Nativity of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church, O.C.A.
Nativity of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church, O.C.A.

Church Address:
420 Laura St,
Philipsburg, PA 16866-2520

Office: 814-342-2011

Founded in 1895

Current bulletin     (previous bulletins)

Parish Contacts

V. Rev. Mark Meholick, Dean: Priest-in-charge
102 N 3rd St
Du Bois, PA 15801
Home: 814-375-0459

Rev. Basil Biberdorf
613 Beaumont Dr
State College, PA 16801
Home: 814-466-6261

Father Basil is currently serving at St. John's based on his availability
until a priest is assigned.

V. Rev. John Horosky, Retired
514 Graffius Ave 
Punxsutawney, PA 15767
Home: 814-939-4742

For health reasons, Father John retired on August 31, 2015 and plans to spend his retirement with his beloved wife, Matushka Judy. Traveling from Punxsutawney, Father John faithfully served our parish for each service, delivering the sacraments, helping with church events, hearing confessions and providing counseling as needed. Father John and Matushka Judy quickly became a part of St. John’s family and both will be greatly missed. We were blessed to have Father John serve our parish for many years and we wish him a healthy, happy retirement.

God Grant You Many Blessed Years
and Keep You in His Divine Care!

Lay Leadership

Mr. John Conkey,  Council President
110 Greenmeadow Lane
Port Matilda, PA 16870

Mr. Tom Demchak,  Council Vice-president
301 Mallard Rd
Philipsburg, PA 16866

Mrs. Shirley Foster-Donovan,  Secretary
2020 Muncy Rd
State College, PA 16801

Mr. Douglas Donovan,  Treasurer
2020 Muncy Rd
State College, PA 16801

General Location

Nativity of St John the Baptist parish is located in Philipsburg (Chester Hill), Clearfield County, Pennsylvania approximately 25 miles west of State College and 35 miles north and east of Altoona.


From the South

Take I-99 north to junction with Rt 350 at Bald Eagle. Take Rt 350 12 miles to Philipsburg. At the junction of Rts 350 and 322, turn left onto Presqueisle St (this occurs at a traffic signal located next to the central park in town). Proceed straight through two traffic signals (after making the left above) and follow the road across railroad tracks, over a bridge, past J J Powell Oil Distribution Center and the Little League field (all on the left) until the road T's. At the T, turn left onto Laura St, and the Church is about 50 yards up on the left.

From the North and East

Take I-99 south to exit for Rt 322 west near Port Matilda, and follow 322 west (note that I-99 will proceed south to Tyrone and Altoona). Follow Rt 322 west for 12 miles to Philipsburg. At the traffic light, turn left (Presqueisle St). Rt 322 west continues straight. Proceed straight through three traffic signals (after the light above) and follow the road across railroad tracks, over a bridge, past J J Powell Oil Distribution Center and the Little League field (all on the left) until the road T's. At the T, turn left onto Laura St and the Church will be about 50 yards up on the left.

From Interstate 80

Exit 133 (old exit 21), Kylertown. Take Rt 53 south toward Philipsburg. Turn left at the traffic light in Philipsburg (Harbor Inn is on the left). Go 3 traffic lights and turn right onto Presquisle St. Follow the road across the railroad tracks, over bridge, past JJ Powell Oil Co until the T intersection. Turn left onto Laura St. Church is on the left 50 yards ahead.

Schedule of Services

See Current bulletin for specific schedule for the month.

Sunday Morning
9:30 AM Canonical Hours.

Sunday Morning
10:00 AM Divine Liturgy.

The Mystery of Holy Confessions is offered after Vespers or by appointment.

Ministry Groups

Church Council
John Conkey (President), Tom Demchak (Vice-President), Shirley Foster-Donovan (Secretary), Douglas Donovan (Treasurer), John Blake, Mary Ann Conkey, Lilia (Houser) McGraw, Garret McGraw (Council Members).

Readers and Chanters
Andrew Tocimak, Mark Ammerman, John Conkey, Andrew Conkey, Doug Donovan, George Sura, Mike Conkey, Chris Conkey, Jan Brennish, Larry Ammerman, Tom Demchak, Lilia (Houser) McGraw, Garret McGraw, and Julia Biberdorf.

Altar Servers
Ivan Switala and John Blake.

Music Ministry / Choir
Mrs. Shirley Foster-Donovan, Director; Andrew Tocimak, Larry Ammerman, Jan Brennish, John Conkey, Mary Ann Conkey, Mike Conkey, Doug Donovan, Bonnie Fetcenko, Rose Marie Fetcenko, Lilia (Houser) McGraw, Garret McGraw, Elizabeth Blake, Svetlana Blake, Julia Biberdorf and Judy Everly.

Church School
Lilia (Houser) McGraw and Garret McGraw are developing a program. More info will be provided when available.

