Church celebrates 80th anniversary
Mercury Staff Report
UPPER POTTSGROVE, PA - The 80th anniversary of Holy Trinity Orthodox
Church, Mervine and Juniper streets, was celebrated June 22 when
former pastors and their families returned to the parish for a
special worship service and banquet.
The Right Rev. Tikhon, bishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia and
Eastern Pennsylvania, will be main celebrant of a hierarchical Divine
Liturgy, beginning at 9:30 a.m. He will be joined by the parish
rector, Archpriest S. David Mahaffey Jr., and by Protodeacon Peter Skoog.
The parish choir directed by reader Jon Black will sing all responses
Bishop Tikhon will be greeted at the church with a traditional
bouquet of roses and with bread. The service will begin with Vesting
of the Bishop upon his arrival at 9 a.m.
State Rep. Thomas Quigley will be among special guests for the Divine
Liturgy and for a banquet following the worship service at Lakeside
Founded by people from the Russian Orthodox tradition, the parish
currently is composed of Americans from various ethnic backgrounds as
well as converts to Orthodoxy.
All services are chanted in English, with choir responses sung a
capella in a variety of musical chants from Orthodox traditions,
including Russian and Byzantine compositions.
Holy Trinity is well known throughout the Pottstown community for its
annual fall bazaar and its many ethnic food sales. The gold domes
atop the church dominate the skyline of Pottstown's North End. A
mosaic icon of the Holy Trinity in the style of famed Russian
iconographer Andrei Rublev can be seen on the front edifice of the church.
In March of 1928, the fledgling Holy Trinity parish celebrated its
first Divine Liturgy in the home of one of the families who sought to
establish a house of worship in the Pottstown community. Worship for
this small group formerly required travel to Philadelphia, Reading or Chester.
By June 19 the parish was assigned its first pastor, the Rev.
Nicholas Kovalchukoff, and just six months later, on Dec. 15, 1928,
the first service was conducted in a newly constructed church at
Lincoln and Hale streets.
Within just a year, worshippers had organized a parish, erected a
building, had it consecrated and secured a permanent pastor.
When larger quarters were required in 1979, the parish purchased a
building at the current site. Significant alteration was required to
make the structure suitable for the needs of an Orthodox church.
The parish commissioned iconographer Vladimir Krassovsky to provide
the icons on the solid wood hand-carved iconostasis (Greek for icon
stand) in the church interior. In Orthodox tradition, icons of
Christ, the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) and certain saints have
designated places on the iconostasis.
Mahaffey, the current rector of Holy Trinity, said the anniversary
service provides a good opportunity to visit the church and
experience Holy Orthodoxy. "Any time you have a visit by your local
bishop," he said, "you really have the fullness of the faith for all
Christians. We look forward to celebrating this joyous occasion with