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History of Church

St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church was organized on May 14, 1926, at the first parochial meeting under the leadership of Mr. John Hotra, the initial organizer, with 69 parishioners present. An unanimous call was extended to the Reverend Father John Rusin, who was appointed by His Eminence, Archbishop Adam. Rev. Rusin had served his First Holy Divine Liturgy in the St. Michael’s Brotherhood Hall, 6541 Dennis Street, on Sunday, April 4, 1926. Under the pastoral leadership and guidance of the Reverend Father John Rusin, the newly organized parish began to flourish and its membership grew rapidly. Through the efforts of Father Rusin and the wonderful cooperation of the enthusiastic members, many repairs and alterations were made to both the church and the rectory. A beautiful Iconostas was purchased and installed in the church during the pastorate of the Reverend Father Walter Shymansky.

On April 17, 1966, the church was destroyed by fire. Church services were held at Dennis Hall until the services of St.Thomas Albanian Orthodox Church were engaged. Services continued there until completion of the new church on 4.1 acres of land in Redford Township.

The new church was completed by and dedicated on December 7, 1968. In 1975, after the appointment of Fr. Michael E. Barna as parish priest, many accomplishments took place. Through the
leadership and with the efforts of the Church Council and parishioners, many fund raising projects were instituted and the church mortgage of $75,000 was satisfied in three years.

Projects accomplished by the parish include:

  • 1979 - Stained glass windows, designed by Willet Stained Glass Windows of Philadelphia, PA, were installed in the church.
  • 1988 - Icons were written in the Sanctuary commemorating the Millennium of Christianity in Russia; an elevator and air-conditioning were installed.
  • 1992 - Building and completion of a Cultural Center and religious classrooms.
  • 1998 - New granite sign was purchased and Icons on the ceiling were started.
  • 2000 -Writing of icons on the side walls was started.
  • 2003 - Parish members voted to add on an addition to the rectory for Fr. Michael and Matushka Jane.
  • 2004 - The Church Cultural Center Roof was re-shingled.
  • 2005 - The parish agreed to resurface the parking lot. We called it our “St. Jude Project” because we turned to St. Jude, the saint of lost causes for his help, and he heard us! In less than a month we collected $22,000.
  • 2007 - Research and a Fund Raising Campaign began for cupolas for our church roof. After many meetings and debates, Campbellsville Industries of Kentucky was contracted to build and install four new cupolas representing the four Evangelists.
  • 2008 - In July, restoration and gold leafing of the original cupola on the roof of St. Michael’s was done by Ivan and Marina Moroz, Alpine Technique/Preserver & Restorer Specialist, from Philadelphia.
  • 2009 - April 2nd, many parishioners watched as the cupolas were hoisted onto the church roof.  The Fund Raising Campaign raised $85,946. The project will be completed in the future when the new cupolas are also gold leafed.
  • 2008/2009 - The front steps of the church were completely torn out and redone in the fall of 2008. Porcelain tiles added the finishing touch over the foundation in 2009.
  • 2009 - November 8th, a new icon of “Christ Blessing the Children”, which was donated by the youth of parish through fund raising projects, and with the help of parishioners and friends was blessed.  In 2004, Right Reverend Mitered Archpriest Michael Barna was officially retired as Rector of the parish, and Bishop Mercurius, Administrator of the Patriarchal parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA, appointed Very Reverend Archpriest Timothy M. Barna as the new Rector. Our parish is under the Russian Patriarchate of Moscow. Our headquarters is St. Nicholas Cathedral, 15 East 97th Street, New York City, New York. 10029 !