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John, Joy, or anyone else inclined to have obscure historical detail at their fingertips (although this locale is a bit beyond the borders of the Northeast's Byzantine 'Holy Land').

... St Mary Greek Catholic (Byzantine Ruthenian) Church in Ramah (El Paso County), Colorado

St Mary's (not to be confused with Holy Protection of the Mother of God in Denver) appears in the 1939 Official Catholic Directory listings for the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Greek Rite. It was, at the time, vacant. (The vacancy may well have been because the prior priest died of exhaustion from riding a circuit that would daunt the hardiest among us.)

St Mary's had no less than 5 missions, scattered across a formidable expanse of area. They were at Calhan, Colorado Springs, Craig, Rockdale, and Walsenburg. (I defy you to map those out - if you can even find Rockdale - 'a populated place' in the language of the US Census Bureau - a 'ghost town' as described in other places on-line.) (Or, you can just check it out on the map at its historical directory listing - here)

The listing appears again in the directory's 1952 edition, still vacant. However, neither it nor any of its missions is listed in the 1949 Anniversary Directory of the Pittsburgh Eparchy, so I presume that it had, by then, been suppressed and that the chancery had failed to update the information it provided to the directory publishers.

The 1939 edition is the earliest that I have which lists individual parishes and I have no editions after 1953 until 1972, so I can't really pinpoint any other information.

Just wondering if anyone knows any details about this pretty much isolated bastion of Eastern Catholicism. (AFAIK, the only other Eastern Catholic temple in CO at that time was St Mary Syrian [Melkite] Church in Trinidad, now also of blessed memory. Holy Dormition in Calhan, Transfiguration of Christ in Denver, and St Michael the Archangel in Pueblo had all translated to Orthodoxy back at the turn of the century.)

As Father Michael from Holy Protection has recently joined the forum, perhaps he knows something from his parish's archives or some among his oldest parishioners may remember some details.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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I lived in Colorado Springs for several years and there was a BCC mission (eparchy of Van Nuys) there which held services weekly in the side chapel of Holy Apostles RC Church. It was canonically suppressed perhaps in 2003 or 2004? Unfortunately I don't know about the others. Your post explains why there are so many Orthodox parishes in the state as I have often wondered about that - so many translated from Eastern Catholicism!

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Rybak,

Yes, the Colorado Springs mission to which you refer was of much later vintage and was served from Holy Protection.

Not sure exactly when it was suppressed, but probably by at least 1999, as there's no reference to it in the 75th Anniversary Directory article on Holy Protection and the 2000 edition of the Official Catholic Directory annotates it as such.

Father Nikolaj (Seregelly), of blessed memory, founded Transfiguration and St Michael's (possibly also Holy Dormition) in 1898. According to the 75th Anniversary Directory, he had issues with the local Latin bishop, particularly over his desire to bring his wife and family from Europe - what a surprise. Father Nikolaj reposed in 1903 and the lack of a Greek Catholic priest to serve the parishes resulted in their translation to Orthodoxy.

Some of the other Orthodox parishes there may have similar origins, I haven't really had an opportunity to check that out as yet.

Many years,

Neil


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I am from Transfiguration UGCC Denver. I have never heard any mention about any of those parishes from anybody at my parish. I will ask our Deacon at Sunday Liturgy, but I am pretty confident any information on those missions are basically non-existent. I have lived in CO my whole life, and could not even begin to guess where some of those cities are.

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Originally Posted by smad0142
I am pretty confident any information on those missions are basically non-existent. I have lived in CO my whole life, and could not even begin to guess where some of those cities are.

smad,

Oh, I agree. The likelihood is extremely low that there is any info on those missions, except perhaps a few notes in a folder buried in the archives of the Metropolia. But, it never hurts to ask.

As to your second comment, despite you being a lifelong Coloradean (is that the correct term?), I'd be surprised as heck if you knew where all those 'cities' are. Most are little more than sparsely populated hamlets in the midst of nowhere. Ramah, site of the mother parish, has about 225 residents today, squeezed into 0.2 square miles.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Father Nikolaj (Seregelly), of blessed memory, founded Transfiguration and St Michael's (possibly also Holy Dormition) in 1898. According to the 75th Anniversary Directory, he had issues with the local Latin bishop, particularly over his desire to bring his wife and family from Europe - what a surprise. Father Nikolaj reposed in 1903 ...

Just a rather sad follow-up to the above.

I was following through on the exchange that Rybak and I had as regards the number of Orthodox temples in Colorado and that several began as Greek Catholic parishes. To get a bit more feel for the situation as it unfolded back in the early 20th century, I read the history of Holy Transfiguration of Christ [transfigcathedral.org] in Denver, now an OCA Cathedral.

