Holy Trinity Orthodox Church began in 1980 as a campus ministry of the Orthodox Church in America‘s (OCA) Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. In time, it attracted more and more individuals from the surrounding community who desired to worship regularly in town rather than travel up to 40 miles to attend already-existing parishes in neighboring communities.
In 1993, a small group of 16 souls ventured out in faith to purchase our current building at 119 South Sparks Street. Only three years later (1996), Father John Reeves relocated to State College from Texas with his family to serve as our first pastor. This was made possible by the stewardship of the mission community and a Planting Grant from the Department of Missions of the OCA.
Tapping into his missionary expertise, Father John guided the nascent mission church into fully self-supporting parish in just three years. During his 20 years here, the parish has grown from 16 adults to a community of more than 200 adults and children. In the summer of 2010, the parish was able to reward this hard work by applying for—and receiving—a Sabbatical allowing him to retrace as close as possible St. Herman’s 1793-94 missionary journey from Valaam Monastery to Alaska.
Holy Trinity’s faithful have always had a heart for college students. In 1997, Father John became the chaplain of the Penn State chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) and the parish has fully sponsored this ministry ever since. Over the years, several of the group’s alumni have become missionaries or members of the clergy, including Deacon Alexander Cadman, who became a member of our staff in 2008 to lay the groundwork for a full-time University ministry and an office on campus.
One year later, Deacon Mark Oleynik moved to State College to become the administrator of Holy Trinity’s Sunday School program and Director of Christian Education. In June 2013, and then again in June 2016, Father David Smith was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood, respectively, to administer the parish’s outreach to Snyder County. There, a mission community—the Chapel of the Holy Spirit—continues to develop and grow.
Mirroring our growth in attendance and personnel, Holy Trinity’s facilities also have undergone a dramatic enhancement in the past few years. In 2006, the parish began and completed a building program to expand worship and ministry program space by 75 percent. In August 2010, a major phase of this work was concluded with the installation of brand new iconography that completed the new iconostasis and the upper portion of the Sanctuary wall.