St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church is located in McKeesport, Pennsylvania which is approximately 13 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. The McKeesport, Duquesne, and neighboring towns are known to have rich ethnic and cultural diversity and are now growing after experiencing decades of population decline due primarily to the loss of manufacturing industries along the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers. Thanks only to God's Blessings, our Parish is experiencing growth along with the surrounding region all while still embracing our Serbian Culture, such as the Serbian Slava and expressing our Orthodox Christian Beliefs.
Church Address: 901 Hartman St, McKeesport, PA 15132
Driving directions to our Parish
The history of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church began within the neighboring communities of McKeesport and Duquesne Pennsylvania at the dawn of the twentieth century. After a decade of traveling to a Russian Orthodox Church in Wood Run for Holy Liturgy and the sacraments, a group of Serbian and Russian immigrants jointly purchased a Protestant church building on Hazel Street in McKeesport. The sales transaction for $5,000.00 was signed on October 15, 1900 with both parties agreeing that Father Vladimir Kalnev, whose wife was Serbian, would be their parish priest. As the interior of the Church was being transformed to meet Orthodox liturgical requirements, a disagreement arose between the Serbs and Russians concerning which Saint to whom their new parish should be dedicated. The Serbians were in the majority and the Church was dedicated to St. Sava - Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of the Serbian People. The Russians withdrew and the membership decided to find a Serbian Orthodox priest. In 1902, Rev. Elijah Komadina became the first of twenty priests to serve the St. Sava parish. The next three decades witnessed the arrival and departure of many priests, sometimes with alarming frequency.
In October 1934, Father Milan G. Popovich was elected as the parish priest and arrived with his family on November 1, 1934. He remained until his retirement in 1971. Fr. Popovich is recognized even today for his many contributions to church life as we know it today. Under his guidance, St. Sava prospered spiritually, socially and academically. Volumes have been written about his impressive history as a choir director, educator, scholar and spiritual leader. "Popo" was the inspirational force in all phases of building our present Church, located at Hartman Street in McKeesport. His deeds are legendary, his memory eternal.
Today, our parish is under the loving Pastoral Leadership of the Very Rev. Stavrofor Stevan (Stevo) Rocknage, who came to us in 1988. Fr. Stevo is the 20th priest in our illustrious history, and only +Fr. Popovich has been here longer. Fr. Stevo, a former Professor of Psychology and Therapist, has tried to utilize his talents to help bring the faithful of St. Sava to Christ, and has helped re-energize the Youth of the Parish, and enlighten many of us through his Education Classes, and Parish Renewal Days.
In October 2001, the Church-School community of St. Sava celebrated is 100th Anniversary. Ours is the oldest parish in the Eastern United States and is the third oldest Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States. In October, 2011, we celebrated our 110th Anniversary by having our new Icon-Windows blessed by our Bishop Mitrophan.
Celebrating the blessings of our long history, our community continues to thrive, ready to meet the challenges of the 21st Century with an attitude of youthful optimism and a commitment to spiritual renewal and growth in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Priests who have served our Church
|01. Father Vladimir Kalnev||June 1901-December 1902|
|02. Father Elijah Komadina||January 1902-April 1904|
|03. Father Joanijike Kijko||June 1904-November 1904|
|04. Iguman Hadzi Teofil Stefanovich||December 1904-January 1905|
|05. Father Sava Vojvodich||February 1905-September 1905|
|06. Father Nestor Vukicevich||January 1906-August 1911|
|07. Father Dusan Bogich||September 1911-March 1913|
|08. Father Joanijike Kukoljevich||May 1913-September 1914|
|09. Hadzi Joakim Bjedov||October 1914-April 1916|
|10. Father Jovan Smiljanovich||May 1916-February 1925|
|11. Father Chariton Marjanovich||March 1925-May 1926|
|12. Father Boro Petrovich||August 1926-August 1930|
|13. Iguman Nikodim Stojakovich||September 1930-September 1931|
|14. Father Dragoljub Jovanovich||October 1931-June 1932|
|15. St. Bogoljub Gakovich (Hieromartyr)||January 1933-June 1934|
|16. Father Milan G. Popovich||November 1934-January 1971|
|17. Father Vladimir Milinkovich||February 1971-July 1974|
|18. Father Svetislav Mirolovich||December 1974-July 1977|
|19. Father Miloje Raicevic||August 1977-July 1988|
|20. Father Stevan G. Rocknage||August 1988-Present|
The Artwork of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church
In 1957, the church board commissioned artist Alexander Dzigurski (1911-1995) to create six expansive paintings to fill the east and west walls of the nave. He completed the paintings in the McKeesport church in 1959. The article (written by Dot Ikach) describes the artwork and gives a brief biography of the famous artist. Dzigurski Artwork (Read More)