Thursday, January 13, 2011

St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church

St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church is located in the historical Cambria City district of Johnstown, an ethnically-rich working class neighborhood noted for its churches. The original wooden St. Mary’s was founded by Reverend Hilarian Dzubay on October 7, 1895 as a Byzantine Catholic Church primarily for Ruthenians (Carpatho-Rusyns, or eastern Slavs). A larger brick church was built in 1901 to accommodate the growing congregation. Planning for a new church began in 1918, with the Pittsburgh church architect John T. Comes selected to design the building large enough to seat 900 people, and was modeled after the Hagia Sofia in Constantinople. The cornerstone was laid on July 5, 1926, and the new church was dedicated on November 30, 1922.

St. Mary’s has a unique Byzantine revival design, elaborately decorated, with a Greek cross floor plan with equal sides. The physical elements that make this building stand out are its domes, which are characteristic of Byzantine revival design; there are two domes on either side of the entrance and a larger dome in the center of the church. Each dome has a lantern on top of it. Arches also flank the entrance. The brick on the exterior of the church has intricate patterns. The capitals have floral ornamentation and the towers have porthole openings. The roof is tiled and the building has inset tiles. Upon entrance to the building there are large vaulted ceilings. The windows are round-arched and circle the dome, which gives a magical appearance when the sun is shining through.

Name: St.Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church
Location: 411 Power Street Johnstown, PA
Religious Affiliation: Greek Catholic
Date of Construction: 1920-22
Architect: John T. Comes (Pittsburgh, PA)
Building Style: Byzantine Revival
Plan Type: domed Greek cross
Primary Materials: Brick, stone
Status: Active

ExplorePA History website about Cambria City
Church website
Brief history on Pittsburgh Catholic Acheparchy website

researched by Cacie Jo Wrye

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