Period of St. Peter and Paul on Frank St. Struthers OH
The early immigrants, who were workers of the soil in their native land, found work on the farms and in factories of this vicinity. In time these hard-working, thrifty people became prosperous owners of their homes
Previous to 1917 all the Greek Catholic people of Struthers were members of either St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church, Steelton, or St. Nicholas Greek Catholic Church, Haselton, then suburbs of Youngstown.
This small group of Ruthenians embracing the Catholic faith, realizing the great inconveniences they were subject to in order that they may attend Divine Liturgy and other Church services on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, decided to organize a Church of their own in Struthers. In order that they may enjoy a place in which to conduct religious services, a piece of property was purchased in 1907, on which they planned and got permission to build their Church and parish.
A corporation was formed, to be hereafter known as Sts. Peter and Paul’s Greek Catholic Congregation. Through the zealous and untiring efforts of Stephen Gallada, George Repasky, Nicholas Lukats, Michael Gulyas, John Koma, Joseph Petrus, John Molchan, Mr. Cebula, Stephen Duritza, George Senda, George Basista, Andrew Haschak, Stephen Lenches, John Timko, Michael Chasko, and others, Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church was built and blessed in 1917, tover a hundred years ago.
The following Reverend Fathers cared for the spiritual needs of this newly-organized Catholic parish, until a resident pastor w’as appointed: Antholy Mhley, Nestor Volensky, Theodore Ladomersky, Alexander Medvecky, Eugene Volkay, Alexander Kossey, George Chegin, Nicholas Duda, Alexander Papp, and Valentine Balog.
The first regular pastor was Rev. Peter Racz, who served the congregation from 1921 to 1923. It was during his pastorate that the present Rectory was built.
The parish was administered between the years of 1923 to 1936 by Reverend Fathers Cornelius Mankovich, Julius Dolinay, Peter Dolinay, and Victor Kovalisky. In 1936 Rev. John Gaspar was appointed pastor and by his tireless efforts the debt of the church was reduced, and both the exterior and interior was painted. In 1938 Father Gaspar was transferred to Cannons- burg, Pa. The parish was then administered by Rev. John Stim from Warren, Ohio.
Rev. Sylvester Hladky was appointed to care for the needs of the Struthers congregation in 1940. During the years of his pastorate the property in general was improved.
In 1945, Rev. Demetrius Kovalchik, O.S.B., was appointed to succeed Father Hladky. His administratorship, together with that of his successor, Rev. Michael Dudick, was short, slightly more than four months.
In 1946, Father Emil J. Mihalik was appointed pastor. During his administration the church was remodeled. Father Mihalik was responsible for promoting the establishment of Byzantine Catholic Central School, which would serve five parishes of the Youngstown area. The school was built in 1954 on Youngstown-Poland Road. Father Mihalik also was instrumental in employing the talents of the Sister Servants of Mary to staff the school. Rev Nicholas Repko was assigned as pastor right after Fr. Emil j Mihalik and served St. Peter and Paul until 1958.
Father George B. Petro was assigned to SS. Peter and Paul Church in 1958.
Period of Infant Jesus of Prague on South Ave Boardfman, OH
Because of structural problems with walls in old church which was reported by several inspections and fact that many parishioners were moving to the suburbs, Father Petro recognized the necessity of moving the church to a more favorable location. Under his guidance, a 115-acre farm was purchased on South Avenue in Boardman. Purchase was possible because of hard work of Parish which run bingo almost every day and the rest of money were supplied by mortgage. A new church was built there in 1969, and dedicated by Bishop Stephen J Kocisko on October 23, 1970. At this time, the name of the church was changed to Infant Jesus of Prague.
In 1982 due to constant problem with leaking church roof, a new 30-foot high dome was built above the original roof under guidance of Fr. Daniel Tisak. This dome was topped by a 20-foot high drum and onion dome. At the same time due to problem with water intrusion trough stained glass windows new storm windows were installed to fix it.
In 1986 Fr. John Cucaro as new pastor of Infant Jesus he initiated discovery of oil and gas well and after it was drilled it gave beginning of gas supply for church and means of extra income from gas royalties, since at that time Church had to pay $4400 toward Byzantine Central School every month.
In 1990, Msgr. Alexis Mihalik was appointed pastor. Under his guidance, the interior of the church was remodeled to bring conformity with the liturgical prescriptions of the Byzantine Church. A one-tiered icon screen was installed, and a matching tetrapod was purchased. Both the icon screen and tetrapod are constructed of red oak, and all of the carving was done in Greece. A large brass chandelier was suspended from the middle of the ceiling and the walls were adorned with icons of Saints Constantine and Helen, St John Chrysostom and Basil The Great, St. John Damascene and Roman on the Right side and St. Vladimir and Olga Equal to The Apostles, St. Boris and Glib, and St . Ciril and Methodius on the left side.
In 2007, Rev. Christopher Burke was appointed pastor of Infant Jesus of Prague. The dome was refurbished in 2010, due to the leakage and general need of repair. The work was done by Mid-American Coating Systems of Massillon and the fiber-glass onion-shaped dome on the wooden 20-foot-high cupola is on a sturdier place. Also since Byzantine Central School was closed mosaic with the Blessed Virgin Mary was installed in side chapel with the help of GCU lodge
In 2015, Rev. Fr. Mykhaylo Farynets was appointed as a pastor. He and his family moved in rectory and with that started reconditioning of rectory house. With help of parishioners kitchen and floors were fully refurbished. In 2016 Parish festival was established as Infant Jesus Ethnic food feast. In 2018 a votes were taken to initiate the returning of the original name to the Church, majority of the parishioner voted to return it. And in 2020 we received blessing and permission from Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla to change the name of the church back to its original name as St Peter and Paul