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The Parma Parish History

   In the time that had passed while the church was located on the East-Side of Cleveland, Metropolitan Anastassi had passed away, the young and saintly Metropolitan Philaret took the reigns of the Russian Church Abroad. During this time it was also with much sadness that the diocese of Detroit lost Archbishop Ieronim, and the Diocese of Chicago and Cleveland lost Archbishop Gregory. The dioceses of Chicago and Cleveland, and Detroit had been combined after the repose of Archbishop Ieronim, and the governance of the newly formed midwest diocese was then passed on to Archbishop Seraphim.

   After several years Archbishop Seraphim, who was himself quite advanced in years, requested the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, to appoint a Vicar Bishop to assist in the administration of the Diocese. In 1974 The Synod elevated Hieromonk Alypy from the Holy Trinity Monastery NY to the rank of Bishop and sent him to assist in the administration of the Cleveland churches in the Chicago and Detroit diocese.

   Archbishop Alypy is currently the presiding Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Detroit. He assisted greatly in encouraging the endeavours of the parish to build a new church in Parma, and, being an accomplished iconographer, and frescoer, promised to fresco the church when it was completed. This of course gave even more impetus and zeal to the organizers of the new church's construction.

   The design of the new church located at 6520 Broadview Road, Parma Ohio, was completed under the guiding hands of Fr. Michael Smirnov and the capable architectural acumen of Mr. Alexander Nazaretz in the year 1977. Several of the younger parishioners, most notably the newly wedded Nicholas and Ludmilla Rodzianko, George and Lucy Balasko, Deacon John Onopko and his wife Alexandra, the all of the Fedorov Family, Kyprian Chistik and his son Aleksander, and others too numerous to mention, set about organizing the construction of the new church.

   All of those involved in the construction of the new church were either related by marriage or by blood to the original founders of the parish. Sergei Potapov, the father of Protopresbyter Peter Potapov of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, was elected to be the builder.

   During this time Fr. Michael Smirnov, who was getting on in years, asked to retire to his former Parish in Florida, and requested that Bishop Alypy, the newly appointed Vicar Bishop of Cleveland, find a capable replacement. Fr. Michael had served the parish faithfully from 1951 till 1977 and was sorely missed by all the parishioners. Many of whom to this day still speak with much affection and love when recalling their beloved pastor.

   Bishop Alypy wasted no time in finding a capable replacement for the retired Fr. Michael. The newly ordained Fr. Theodore Jurevicz, a graduate seminarian from the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New-York, and an accomplished Iconographer, was asked to take over from Fr. Michael.

   Fr. Theodore was born Frank Jurewicz in 1953. He was born into a Roman Catholic family in Erie Pennsylvania. As a child he attended church assiduously and often visited the Old Believer parish of the Nativity of Christ in Erie. From these visits he developed a deep interest in the Orthodox church, and, while still a teenager, converted to Orthodoxy and joined the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile. He married and attended the Holy Trinity Seminary as a married Seminarian, where he graduated in 1976.

   Fr. Theodore graciously accepted Bishop Alypy's offer, and begun working closely with the building organizers to develop a plan that would provide for the financing of the new construction, as well as satisfy the spiritual needs of the parish. The East-side church remained in use until the construction of the new church was completed. Fr Theodore started a parish Saturday School that was well attended by the children of first generation parishioners. As was the custom with the Russian Cultural Society, Fr. Theodore arranged to have a "Yolka" the week after the celebration of the Nativity. The participants and the guests found the programs to be both entertaining and edifying.

    Fr. Theodore remained the Parish Priest at St. Sergius from 1977 to 1984. In 1984 he requested to be transferred to the Old-Believer parish of the Nativity of Christ in Erie Pennsylvania. The same Old-rite parish that he had visited so often in his youth, and had now been instrumental in arranging for its reception back into the fold of Christ. He remains in that parish to this day.

   The dedication ceremony for the new church was conducted in 1977 by his emminence Bishop Alypy, Fr. Theodore Jurevicz, the newly ordained priest Fr. Peter Zelenoi, and Sub-deacon (now Protodeacon) John Onopko. Sergei Potapov, the church builder, and Alexander Nazaretz, the architect can be seen in the third dedication photograph assisting Vladiko Alypy in the placement of the groundbreaking cross at the building site. After the groundbreaking things moved quickly and the church building was erected in approximately 18 months. Services took place in the new church in 1979.

   After the completion of the church building, the adornment of the structure began. Bishop Alypy and Fr. Theodore worked assiduously to complete the frescoing of the church within 4 years. The church's carved cherry wood iconostasis was designed by Vladiko Alypy, and built by parishioner Kyprian Chistik and his son Alexander. Many visitors to the parish have commented on the edifying piety reflected in the execution of the frescoes, and the ornamentation. Children who visit the parish become instantly enamoured with the iconography and the open space within the church.

   Several interim priests filled in until Protopresbyter Fr. Peter Burlakov was assigned to the Parish. Fr Peter was born into a pious Russian family who lived in Montenegro Serbia, (BIO NEEDED)

   While the church was awaiting the arrival of a full-time priest, the organization of the parish school suffered. Fr. Peter made it a priority to re-organize the parish school, and revitalize the school program. Fr Peter remains an assistent to the director of the parish school to this day. Fr. Peter also made a concerted effort to bring the church finances into order, and initiated a balanced and well thought out system of checks and balances that is still used in the parish today.

   The consecration of the church took place in 1988. The service was attended by his eminence Metropolitan Vitaly, his grace the late Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles, his grace the late Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco, his grace Archbishop (now Metropolitan) Laurus, Archbishop (now Metropolitan) Laurus of Holy Trinity and Syracuse, his grace Archbishop Alypy of Chicago and Detroit, his grace Archbishop Hilarion of Australia and New Zealand, and many Protopriests, priests, Protodeacons and deacons. The divine services were notably majestic. The Antimins that was left after the service was signed by Metropolitan Vitaly.

   In the year 2001 Fr. Peter retired as full time priest in the parish.

The history of the Choir, with recordings


Metropolitan Philaret, reposed in 1988, his relics were found to be incorrupt, and he has been canonized by the GOCA
Metr. Philaret
Circa 1975

Archbishop Seraphim, of Chicago and Detroit, reposed in 1986
Arch. Seraphim
Circa 1976

Archbishop Alypy, of Chicago and Detroit
Arch. Alypy
Circa 1988

Dedication of the St. Sergius parish in Parma, 1977
Circa 1977

Dedication of the St. Sergius parish in Parma, 1977
Circa 1977

Dedication of the St. Sergius parish in Parma, 1977
Vl. Alypy,
Fr. Theodore
A. Nazaretz, &
S. Potapov

Fr. Theodore frescoing the Church of the Holy Trinity in Parma OH 2001
Fr. Theodore
Circa 2001

Fr. Theodore frescoing the Church of Christ's Nativity in Erie PA 1986
Fr. Theodore
Circa 1986

Metropolitan Vitaly, led the service of consecration of St. Sergius parish church in Parma
Metr. Vitaly
Circa 1990

Consecration of the St. Sergius parish in Parma, 1988
Circa 1988

Consecration of the St. Sergius parish in Parma, 1988
Circa 1988

Protopresbyter Peter Burlakov, parish priest from 1990 - present
Prot. Peter Burlakov
Circa 1998