528 North 4th Street
Every Sunday 10:00am
History of Holy Resurrection of Steubenville
Holy Resurrection Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church was founded in Mingo Junction,
Ohio in 1906 by Serbian Orthodox Christians who began to arrive in the Upper Ohio
Valley in the 1890ís. These immigrants came chiefly from what was then the Austro-
Hungarian Empire, and what are now the areas of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, and
belonged to the Serbian jurisdiction of the ancient and world-wide Orthodox Christian
Church. They came to escape ethnic and religious persecution and to earn a better life
in a free land. Although some were businessmen, most took up employment in the areaís
steel mills and coal mines.
These immigrants felt a deep need for a place to worship Christ as they were
accustomed, in a language they understood. Organizing in 1906, they formed a
congregation and purchased a church building in Mingo Junction from the Methodist
Church. They adapted this building for Orthodox worship and it was consecrated in honor
of the Resurrection of Christ with great joy in November of that year.
Large numbers of Serbian Orthodox Christians continued to immigrate to the area until
shortly after World War I. They settled into family and community life, and began to raise
their children as Americans of Serbian descent.
By 1941 the Mingo steel mill was interested in expanding, and the old church was sold to
Wheeling Steel Corporation. Employment and housing patterns had changed, and
Steubenville became a more central location for parishioners to attend church. Several
lots were obtained on the southeast corner of North Fourth and Clinton Streets, and a
former funeral home on the property was used as a parish home and chapel until World
War II ended. With the end of the war and the return of many of the young men of the
congregation from the military, plans progressed for the building of a new church. A
design was settled on which evoked memories of a famous medieval Serbian Orthodox
monastery called Visoki Decani in Kosovo, the heartland of Serbian history and culture,
and construction began in 1947. The white Indiana limestone structure was dedicated on
June 6, 1948. Serving at the consecration was the great exiled Bishop of Zica, Dr.
Nicholai (Velimirovich), who was glorified as a saint of the Orthodox Church in 2003. As
the baby boom began the parish established a religious education program as well.
In 1957 a new parish home and church kitchen facility was built next to the church, and in
1967 the Churchís Steubenville facilities were completed with the building of a spacious
two-story structure to house the church school classes, offices and a parish library.
The parish was not yet finished with providing facilities for its members, however. A
favorite parish activity in the summer was and is picnics, and in 1949 over 20 acres were
purchased on Kingís Creek in neighboring Weirton, West Virginia to be developed for
this purpose. The Serbian Orthodox Picnic Grounds on Kingís Creek is now recognized
as the finest facility of its type in the area. One of the main social events of the parish is
the annual Church Picnic, held near the end of July, which attracts well over a thousand
people and is a kind of annual parish reunion for present members as well as former
members who have moved to other areas of the country.
A need was also felt for the parish to have a larger and more suitable facility for its social
and youth activities. Over 6 acres was purchased on Colliers Way in neighboring Weirton
in 1987, near the Weirton Medical Center, and after years of planning ground was
broken in 1996 for the $2 million Serbian-American Cultural Center. The well-appointed
Center, which includes an elegant ballroom for banquets and receptions, a large,
attractive multi-purpose room for banquets, sports and other events, a lounge and other
amenities can accommodate anything from small groups to over 1,000 people in the two
main rooms, and has become the area's premier facility for meetings, receptions, shows
and fine dining. One of its goals is to present the history and culture of the Serbian
Orthodox people to the greater community.
Today Holy Resurrection Church serves about 300 families. Most parishioners are
concentrated in Steubenville, Wintersville and Mingo Junction, Ohio and in nearby
Weirton, West Virginia, along the Ohio River about 45 miles west of Pittsburgh, but a
good percentage of the parish resides throughout the tri-state area. While most of the
membership is of Serbian ethnic background, many are of other heritages, and nearly all
are born and raised in America. English is now the primary language, but the basic
mission of the congregation remains unchanged: to worship God in Trinity in the
Orthodox manner, to foster the Orthodox Christian faith in its members, and to provide
educational and fellowship opportunities for its members.
Holy Resurrection also strives to maintain the beautiful culture, customs and traditions of
the Serbian people in a living way in its members.
In many ways the congregation is an extended church family, with a full range of spiritual,
cultural, educational and social activities. Parish organizations include two womenís
service groups (Sveta Petka Kolo of Steubenville-Mingo Junction and Vidovdan Kolo of
Weirton), the Serbian Orthodox Menís Club, the 4 C-erís parents' group dedicated to
helping the church school, the accomplished and widely-traveled Petar Krstich church
choir long under the musical direction Slobodan Zelich, a junior choir, the Holy
Resurrection Tamburitzans who perpetuate Serbian music and dance, and an
educational program for children and adults. The congregation also attempts to put its
Christian faith into practice through humanitarian activities both locally and globally.
Today the people of Holy Resurrection are found in every walk of life throughout the
Upper Ohio Valley. Just as they contribute in many ways to the community at large, so
also their church strives to enrich and assist the greater community, sharing the ancient
Orthodox faith, and touching people's lives by putting the love of Christ into practice.