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Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church

Monongahela

Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church

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Location Details

PHONE: 724-483-8622
ADDRESS: 828 Meadow Ave.
Charleroi, PA 15022
HOURS: Phone Ahead

Description

It has been said that entering Holy Ghost Church is like walking into an icon. Every surface - the walls, the ceiling, the arches, the icon screen, the altar - is covered with bright, colorful images. The premise, based on St. John Chrysostom's assertion, is simple: the house of God must be the happiest place under the heavens, and whatever meets the eye should call the viewer to the contemplation of God.

However, the process of funding and then developing, designing, and painting 250 icons was decidedly more complicated. At the time, the late 1980s, the region was in the midst of a serious economic decline. The once-thriving glass, coal, and steel industries were not only cutting their payrolls, but in many cases were shutting down.

As young people began moving out of the Mon Valley in search of jobs, they left behind aging, struggling communities. Originally built in 1899 with the financial and spiritual support of eastern European immigrants, the Holy Ghost parish also was struggling. But instead of giving in to hopelessness, the congregation found strength and purpose in a renovation project that took more than two years.

Iconographer Mila Mina was called upon to bring visions of the Pantocrator (a traditional portrayal of Christ), the Icon of the Sign, and a host of saints and Biblical scenes to life. The job proved to be bigger than any one person could handle, so a staff of volunteers moved the pews, built the scaffolding, hoisted the buckets of supplies, and helped with painting and mounting the icons. One of those volunteers was Judy Lauderbaugh. Now an iconographer in her own right and still a member of the Holy Ghost Church, Lauderbaugh has contributed angels and curtain borders to the massive canvas.

It is a joyful sight to behold.

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