George Sura and Mike Conkey, -  Coordinators

Sisterhood of St Ann
Mary Foster (President Pro Tem), Mary Ann Ammerman (Secretary/Treasurer), and Church Members in Good Standing

Parish Background

Nativity of St John the Baptist parish was founded in 1895 by Rusyn/Slavic farmers who immigrated to the United States from both the northern and southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountain region in Eastern Europe. Most of the immigrants came from areas around Presov in what is now Slovakia, then the Kingdom of Hungary, or the Lemkian region of Galicia, now in southern Poland.

After completing the church building on the Laura St property, it was consecrated by His Eminence, Nicholas, Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and All Alaska on the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist in 1895. The building has remained the same as it is today except for the brick encasement of the exterior which was completed in 1976 as part of a renovation project. Also at that time new iconography was installed as well as a new Holy Table, Table of Oblation and Sacramental Table.

Historically, the membership of Nativity of St John the Baptist has swung between a high of about 100 souls to a low of 31 souls. The current economic climate in Central Pennsylvania has adversely affected the membership of the parish due to a decline in population.

Currently there are 41 souls registered as assessment paying members of the parish while we provide ministry to upwards of 20 additional persons that do not consider themselves assessment paying members. The demographics of the congregation is almost evenly split between pre-school/school age children, young adults and middle aged adults. The balance of the congregation (about 50%) consists of retired persons. Orthodox Christians from the Carpatho-Russian, Serbian, Russian, and Greek traditions are included in the group. There are also a considerable number of converts from other Christian confessions making their home at our parish.

The primary liturgical language here is English, although small portions of some services are conducted in Church Slavonic and Greek. Congregational singing is emphasized and encouraged. To this end pew books are prepared to provide parishioners with the opportunity to sing the services with the Readers and the Choir.

The Revised Julian Calendar (new) is followed in this parish in conformity with the practice of the Orthodox Church in America.

The small size of the parish (both physically and in membership) allows for an intimate experience of Orthodox Community living and the worship experience as a whole. Everyone is known in the church and no one remains a stranger for long. There is great concern shown one-to-another and this can certainly be called a "family church" in the truest sense of that expression.

Painted in 1976, the new iconographic depictions were executed by Fr Alexander Jurewicz. These icons are without a doubt some of the best examples of neo-Byzantine iconographic style available in Western Pennsylvania. Several art classes from nearby Penn State University have made trips to the parish in order to study and appreciate these icons.

As we celebrate our 120th year as a community in Christ, we look forward to continued spiritual growth and the deepening of our commitment to Jesus Christ. At Nativity of St John the Baptist, we aren't about building bigger buildings or increasing our membership rolls for number's sake. We are about empowering each person, singly as well as corporately, to deepen their faith and work out their salvation in Christ.

In CY 2002, we built a fine addition to the rectory ($100,000 cost, w/o a mortgage) which included four additional rooms and a much needed garage. Thank God for all things. President Jack Foster and Engineers Doug Donovan and Kari Ann Donovan were highly instrumental in drawing up the blueprints, dealing with the contractor and providing successful closure to this project.

A new church sign, designed per church specifications, was donated and installed by Paul and Carol Supko. The sign was blessed by Father Donovan on April 20, 2003. Many thanks were forthcoming to Paul and Carol for this beautiful sign.

An Eagle Scout Project by Andrew Conkey during 2003: Landscaping plans were drawn up by Andrew for the Rectory and Church grounds, including projected costs. These were presented to the Church council and approved. With assistance from other church members, he installed the shrubs and flowering plants around the two buildings. Andrew also helped plan and assisted in a social luncheon to help pay for the costs of this landscaping project. Many thanks for a job well done Andrew.

An Eagle Scout Project by Michael Conkey in 2007 involved refinishing all of the church pews. Michael also helped plan and assisted in a social luncheon to help pay for the costs of this project. Many thanks for a job well done Michael.

An Eagle Scout Project by Christopher Conkey in 2009 involved construction and installation of benches at the cemetery. In conjunction with this project, the Parish had a sign made and installed to match the style of the sign at the church. Christopher also helped plan and assisted in a social luncheon to help pay for the costs of this project. Many thanks for a job well done Christopher.

The Icon of the Virgin of the Sign by iconographer Matthew Garrett has been installed on the ceiling above the altar. It was blessed on July 20, 2008 by Father Horosky. God grant many years to the donors of this beautiful icon: the Brennish family--Jan, Sonya and Janine and William Kuehn. The icon was donated in memory of John Pisancik Brennish, Jane Pollick Brennish, and Florence Pollick Coulter.

The apricot, nut and poppyseed roll bake sales are successful every year. It seems you cannot predict the amount of rolls to make - we always seem to sell out entirely. Also successfully completed is the annual chicken BBQ - over 300 dinners are sold.

If you're in the area, why not stop in and "break bread" with us.

You'll be most welcome here!