Yugoslavia.

Names of founders: