Holy Trinity Orthodox closes doors
For the first time in about 120 years, there were no official church services held Nativity Eve, Dec. 24, 2020, nor for Nativity of Christ, Dec. 25, 2020, at Holy Trinity Orthodox Catholic Church, 1023 Fifth St., North Catasauqua.
The church officially closed Aug. 30, 2020, according to its website, holytrinityoca.org. Reportedly, it was partially a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The website urges parishioners and website visitors to attend services at another Orthodox church in the Lehigh Valley.
The church suspended in-person services in March 2020 but reopened June 7-Aug. 30, 2020, after church leaders assembled a safety plan for congregants attending Divine Liturgy.
The Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches broke apart in 1054 in what is called the Great Schism. Religious and political conflicts between these churches over centuries culminated in the split.
In its self-described history, the Holy Trinity church began developing around 1891 as more people emigrated to the United States from Russia, the Austrian-Hungary empire, Poland and Slavic-speaking European countries.
These immigrants arrived in America - and, in this case, the Lehigh Valley - seeking economic opportunity in the iron industry, fledgling steel industry, garment factories and other manufacturing companies.
The church cornerstone was laid in 1899. After construction completion, it opened for services. For many years, the church enjoyed success serving its parishioners and the North Catasauqua community.
A challenge it and many other local churches have experienced is keeping younger generations involved in the church.
The Holy Trinity church building was an iconic work of art created by industrious European immigrants for more than a century. The church community inspired several generations in faith, family and hard work, continuing to build the foundation of America.
The building was sold in 2020, according to local officials. The sale marks the end of an era in North Catasauqua. The memories and experiences of the parishioners will live on in their stories, writings and online footprint.