MARBLEHEAD, OH [DOM] – Holy Assumption Orthodox Church observed 125 years on the rocky peninsula of Marblehead, Ohio, with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest on September 23, 2023. The celebration was attended by over 100 participants honoring the milestone.
Serving with His Eminence were Priest Peter Tomas, Rector, Archpriest John Adamcio, Archpriest Emilian Hutnyan, and Priest Jan Cizmar. Mitered Archpriest Basil Stoyka was also attended. Matushka Michelle Tomas directed the choir.
In his sermon His Eminence talked about how the world around us has changed in the last century and a quarter, some for the better and some not for the better. Through all the changes this community has remained faithful to God and the legacy given to them by their forefathers. The clergy and the people have given glory to God, have lived the life of discipleship, preached the Gospel, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy and all the sacred services with fidelity, love, and joy.
“We give thanks to God but we don’t stop, the work continues. This celebration blesses you with the opportunity to recommit yourselves in the decades ahead to the work of the Gospel, preparing the world for Christ and welcoming Christ into lives and hearts,” he said.
At the banquet past rector of Holy Assumption, Fr. John Adamcio, talked about the history of the parish and the immigrants who founded it in 1898. They were from the Carpatho-Russian Mountains of the Austro-Hungarian Empire—where Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ukraine —and came to Marblehead to work in the limestone quarries, bringing their religious beliefs and cultural practices with them. The work was difficult and dangerous, as was work by other immigrants, who at about the same time in our country’s history worked in the coal mines and for the railroads.
The Honorable Jacqueline Bird, Mayor of Marblehead, presented a proclamation in honor of the church’s 125th anniversary.
In February 1898, Bishop Tikhon, bishop of the Diocese of San Francisco and the Aleutian Islands, then part of the Orthodox Church in Russia, blessed a group of Orthodox Christians to purchase land from Kelleys Island Lime and Transport Company and build a church, known as Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church.
When planning to build, a parishioner wrote to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia asking for assistance; he sent funds, a communion set, and four large icons which still adorn the iconostas today.
In 1906 Archbishop Tikhon of the Russian Orthodox Church in America consecrated the new Holy Assumption Church and celebrated its first Divine Liturgy. He returned to Russia and was elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Tsar Nicholas and his family were killed in 1918 during the Russian Revolution, and Patriarch Tikhon was killed by Communists in 1925. Both became saints in the Orthodox Church.
An Ohio Historical Marker, placed next to the church on April 1, 2023, honors the immigrants who established the church and recognizes Holy Assumption as the oldest Orthodox church building in Ohio.