In so doing, I was really saddened to learn that when Father Nikolaj reposed, alone (having left his family behind 5 years prior and blocked from sending for them by the Latin bishop), it was reported by the local newspaper that the cause of his death was starvation. I knew, from information elsewhere, that the Latin bishop had cut off his income sources. Why? - maybe so that he couldn't afford to send for his family?

At this far removed date we can only surmise, but I suspect that what little funds Father Nikolaj did receive were sent home to provide for those he loved and would not see again in his mortal lifetime, leaving him without even enough monies to maintain adequate nutrition.

May the memory of the Lord's servant, the Priest Nikolaj, be eternal!

Many years,

Neil


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According to the history of the Melkite parish in Denver, when Fr. Seregelly died, the local RC bishop would not allow him to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Fr. Chris Zugger compiled a very detailed history of the early Rusyn parishes and communities in the Far West an it was included into a the 25th anniversary book for the Eparchy of Van Nuys/Phoenix.

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The more I read/hear about Latin bishops treating Greek Catholics and their clergy so horribly, so profoundly uncharitably, the more it makes me sick, just sick. This all happened right here in the U.S. in the 20th century.

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Originally Posted by John Schweich
According to the history of the Melkite parish in Denver, ...

John,

Would that be St Mary's in Trinidad, of blessed memory? If so, where did you ever find a history of it? Other than a short piece in the 1971 "Melkites In America" directory and an article by Bishop Nicholas in Sophia some years back, after he and one of our priests from California visited the remnant community there, I don't think I've ever seen any history of it.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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With Father Nikolaj's name fresh in my memory from these discussions, I happened to be reviewing the 1949 Pittsburgh Directory, looking for something totally unrelated.

In glancing at the entry for Assumption of Our Lady in Whiting, IN, I found reference to the parish being founded in 1899 and that Father Nicholas Seregelly was its first resident pastor. So, his tenure there must have been brief, as he seems to almost certainly have been in Denver by 1900.

Many years,

Neil

PS Can I just note that the decided tendency of my Ruthenian brethren to alphabetize entries in their directories by city/town name - irrespective of the state in which each is located - is maddening.

Example: The 1949 Directory begins with St Michael's in Akron OH, followed immediately by St Michael's in Allentown PA.

The 1999 Directory, after the Cathedral entry, begins with St George's in Aliquippa PA, followed by 2 other PA entries, and then moves on to St Nicholas in Astabula OH, before reverting to PA for St John the Baptist in Avella, and on it goes.

Amazing!


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Here is a history of St. Mary's Melkite Church of Trinidad CO, which appeared in the Souvenir Book of the "Dedication of Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church" (1975):

"Around the turn of the century the town of Trinidad was booming mining town. Companies recruited workers from several countries to work these mines as the venture prospered. Thus, Trinidad attracted a small community of people from the Middle East (the Lebanese and Syrians) who came to share in the material benefits this industry provided.

"In 1920, The Reverend Father Clement Sawaya, a Basilian Chouerite monk-priest, came to Trinidad, and with the approval and blessing of the Roman Catholic bishop of Denver, the Most Reverend J. Henry Tihen, began serving the Melkite community. For several years, the community used the facilities of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church. Finally, in 1938, the Melkites erected their own chapel in honor of the Mother of God.

"Father Sawaya served his beloved flock in Trinidad for forty-nine years from 1920 until his death in 1969. Eternal be his memory! Since Father Sawaya's death, St. Mary's has been vacant."
--

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Originally Posted by John Schweich
Here is a history of St. Mary's Melkite Church of Trinidad CO, which appeared in the Souvenir Book of the "Dedication of Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church" (1975):

John,

Thanks for that. It's pretty much the same information that appeared in the 1971 Melkite Directory that I referenced, but it's nice to know that the half-century of dedicated service that Father Clement, of blessed memory, rendered to God and His people was recognized by our Ruthenian brothers and sisters. I've always felt that a special place exists in Heaven for the pioneer priests of all our Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, who labored in these relatively isolated places. May the memory of Father Clement, and all those presbyters who did so, be eternal.

Quote
"In 1920, The Reverend Father Clement Sawaya, a Basilian Chouerite monk-priest, came to Trinidad, and with the approval and blessing of the Roman Catholic bishop of Denver, the Most Reverend J. Henry Tihen, began serving the Melkite community.

Bishop Tihen, of blessed memory, became Ordinary of Denver in 1917, after the repose of the bishop who denied Father Nikolaj an income and even proper burial. One can surmise that Bishop Tihan, a native of Indiana, had possibly encountered Eastern Catholics in his early life.

Ironically, the Bishop who so mistreated Father Nikolaj bore the names of two of the most revered among our Eastern Saints - he was Bishop Nicholas Chrysostom Matz, a native of France.

Many years,

Neil
-- [/quote]


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."

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