Events & Photos

Upcoming public events at the monastery will be posted here as well as photos from various monastery events.

Feast of St. Herman (Dec. 13, 2019)

posted Dec 19, 2019, 9:46 AM by Mother Seraphima
click on photo to see album

The Feast of St. Herman brought several clergy from the OCA’s Southwest Deanery of the Archdiocese of Western PA together to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy. Their Dean, Fr. Andrew P. Nelko (St. Nicholas Church, Weirton, WV), was joined by Fr. John Parker (St. Nicholas Church, Donora, PA), Fr. Stephan Gresh (Holy Resurrection Church, Belle Vernon, PA), Fr. John Kotalik (St. John the Baptist Church, Canonsburg, PA), and Dn. David Rostcheck (Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church, Monongahela, PA).  Fr. Andrew and the two Fr. Johns, are recent graduates of St. Tikhon’s seminary. Mother Christophora asked each of them to share something about their parish and their journey to the priesthood at the end of the Liturgy. They joined in for a joyful singing of our St. Herman’s hymn during the veneration of St. Herman’s relic and icon.

Ordination of Fr. Michael Sochka

posted Sep 12, 2019, 6:34 PM by Mother Seraphima

Protodeacon Michael Sochka was ordained to the priesthood at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Elwood City, PA by His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and the Archdiocese Western Pennsylvania on Saturday, August 17. Fr. Michael attended St. Vladimir’s Seminary and served as a deacon for 22 years, most of those years at Holy Transfiguration Chapel at Princeton University, until he relocated to Pittsburgh. His wife, Matushka Leslie, also attended SVS. Father Michael is the son of the late Archpriest John Sochka and Matushka Marie, who was tonsured Nun Xenia at the Ellwood City monastery. Over 100 guests and numerous clergy were in attendance for the joyous and blessed event. Father Michael served his first Divine Liturgy at the monastery the following morning along with a 40-day memorial for Archimandrite Pitirim.

(click on photo to see album)

Archimandrite Pitirim, Memory Eternal!

posted Jul 13, 2019, 8:32 AM by Mother Seraphima

Father Pitirim (Peter) Stehnach, age 90, fell asleep in the Lord on the evening of July 10. Having served the Orthodox Church in America faithfully for over 50 years as a parish priest at St. Gregory, Wappingers Falls, NY; St. Andrew, Lyndora, PA; Holy Transfiguration, Steubenville, OH; Holy Resurrection, Forest Hills, PA; St. John the Baptist, Black Lick, PA, from where he retired on his 85th birthday. Father also served as a personal aide and driver for the late Archbishop Kyrill of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania for over 20 years.

Born in Conemaugh, PA to the late Michael and Mary (Glova) Stehnach, Father was the sixth of nine children. He served seven years in the US Navy and Marines, after which he attended St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary in New York City. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1963 and later took monastic vows. He was raised to the rank of Archimandrite on his 25th anniversary of 

Father retired to Ellwood City, PA attending divine services at Transfiguration Monastery and St. Elias Parish as long as his health permitted. 

He is survived by brothers Paul and Steven Stehnach and several nieces and nephews, as well as numerous spiritual children. He was greatly appreciated for his practical and loving spiritual guidance.

The funeral for a monastic will be be conducted at Transfiguration Monastery Sunday evening, July 14, at 6:00 pm, preceded by viewing beginning at 4:00. Divine Liturgy and burial will be held at the monastery Monday, July 15, beginning at 10:00. 

Blessing of Ellwood City area fire trucks

posted May 29, 2019, 9:36 AM by Mother Seraphima

On Tuesday, May 21, local area Fire Departments came to the monastery to familiarize the firefighters with our property and to hold and training session. At the conclusion of the training, prayers were read for the firefighters and each local company was blessed along with their firetrucks. An article in our local paper can be found here:

Our photos can be found here:

Holy Week and Pascha 2019

posted Apr 30, 2019, 12:16 PM by Mother Seraphima
Click on the Photo above to view photos from Holy Week and Pascha 2019.

Feast of the Three Hierarchs

posted Feb 7, 2019, 7:49 AM by Mother Seraphima   [ updated Feb 7, 2019, 7:50 AM ]

From the OCA website:

The sisterhood of the Monastery of the Transfiguration hosted area clergy on Clergy Appreciation Day, which coincided with the celebration of the Feast of the Three Hierarchs on January 30, 2019.

“Due to the severe cold, weather and health issues, a number of clergy had to cancel their participation,” said Mother Christophora, Abbess.  “But those who attended experienced a gathering of prayer and fellowship for our beloved clergy and the opportunity for them to serve together and discuss common areas of interest, as well as the needs and challenges for churches in our area.”

The day opened with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, at which Archpriest Andrew D. Nelko, Campbell, OH, who was celebrating the 31st anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, presided.  Concelebrating were Archpriests Gregory Kevin Long, New Castle, PA and Paisius McGrath, Lyndora, PA, and Priests John Schmidt, Ellwood City, PA; Seraphim Moslener, Beaver Falls, PA, who delivered the homily; and Andrew P. Nelko, Weirton, WV.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, a Memorial Service was celebrated for Matushka Juliana Schmemann on the second anniversary of her repose.  She was remembered, along with her husband, Protopresbyter Alexander, on the anniversary of their wedding.

