During the first half of the 20th century, as Orthodox churches throughout the world increasingly grappled with many sociological transformations and political uncertainties, bishops and clergy played a key role in guiding the Church through one of its most challenging transitional periods.
That was especially true in western Pennsylvania, where Orthodox churches under the Metropolia gradually began to forge their own American identity. It was through the tireless work of Archbishop Benjamin (Basalyga) that this transition was made much easier.
On Sunday, September 10, 2023, His Eminence Melchisedek and the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania will honor the 90th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of Archbishop Benjamin, the boy from the small village of Olyphant, Pennsylvania, and son of immigrants, who went on to become the first American-born bishop.
“It is very important for 21st century members of this historical archdiocese to pause and honor this outstanding hierarch of the Holy Church on this consecration anniversary,” said the Very Rev. William (Bill) Evansky, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania and rector of Holy Ghost Church in Ambridge. “His contributions to our Church reverberate to this day.”