Bishop Lach helps St. Mary in Marblehead to celebrate 125th year

Oct 12, 2022 | Around Ottawa County, Featured | 0 comments

The iconic St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church is perched on the Lake Erie shoreline in Marblehead next to the 200-year-old Marblehead Lighthouse. (Photo by D’Arcy Patrick Egan)

St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Marblehead will celebrate its 125th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 16, beginning with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 3:30 p.m. with Bishop Milan Lach, SJ celebrating.

That will be followed by a banquet in the church social hall. Former pastors participating will be Fathers Bryan Eyman, Dennis Hrubiak, Robert Kelly and Andrew Nagrant as well as Father Joseph Repko, pastor since July 1.

St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church is located at 505 E. Main St., adjacent to the historic Marblehead Lighthouse. For more information, contact Father Repko at (419) 967-7398, frrepko@ameritech.net or visit www.stmarymarblehead.com.

St. Mary Marblehead is the oldest Ruthenian parish in the Eparchy of Parma. Ruthenians are immigrants from the Carpathian Mountains in what is now Eastern Slovakia, Western Ukraine and Southeast Poland — the homeland of many peninsula residents.

Founders of the church were named Boytim, Dziak, Gulick, Hitraly, Juby and Sotak. Many of their relatives still live in the close-knit area and attend St. Mary Church. These founders worked in the local stone quarry, which was the primary reason for settling in Marblehead.

It was 125 years ago that this new country gave them freedom and the opportunity to earn a decent living.

While the church was founded in 1897, it has had three locations. The original church on Alexander Pike was destroyed by fire and rebuilt on Main Street in 1904. This little white wooden church, with the adjoining cemetery and rectory, served the parish for over 70 years. The first Divine Liturgy at the current location was celebrated on Christmas Eve 1976  by Father Frank Korba. It was dedicated in 1977 by Bishop Emil Mihalik. In 1983, ground was broken for a new social hall, which was dedicated in 1985.

The 125th anniversary celebration is a milestone and a new beginning for St. Mary Marblehead!

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