A luncheon prepared by the sisterhood was enjoyed after the Liturgy.  The clergy also received gifts from the sisters in appreciation for their ministries and assistance to the monastery.

“Following the luncheon, a profitable and interesting discussion took place among the clergy and the sisters as we looked at ways to better serve our area population—ways to minister both to those who attend our churches and to those who are yet unfamiliar with Orthodoxy,” said Mother Christophora.  “We also discussed involving youth in parish service and shared ways to widen the social and spiritual horizons of our local parish communities.  We observe and experience a general sense of defeat in our geographical area, and we discussed how this effects our parishes as well.”

The clergy deeply appreciated the gathering and the hospitality of the sisterhood and look forward to their next opportunity to be together at the monastery.

Nativity 2018 - Theophany 2019

posted Jan 29, 2019, 12:48 PM by Mother Seraphima

Click on the photo below to see photos from the Nativity, New Year's, and Theophany feasts at the monastery.

Pan-Orthodox Choir of Pittsburgh - Concert - November 4

posted Oct 27, 2018, 1:02 PM by Mother Seraphima

The Pan-Orthodox Choir of Pittsburgh will be performing a concert on November 4  at 4:00 pm at the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church (615 Grant Street, Pittsburgh PA 15219) in downtown Pittsburgh. This beautiful church is one of the oldest in Pittsburgh (founded in 1837) and is magnificently appointed. This majestic space will make for a beautiful concert. 

A few of the sisters are members of this Pan-Orthodox Choir of Pittsburgh and we invite our monastery friends in the Pittsburgh are to attend and enjoy the beautiful hymns of the various ethnic traditions within Orthodoxy. 

Our director, Archpriest Thomas Soroka had the great pleasure of being on WQED-FM with legendary host Jim Cunningham in an interview about the upcoming concert. You can listen to the interview here

A link to a poster for the concert is below for you to print and share.

Monastery Celebration - 50th Anniversary of the Altar Consecration - September 28, 2018

posted Oct 12, 2018, 7:25 AM by Mother Seraphima   [ updated Oct 12, 2018, 7:28 AM ]

A celebration marking the 50th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA, was held on Friday, September 28, 2018.  The event brought to a close the year-long celebration of the monastery’s anniversary.  

His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate and His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey, concelebrated the anniversary Divine Liturgy in the monastery chapel.  Many area clergy and faithful attended the Divine Liturgy, during which prayers were offered for the repose of the late founding Abbess, Mother Alexandra, the former Princess of Romania, and the faithful departed who helped her fulfill her dream to establish an English-language women’s community.  A Service of Thanksgiving also was celebrated, after which a festive luncheon was served.

After the celebration of Vespers on Friday evening, a live performance of “Ileana, Princess of Romania” was presented.  Based on Mother Alexandra’s book, I Live Again, the one-woman play was presented by the acclaimed Romanian actress and playwright Liana Ceterchi.  Throughout the month of September, the play—produced by the Women’s Theatre Association, Bucharest, Romania, with support in the US and Canada of the Romanian Cultural Association and the monastery—was well received by audiences in Cleveland, OH; Philadelphia; Belmont, MA; Montreal; Toronto; Southfield, MI; Chicago; and Colleyville, TX.

Click on the photo below to see more.

Photo credit: Victor Lutes

Article found on

Live Performances - "Ileana - Princess of Romania"

posted Sep 11, 2018, 6:59 PM by Mother Seraphima   [ updated Sep 27, 2018, 9:42 AM ]

Around the US - upcoming performances of "Ileana - Princess of Romania" (a play based on the book I Live Again). by Romanian actress Liana Ceterchi. One of the live performances will be held in conjunction with our final 50th Anniversary event. See previous post.

Dear Monastery Friends,

We would like to invite you to our final 50th Anniversary event to be held at our Monastery on Friday, September 28. This day marks the actual anniversary of the consecration of the Monastery in 1968. 

Our Beloved Archbishop Nathaniel and visiting hierarchs will be with us to celebrate Holy Liturgy at 9:30. A festive luncheon will follow at noon. Kindly RSVP for the luncheon. 

That evening, at 6:30, we will host a live performance of the life of Princess Ileana of Romania (our Mother Alexandra). The acclaimed actress will present the play in Romanian, but English subtitles will be provided. 

Because seating is very limited at the Monastery, we ask that you inform us of your intentions to be with us that evening. For our Ohio friends, please note on the attached poster the performance scheduled for Cleveland. Another performance will be in Detroit. 

Posters are attached for your convenience and for sharing the events with others. Click on the poster below to save a pdf.

Please also note that we had originally scheduled an Open House for Sept. 29, but an Ellwood City community festival that same day has caused us to CANCEL the Open House. 

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

In Christ, 
Mother Christophora

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