Saturday, November 28, 2009

Orthodox Slavs

Carpatho-Russians came to Globeville for the same reasons as the other Eastern European immigrants: religious freedom and economic opportunity. Living in territory ruled by Roman Catholic Austria or Protestant forces in Hungary, the Carpatho-Russian's Orthodox religion was suppressed and they were treated as second-class citizens. Hearing of jobs in Colorado's mines, smelters and railroads, and of a climate similar to the Carpathian or Tatra mountains of home, many flocked to Globeville in the 1880s. Helen Kohut Capron recalled, “My grandfather Peter got a job at the smelter and it must have been a difficult job because it made him sick. The children would come home from school and find him lying on the couch in pain."
Help for men and their families came from the ethnic fraternal lodges. In Globeville, the oldest of these Carpatho-Russian lodges was the Russian Orthodox Society Transfiguration of Christ, connected to the Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society founded in 1895 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In addition to providing insurance and moral support, the society’s goals included “the spread and preservation of the Orthodox Faith in America” and members of this lodge founded Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral in 1898. The church has survived and prospered for over 100 years and received state historic designation in 1998.
The church about 1902, photo courtesy of Steve Klimoski.
One of the Orthodox Fraternal Societies, Sjedinjenih about 1905, photo courtesy of Steve Machuga.

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