History of Sts Peter and Paul Church

In 1924 Rev. Mr. John Rommack was sent to Warren, OH by Bishop Basil Takach to see if there were enough Byzantine Catholic families to establish a parish in the area.  Through his zealous efforts, SS. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church was founded January 7, 1925, with a membership o f approximately thirty families.  The first resident pastor was Rev. Peter Molchany.

On November 30, 1926, the old Central School, on School and Prospect Streets, was purchased and converted into the first church for SS. Peter and Paul parishioners.

In October, 1935, Rev. John Stim assumed the duties of pastor.  During his ten years of service, the church debt was liquidated and a rectory and land to be used as a cemetery were purchased.

On August 26, 1945, Rev. Sylvester Hladky became the pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church.  At that time the parish membership was 37 families.  The desire for a new church emerged, and prime property at the corner of East Market Street and Belvedere Avenue, NE, was purchased.  The tract of land was sufficient to accommodate the church proper, a rectory and a parking lot.  An added two-acre tract of land was purchased on Belvedere Avenue to be used as the proposed site for a school.

On May 1, 1950, ground-breaking for the church took place.  The parishioners attended their first Divine Liturgy in the new church on December 18, 1951, after the blessing of the cornerstone.  The blessing and dedication of the new church was held on June 29, 1952, the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul.

An increase of  employment in the Warren area also brought an increase in church membership.  The parish consisted primarily of young families and their children.   The need for a school was becoming evident.  In 1954 a home, located on the corner of Willard and East Market Street was purchased for use as a Convent for Sisters.  The Benedictine Sisters arrived in August of 1955 to staff the school.  The children were taught at the Convent for two years.  A new school building was ready to receive its 72 student enrollment with the opening of the 1957-58 school year.

In the 26 classroom modern facility, classes were held for students from preschool and K thru eighth grades.  At the peak of its existence, the school had doubles of each grade with an average class size of 40 children.  For almost 50 years, SS. Peter and Paul School has served their parishioners and the people of the local community with top notch education.  A religious education program was also provided for children attending public schools.

In 1990 a home for independent living for senior citizens was built next to the church.  The Infant of Prague Manor, an apartment building with 46 single and two bedroom apartments, is available for senior citizen occupancy by parishioners and others.  The Manor is currently at full capacity and has a waiting list for future occupants.

The parishioners of SS. Peter and Paul are very proud of their accomplishments from their humble beginnings.

In April of 2004, Father Robert Karl succeeded Msgr. Hladky as the pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church.  The school had been suffering a steady decline in enrollment for quite a few years.  Due to unsustainable enrollment, the school was closed at the end of the 2005 school year.  Funds obtained from the sale of the school enabled the parish to pay for the extensive repairs and renovations needed at the church.  The renovations included a Social Hall, and a complete Byzantine style redecorating of the church interior, including an Icon Screen.  But most importantly, Father Bob brought about a revitalization and unity within the parishioners themselves, and that created a real family atmosphere that still prevails. 

The year 2010 brought yet another change to SS. Peter and Paul Church with the arrival of Rev. Andrew Deskevich.  Father Andrew completed many projects begun by Father Bob and completed the rectory and parking lot renovations.  Father Andrew worked well with the parishioners, and continued to build a family unity.  He was also instrumental in instituting the parish use of social media.  Being a talented and gifted individual, Father Andrew was soon recognized by the Archeparchy and given additional responsibilities within the Metropolia.  This eventually led to his transfer to the Pittsburgh area to be closer to assignments at the Chancery Offices.

On October 22, 2015, we were blessed with the arrival of our present pastor, Rev. Simeon Sibenik.  Father Simeon continues to grace us with his gifts, especially his beautiful and very prayerful Liturgical Services.  Through his leadership, we will continue to grow and advance in our walk with the Lord as a parish family.

 

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