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The Original Christian Church
The one, undivided Church is said to have begun on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ. Already by the 4th century the term "Orthodox Christian" was used to designate those Christians who remained faithful to the totality of the teaching of Jesus Christ and the apostles, as opposed to those who were known as "heretics" who promoted false doctrines and beliefs. (The term "orthodox" means "correct believing" or "correct, true glory.")
Due to a variety of complex circumstances, the Western church, known today as the "Roman Catholic Church," split from the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch in the 11th century. Roman Catholics, however, see it from the opposite perspective, namely that the Orthodox Church broke communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
We Orthodox believe that we are the continuation of the ancient Orthodox Christian Church, that we trace our history back to Christ and the apostles, and that the Church was "formally" established on the day of Pentecost. The Roman Catholic Church placed itself outside of this fellowship when it broke off communion with us in the 11th century.
The Orthodox Church is an Eastern Church in the sense that, at least humanly speaking, it is the product of Middle Eastern, Hellenic and Slavic history and culture. In a word, the Orthodox Church has a historical and spiritual development worked out in almost total isolation from the Christian Churches of Western Europe and America, namely the Roman Catholics and the Reformed Protestant Churches.
The formal break between the Christian East and West cannot be easily pinpointed. It may be put formally in the 11th or 12th centuries. However from as early as the 4th century the Christians of the East were already living with very little contact with the Christians of the West.
The Liturgy of the Orthodox Church as celebrated today developed within those centuries when the East was already in a certain isolation from the West. The Liturgy stands at the center of the church's life and bears witness to the central experience of the Orthodox Faith, namely that man is created for communion with God in the everlasting life of His Kingdom.
History of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Parish, Mogadore, Ohio
For the most part, the Slavic immigrants who came to settle in East Akron, Ohio were from the region of Galicia and Uhor-Russia. They brought with them the customs and religion of the “old country,” where both Orthodox Christian and Uniat (Byzantine Catholic) faiths were practiced, with many people unaware of any significant difference between the two faiths.
In East Akron, the Galician immigrants formed a parish on Ackley Street, but eventually differences of opinion about the status of the parish—Orthodox or Uniat—led to the courts for judgment. In 1917, the parish was ruled to be under Uniat jurisdiction, and the Orthodox Christians found themselves without a parish.
This small, but zealous group of Orthodox Christians decided to form an Orthodox parish. The nucleus of this group was members of the St. Nicholas Russian Brotherhood, which was organized in Akron in 1914. At a parish meeting on March 4, 1917, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was chosen as the patron saint and heavenly protector of the parish. Services were held in parishioners’ homes while plans were being finalized for the construction of a church.
Through much saving and sacrifice, this small group constructed a church on Robert Street. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the new parish in the fall of 1917. It was the center of activity for the Russian Orthodox community.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the parish continued to expand rapidly and thoughts turned toward constructing a new church to meet the demands of this growing community. In 1946, property was purchased on the corner of Sylvan and Pardee Avenues, ground was broken in 1950, and in May 1952 the new church was consecrated and the first services held.
In November 1963, a new iconostas (icon screen) was completed—the same iconostas that stands in our church today.
By 1964, the parish began to see the need for continued progress, and decided to think seriously about constructing a recreation and school building. Because adequate property could not be found in the city, and because many parishioners were moving into the Akron suburbs, the parish purchased the Mogadore property in 1974 for the new parish complex.
The rectory was completed in 1977 and the social hall in 1979. Ground was broken for the new church in April 1983 and the first Divine Liturgy was held in the new building on January 29, 1984. The new church was consecrated on May 6, 1984.
Those priests who have so faithfully served and fortified our community over the past 92 years are:
- Fr. John Hordoshinsky (Feb. 1917-July 1919)
- Fr. Andrew Sura (Aug. 1919-Mar. 1920)
- Fr. Isidore Salko (Apr. 1920-Feb. 1921)
- Fr. Nicholas Koshevich (Feb. 1921-Sept. 1921)
- Fr. Michael Kostyk (Sept. 1921-Feb. 1923)
- Fr. Joseph Varhol (Feb. 1923-May 1923)
- Fr. Nicholas Borisov (May 1923-July 1923)
- Fr. Roman Katchmarsky (July 1923-May 1924)
- Fr. Athanasy Hubiak (May 1924-Dec. 1926)
- Fr. Elias Barna (Jan. 1927-June 1927)
- Fr. Stephen Sapaida (June 1927-May 1928)
- Fr. Nicholas Lizak ( May 1928-Feb. 1929)
- Fr. Dzendzera (Apr. 1929-May 1929)
- Fr. Athanasy Hubiak (June 1929-Apr. 1945)
- Fr. Peter Rozdelsky (Apr. 1945-Dec. 1960)
- Fr. Michael Rusynik (1961)
- Fr. Gregory Matveychuk (1961)
- Fr. John Mason (June 1961-Aug. 1986)
- Fr. T. Stephen Kopestonsky (Aug. 1986-May 2004)
On July 1, 2004, Fr. Nicholas Wyslutsky was assigned as the spiritual father of St. Nicholas Church.
Much has changed since 1917. A mere handful of Russian immigrants has grown into a thriving community of all ethnic backgrounds dedicated to Christ. What has remained unchanged is our dedication to Orthodoxy and to the mission of our founding fathers and the Apostles over two millennia ago—to spread the Word of God and to bring the world to Orthodoxy.
Come and See — You’re Invited! You’re invited to come and see what the Orthodox religion is all about.
Regularly Scheduled Services:
- Saturdays--Vespers 5:00 p.m.
- Year-round Sundays--Church School and Adult Class 8:55 a.m. (September through May)
- Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m. (September through May); 9:30 a.m. (June through August)
Our rector, Rev. Nicholas Wyslutsky, can be reached at 330-628-1333.
Inside the Church:
Church Tours - Knowledgeable parishioners will lead guided tours of our beautiful church and will answer your questions about Orthodoxy and St. Nicholas Church throughout the Festival. The Book Store presents literature to further enlighten you in the teachings and practices of the Orthodox Christian faith. Many authors and volumes are offered for sale.