Tour of Historic Churches set for today


First Posted: 6/22/2013

Two Pittston churches, St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church on North Main Street and the Italian Christian Church on East Oak Street, will be on display today, part of the the Eighth Annual Tour of Historic Churches of Greater Pittston.

Organizer Jan Lokuta said the tour is part of the Wyoming Valley Riverfest and sponsored by the Greater Pittston Ministerium. It will last about an hour at each church. Lokuta said anyone interested in taking the tour should meet at St. Michael’s at 1 p.m. today, Sunday, June 23. After about an hour, the group will carpool to Italian Christian Church. The tour is free but those attending are asked to wear comfortable shoes and to wear clothing appropriate for an active house of worship.

St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church, with traditions rooted in the Ukraine, Eastermost Slovakia and Corsica, was formed in 1915 by Eastern Rite Catholics from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Rev. Joseph Bertha, pastor, who has a Ph.D. in art history, will host the group. St. Michael’s underwent a major renovation in the 1980s to bring the church in step with the Byzantine traditions.

Across town, Italian Christian Church was incorporated on Feb. 26, 1935. The small church, with about 50 members, prides itself on hymns sung in Italian. Assistant Pastor Peter Sellani, of West Pittston, said improvements to the church were made in 1959 and again in 1989. Sellani said the choir will sing several hymns in Italian and English for the group.

In past years, the church tour encompassed more churches, but the tour had less time at each. Last year, for instance, the tour focused on West Pittston and took the group to the First Presbyterian Church on Exeter Avenue, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the First Congregational United Church of Christ and Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, all on Luzerne Avenue, Trinity Episcopal Church on Montgomery Avenue and the First United Methodist Church on Wyoming Avenue.

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