Historical Society dedicates marker at Holy Assumption

Mar 22, 2023 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

The Very Reverend Archpriest Andrew Bartek, the former pastor of Holy Assumption Orthodox Church in Marblehead, officiates at The Blessing of Lake Erie, an early spring ceremony. (Photo by D’Arcy Patrick Egan)

Immigrants from Eastern Europe who settled on the Marblehead Peninsula in Ottawa County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries will be recognized with an Ohio Historical Marker placed next to their Holy Assumption Orthodox Church at 110 East Main Street in downtown Marblehead.

Ottawa County Historical Society officials will dedicate the Holy Assumption Orthodox Church and County Immigrants marker at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 1.

The designation recognizes contributions of Carpatho-Russian immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire who immigrated to the area and found work in the limestone quarries in Marblehead and on nearby Kelleys Island. It is the twenty-first Ottawa County Ohio Historical marker and puts Holy Assumption Church on the map of historical designations in the county. The parish was founded in 1898, and the current temple is known locally as “the little stone church.”

The public is invited to the ceremony, as well as a church tour and open house with refreshments in the church hall that will follow.

Taking part in the dedication program will be President Patrick O’Keeffe of the Ottawa County Historical Society; Laura Russell of the Ohio History Connection/Ohio Historical Marker Program; Archpriest John Adamcio, supply priest at Holy Assumption/Church History; and Kristina Smith of Port Clinton’s St. John Episcopal Lutheran Church and Historian of Immigrants of Ottawa County.

The current building was constructed in 1905-1906 and is the oldest Orthodox church building in Ohio. It is a parish of the Orthodox Church in America, one of a number of self-governing Orthodox Christian Churches in the world.

When the congregation planned to build a new church, a parishioner wrote to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia asking for help. He received a personal letter along with the four main icons that still adorn the icon screen at Holy Assumption, a chalice and communion set, and financial assistance. In 1906 Archbishop Tikhon of the Russian Orthodox Church in America consecrated the new church and served the first Divine Liturgy.

In 1918, Tsar Nicholas was killed along with his family during the Russian Revolution. In 1925, Archbishop Tikhon, who had later returned to Russia and was elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, was killed by the Communists. Both have been glorified as saints in the Orthodox Church.

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