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Orthodox recall a saint's legacy

Written by Peter Smith on .

rsz img 5210bBeing new to the region, if not to the religion beat, many of my assignments have enabled me to discover new areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Earlier this week I was able to visit the Laurel Highlands for the first time -- and definitely not the last time. 

I was there on a cool but beautiful afternoon for the burial of the nation's longest-serving Orthodox bishop, the Antiochian Metropolitan Philip Saliba. He was buried at Antiochian Village, the camp and conference center in Westmoreland County whose founding he oversaw as part of his mission to transplant and extend the immigrant church in American soil.

While I was there, I saw a relative rarity in these parts: the tomb of a saint. The Antiochian Orthodox honor their first American bishop, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, and after Metropolitan Saliba's burial in a small, shaded cemetery at Antiochian Village, several stopped by St. Raphael's tomb to pay respects.

St. Raphael came here in the late 19th century under the auspices of Russian Orthodox bishops to help organize the Arab Christian immigrants who were arriving in North America -- fleeing Ottoman persecution and seeking better economic opportunity.

Most of them were Orthodox. When they got here they worked hard to build churches and sacrificed. It was the Russian Orthodox Church that was trying to care for them."

Russian Orthodox prelates arranged to bring Raphael here and eventually ordained him a bishop.

"His story is remarkable because he basically set it as his mission to find every Middle Eastern Orthodox person in North America," said the Very Rev. George Kevorkian, pastor of St. Ignatius Church in Englewood, N.J., and hierarchical assistant for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. "Wherever they were, he sought them out by train, by horse carriage; he walked. There's a story that's told that when he got somewhere in the Midwest by train rather than going to sleep he went wandering asking everybody he saw are there any Arabic-speaking people in the area who are Christians, and he found three and spent the rest of the night talking to them, assisting them. That's the heart he had. We call him the shepherd of the lost sheep of North America, because without his ministry, who knows what would have happened to those people?"

st raphael of brooklyn arabic.previewBy the time of his death in 1915, there were 29 Antiochian parishes in North America. There are now about 275, according to the church, many launched under the recent half-century tenure of Metropolitan Philip.

Among those visiting his tomb on Monday were the Rev. Gregory Murphy of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Geneva, N.Y. -- a parish founded by St. Raphael.

Father Murphy said St. Raphael was known not only as a "good shepherd" but also a "peacemaker."

"There are stories that he would go into a community and maybe families were not getting along with each other, and he worked out their problems," said Father Murphy, a convert to Orthodoxy. Speaking after Metropolitan Philip's burial, he said the church has long had "these great saints that came up organically. ... We see one today, maybe in the making."

 

 

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Bloomfield planning Saturday market

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

 

 
As part of its rebirth with funding from the state Neighborhood Partnership Program, the Bloomfield Development Corp. will be adding a seasonal amenity to the neighborhood in the form of a Saturday market starting May 31.
 
It will be held weekly until Nov. 1 in a parking lot at 5050 Liberty Ave. The scene will include locally grown and made produce and products and entertainment. The BDC is sponsoring this event with West Penn Hospital, which owns the parking lot.
 
The market will open at 8 a.m. and close at 1 p.m.
 
“The Bloomfield Saturday Market will be a great social event, while also providing residents with the opportunity to purchase good, healthy food,” said BDC board chairman Joey Vallarian. “Community health, both the health of the brick and mortar neighborhood, as well as the health of it’s residents, is very important to the BDC, and we think the Bloomfield Saturday Market will help accomplish these goals.”
 
The BDC hired Christina Howell to be the market program manager. She moved her focus to Bloomfield from Mount Washington, where she was involved in planning and outreach for the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation. She was previously a manager of Pedal Pittsburgh and served as president of the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library’s board.
 
“Christina’s experience managing a variety of events coupled with her passions for Bloomfield and community building make her a natural partner for the BDC as we launch the first year of the Bloomfield Saturday Market,” said Shelly Majcen, executive director of the BDC.
 
Farmers and vendors can apply to participate in the Bloomfield Saturday Market by visiting www.bloomfieldsaturdaymarket.org or contacting Christina Howell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 412-708-1277.
 

 

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Brushfire snarls Parkway West commuter traffic more than normal

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

 

 
Correction appended: A previous version of this story, as well as tweets included above, described the fire as being on the Parkway East. It is, in fact, the Parkway West.

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Peduto sends out April Fools' Day schedule

Written by Mila Sanina on .

Honoring the April Fools' Day tradition, the internet world is having fun today: Google launched Google Naps, Domino's unveiled edible pizza box and Bill Peduto issued a special April Fools' Day edition of his schedule that includes Breakfast with Luke Ravenstahl, a daily swim in the Mon and a press conference on the Puffy Vest Initiative. 

His full schedule is below. And if you are wondering what he is actually doing today, check out a special app, "Where is Bill Peduto?" built by our own Andrew McGill.

MAYOR WILLIAM PEDUTO'S SCHEDULE,APRIL 1, 2014
 
Sent 04/01/2014 @ 8:58 am
Breakfast with Luke Ravenstahl
Time: 6 a.m.
 
...cause they are friends, right? ;)
 
Press conference on Puffy Vest Initiative
Time: 7 a.m.
 
This is probably what he'll wear 
 
billyvest
 
City neighborhood tour driving street sweeper
Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  
 
billyvest
 
Daily swim in the Mon
Time: 3 p.m. 
 
Fishing with County Executive Fitzgerald at the Point
Time: 4 p.m.
 
Fundraiser for Jack Wagner for Governor 2022 
Time: 5 p.m. 

 

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Watch the Hays bald eagle cam installation

Written by Ethan Magoc on .

Hays eagle cam Pix Controller

(Courtesy of PixController)

The well-known bald eagles in Hays first made their nest in the current spot in the fall of 2013, and that inspired the collaboration between the Pennsylvania Game Commission and PixController.

The partnership resulted in a devoted online following and interest in the eagles' nest building and egg laying/sitting activities — all made possible by a 24-hour a day camera.

Now, you can see what the camera looks like (above), how it first went up and why it's able to operate around the clock (solar panels) thanks to a short montage PixController uploaded on Wednesday.

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