Proclaiming the Gospel in PA’s Central Susquehanna Valley


On the weekend of October 31-November 1, 2015, the members of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit of Synder County, PA, officially opened the doors of their new church at 145 North Kern St. here.

On hand to celebrate with the Chapel faithful was Archpriest Mark Meholick, Dean of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania’s Eastern Deanery; Archpriest John Reeves, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, State College, PA, the Chapel’s mother church; and Priest James Chuta, who while attached to Holy Cross Church, Williamsport, PA routinely serves several communities in south-central Pennsylvania, including the Chapel, Holy Ascension Church, Lykens, PA, and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Bucknell University.

The two-day event began with the “Rite of the Opening of the Doors” and Great Vespers on Saturday and culminated with the first Sunday Divine Liturgy in the Chapel.

Established in 2008 to proclaim the Gospel to the people of the Central Susquehanna Valley, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is the first—and only Orthodox Christian—church in Snyder County.  The Chapel is currently administered by Deacon David Smith, who was ordained by His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh to specifically serve and grow the community.  It was founded by and continues to be a primary ministry of Holy Trinity Church, forming an integral part of the parish’s life.  This traditional “chapel of ease” model allows Holy Trinity to provide weekly sacramental outreach for its parishioners that live up to one hour-and-a-half away from the main church.

Matushka Brenda Smith, who hosted the earliest chapel services in her home until the space was no longer adequate, was overjoyed by the turnout.

“Thank you to everyone who made our grand opening weekend special,” she said.  “To those who were present and to those who could not attend but kept us in your prayers, we thank you.  God has richly blessed us with all of you.  We continue to covet your prayers as we build up His church in Snyder County.”

Groundbreaking for the $120,000.00 building, completed in less than four months by Fine Touch Builders, Winfield, PA, took place on June 28.

“The Archdiocese generously financed the project in the amount of $75,000.00, which the nascent community will repay at no interest over the next five years,” said Deacon Alexander Cadman, Holy Trinity’s Director of Ministries.  “The result is a beautiful and welcoming space in the center of Beavertown that comfortably accommodates 60 people.  It was specifically designed so it can be expanded on the north, east, and west sides (to make a cruciform shape) when future growth warrants it.”

Impressed by the new church and its members, one visitor remarked, “I think that the warm glow of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit reflects the hearts of her founders….  Bless you all.  Be well and multiply! Know you are loved and cherished.”

A photo gallery from the grand opening, including interior and exterior views, may be accessed here.