Diocese: Diocese of the Midwest
Deanery: Chicago Deanery
112 N Fairdale Ave
Royalton, Illinois 62983
PO Box 307
Royalton, IL 62983
Royalton, IL 62903
Murphysboro, IL 62966
From Carbondale area
Take Rt 51 north to Hwy 149 into Royalton. Go to the Casey’s Service Station and turn east (same side of the street as Casey’s). Go to the third street (Fairdale) and turn right. Park in the parking lot, and come and pray with us.
From Marion area
Take Rt 57 north to Hwy 149 into Royalton. Go to the Casey’s Service Station and turn east (same side of the street as Casey’s). Go to the third street (Fairdale) and turn right. Park in the parking lot, and come and pray with us.
Schedule of Services
5:00 PM Great Vespers.
10:00 AM Divine Liturgy.
6:00 PM Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, followed by Lenten potluck dinner.
Wednesday Evenings in Great Lent
9:00 AM Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
Friday Mornings in Great Lent
Please contact Fr George to request a celebration of a Panakhida (solemn requiem for a departed loved one) or a Molieben (service of intercession for a particular intention or in thanksgiving for a favor or gift from God) for your intentions or loved ones. Get the power of the church working for your needs.
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The early history of Holy Protection parish parallels that of many other parishes in America. With the large influx of immigrants from Europe due to religious persecution and economic hardship, thousands of Orthodox faithful left their families and arrived here on the shores of America.
Originally, most of the immigrants who formed this parish were farmers in their homeland, but once they arrived, the work of the mines lured them to settle in this area.
Being financially unable to build a new church, the founders of our parish held services with a visiting priest from St Louis in the homes of parishioners. Although many people were responsible for the establishing of Holy Protection parish, the three men cited as principle founders were: Frank Derbak, John August and Paul Andrews. With great spirit and determination,. they went from home to home, along with many others, seeking support for building a parish home to raise their children in the True Faith.
Though the income of these people was very meager, their strong faith and trust in God drove them on, and in a short time they obtained land and erected a church building. Each family was asked to give $25 at the start of the building, and another $25 at its completion. The response was tremendous.
On October 14, 1914 (according to the Julian calendar, the feast of the Protection of the Theotokos), work began on the new foundation. Plans were taken from St Joseph Orthodox Church in Muddy, IL the year before, and Fr Michael Vyacheslavov left St Louis, MO to become the first priest at Royalton.
On October 27, 1914, as work progressed rapidly, disaster struck. An earth-shattering explosion took place in the Franklin County Coal Co. mine located in Royalton. Thirteen Orthodox Christian men died in the explosion. In the aftermath of the disaster, it was learned that one of the founders of the parish, Frank Derbak, had survived.
Frank had arrived to work late that day (unusual for him). As he was entering the mine, the explosion blew the back of his coat over his head, and protected him both from debris and from deadly carbon monoxide gas. He lay still until one of the rescuers bumped him with his boot. He alone had miraculously survived, and from that moment forward, he fasted every day for the rest of his long life.
The thirteen deceased men were buried on land in Royalton owned by the mining company, and this land was given to Holy Protection parish to be used as an Orthodox cemetery. Each year on October 27, a solemn requiem (panakhida/parastas) service is celebrated for the repose of the souls of these 13 men.
The church was built at a cost of $2,200 which was paid in full, leaving the parish debt free.
Since that time, many additions have been made to the parish: a church hall, a rectory, beautiful traditional Orthodox iconography, and a grotto with a mosaic of the Theotokos, the Most Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Every day, the bells of Holy Protection Church continue to ring out calling all to the daily celebration of worship, and reminding all who hear them to take a moment to be with God, as we pray for our salvation, your salvation, and for the salvation of the whole world.