In the late 1800s and early 1900s, immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe came to Monongalia County to take jobs in industry. Workers from places such as Czechoslovakia, Greece, and western Ukraine lived in Sabraton and worked in the mines and in the American Sheet and Tin Plate factory.
There is no neighborhood today where we can hear Polish spoken or order steaming bowls of borscht garnished with sour cream, but several places of worship in town carry the legacy: among them, St. Mary’s Holy Protection Byzantine Church in Sabraton, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church on Spruce Street downtown, and this one, St. Mary’s Orthodox Catholic Church, near the Monongahela River in Westover.
St. Mary’s in Westover was built in 1923 following a split among Orthodox Catholic Christians in Sabraton. “They had come to America to be free from religious persecution … now they needed a church to fulfill their dreams,” reads a 75-year diamond jubilee history. The church displays the three-barred Orthodox cross and is a parish of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. Onion domes top only a few of the state’s Orthodox churches, and the gold leaf-covered domes of St. Mary’s are particularly elaborate.
Then & Now is published in partnership with WVU Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center. wvrhc.lib.wvu.edu