Church History

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Rock Springs, Wyoming


April 26, 1925 Laying of cornerstone

“Will Lay Cornerstone of Orthodox Church” (Rock Springs Miner, Friday, April 24, 1925) The ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone of the Eastern Christian Orthodox church will take place Sunday, April 26th at 2 p.m.

Speeches have been prepared by Rev. Abraham and Rev. Burt and Christians of all denominations are invited to attend.

The Eastern Christian Orthodox church is the outgrowth of the work of the Rev. T.V. Koch, formerly of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who came to Rock Springs in August, 1924, at the urgent request of the many Orthodox people who are in this community and who had no church where they could practice their religion. After a winter of hard work, it would appear that the people of the Orthodox faith are going to be well taken care of.

The Union Pacific Coal Company, through Mr. George Pryde and Mr. Eugene McAuliffe, have donated the ground on which the church is being erected and quite a large number of protestant people of other denominations have donated money towards the starting of this church.

A large attendance of people both from Rock Springs and the surrounding camps is expected to the ceremonies on Sunday.

September 26, 1925 Dedication by Metropolite John of New York, archbishop of NY and head of all Orthodox churches in America.

According to the news reports of the day, the newly dedicated church “has a membership of sixty-one Slavic and forty-seven Greeks” while the same report noted that “there are three hundred Greeks in Rock Springs and two hundred in Superior” as well as “Russian, Serbian, Montenegrin, Bulgarian, Roumanian and Dalmation [sic] people who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church.” Source: UP Coal Employes’ Magazine, October 1925, p. 20.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, any Orthodox Christian coming to America who was a church-goer – Serb, Russian, or Greek – was under the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church’s American Diocese. This arrangement was in place until 1917. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian Orthodox Church was legally dissolved, and a radical, Soviet-controlled movement called “The Living Church” was established in its place. All Church properties and assets, including icons, were confiscated by the new Soviet government.

Using collaborators in the “Living Church” movement, such as the defrocked American priest Kedrovsky, the Communist authorities in Russia attempted through the American courts to seize 116 Orthodox churches in the United States from the American diocese. Metropolite John of New York was the defrocked American priest John Kedrovsky. The court action resulted in small parishes deeding their properties to him, and then he, in turn, began selling or mortgaging their properties. Churches such as Rock Springs, Denver Transfiguration (Globeville), Pueblo, and other parishes underwent financial problems that took a long time to resolve. Some churches in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas were lost forever.

As a result of the political upheavals in Europe, many immigrants in the United States felt they didn’t have a church. As the Russian Orthodox Church came under Soviet control, many of the immigrant churches in American organized and severed ties to their homeland churches. Some Greek parishes in North America organized into a formal “Greek Archdiocese” on September 15, 1921.

Sources: Orthodox Church in America ( November 1, 2013. Chancellor’s Diary-Fr. John Jillions. http// Accessed 7/22/2014.

Orthodox Church in America ( Chapter 5, the Collapse of the Immigrant Church in “Orthodox Christians in North America”; Written by Mark Stokoe and the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky. Accessed 10/29/2015.

Fedec, Paul S., Very Reverend. Letter dated July 14, 2015 to Angelina Pryich in response to inquiry about Metropolite John.

Serb World U.S.A., March/April 2014. Vol. XXX, No. 4. “The Serbian Churches in Pittsburgh” by John G. Wuchenich. pp. 8-19 (specifically pp. 10-12).

October 1927 Church dedicated by Bishop Kalistos. Recently purchased by Greek Orthodox Church from Eastern Orthodox congregation

“Church Dedication Tonight” (Rock Springs Rocket, Friday, October 28, 1927) The Greek Orthodox Church, Rainbow avenue structure recently purchased from the Eastern Orthodox congregation, which will be dedicated tonight by Bishop Kalistos, who stopped in the the city this morning, en route to his headquarters in San Francisco. Bishop Kalistos is one of three bishops the church has in the United States, and has jurisdiction over the territory from Kansas City to Omaha. The public is invited to the service which begins at 7 o’clock tonight. Rev. Paparedis, minister of the local church, also will speak. Services will be in both Greek and English.

Respectfully compiled by Angelina Shuput Pryich. October 30, 2015.