Events & Photos

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

Monastery Photo Album — 2024

In Memoriam: Mother Elizabeth — January 5, 2024

Mother Elizabeth, née Helen Mann Lutz, age 96, fell asleep in the Lord just prior to the Liturgy on the Feast of Theophany, January 6, 2024, at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA, where she has lived and served for the past 43 years.

Born May 15, 1927 in Methuen, Massachusetts, she earned Bachelors and Masters degrees, as well as an RN nursing license. She was a talented writer, poet and pianist. The book she wrote and illustrated for her own children many years ago, Micha Mouse, was recently published and is sold in the monastery bookstore.

At the age of 53, she discovered the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith, was baptized and soon after entered as a novice at the monastery in Ellwood City. From her first day in the sisterhood she served faithfully as the aide and driver for the founding abbess, Mother Alexandra, until the Eldress’ repose in January 1991. Mother Elizabeth professed monastic vows on November 21, 1984, under the Mantia of Mother Alexandra, receiving the name Elizabeth, after the grand-duchess and new martyr of Russia.

She was a member of the Executive Committee and Spiritual Council of the monastery since 1987, assisting Mother Abbess Christophora in administrative decisions and spiritual oversight of the sisterhood. She was gifted with a keen sense of spiritual discernment, a motherly instinct, as well as clever wit.

Other obediences at the monastery included serving in the altar as ecclesiarch, tending flower gardens, caring for the cemetery, nursing sick sisters and, her greatest pride, emptying trash baskets several times a day throughout the monastery complex. This activity kept her active and mobile to the very end. She was also a faithful correspondent, keeping in touch with her own children and grandchildren, as well as a number of spiritual daughters.

The monastic sisterhood will remember Mother Elizabeth for her dedication, encouragement and her way with words. Her hearing and eyesight failed greatly in later life, but she continued to faithfully attend all the divine services and always knew what each sister was up to, both day and night.

She is survived by her three children, Melinde, Roald, and Seabright, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents, Charles and Ruth Mann, and her brother and sister.

The Funeral Service will take place on Monday, January 8, at noon, followed by interment in the monastery cemetery at 2:00. She will lie in state in the monastery church until the time of her burial.

The monastery sisterhood is deeply grateful to all the ministering clergy, the medical care directed by Dr. Dn. Michael Wusylko, Dr. Anastasia Neil, and the staff of the Teolis Funeral Home for their compassionate care and kind assistance.


Pilgrimage 2022

Information on our Annual Pilgrimage and Patronal Feast day can be found here.

Holy Week and Pascha 2022

April 28, 2022

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! Please enjoy viewing some of our photos from Holy Week and Pascha this year. We were blessed to have Fr. Alexander Rentel here to serve for us during these holy days along with his family. Please click on the photo below to see the entire photo album. We extend our gratitude to all the clergy who served the divine services during the Lenten, Holy Week, and Paschal season and all the faithful who prayed with us here and online.


1-Year Memorial for Metroplitan Theodosius

October 19, 2021

The first anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Theodosius was remembered with a memorial service at his grave.  May his memory be eternal!

Photos from Holy Week and Pascha 2021

Click on the photo to see the entire photo album.

Funeral Services for Fr. Peter Pawlack

Archpriest Peter Pawlack

April 19, 2021Archpriest Peter Pawlack

Warren, OH [OCA]

Archpriest Peter Pawlack fell asleep in the Lord on April 19, 2021.

Father Peter was born in Mayfield, PA the son of the late Julia (Hadginske) and Peter J. Pawlack. A younger sister and only sibling recently fell asleep in the Lord.

He graduated from (Eastside) New Jersey High School. He attended Rollins College in Winter Park, FL and subsequently transferred to Rider College (now Rider University) in Lawrenceville, NJ to continue his undergraduate studies. He received his undergraduate degree in Commerce and Industrial Management from Rider College. In the fall of 1962 he entered Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY.

In June of 1964 he and the former Barbara Rugala were married by the late Archpriest Dimitri Ressetar, Archpriest John Meyendorff and Archpriest Paul Shafran at Saint John’s Orthodox Church, Mayfield, PA.

On October 10, 1964 Father Peter was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Chapel by the late Archbishop John of San Francisco. Four months later on February 15th he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary in New York City by the late Archbishop Ireney of Boston. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in the spring of 1965 he was assigned to Saint Mary’s Church in Waterbury, CT.

While serving as pastor of Saint Mary’s Church, Father Peter advocated the use of the English language in an era when Church Slavonic was still quite prevalent. He served as Spiritual Advisor to the Atlantic District Eastern Orthodox Christian Education Association and the Atlantic District FROC, Secretary of the Diocese of New England and University Chaplain for the New England Diocese.

He returned to Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in 1967-68 and completed requirements for the Master of Divinity degree which was awarded in May of 1968.

In June of 1968, Father Peter was assigned to Saint John the Baptist Church, Warren, Ohio where he served as pastor for 38 years.

During his pastorate at Saint John’s Church, Father Peter has served as: Chairman of the Department of Church School Programs for the Chicago-Minneapolis Diocese, Member of the Midwest Diocesan Council, Member of Saint Joseph Hospital’s Pastoral Advisory Council, Member of the Warren Police/Clergy Crisis Intervention Team and Vice-President of the Warren Clergy Association.

He has served as Secretary of the OCA Pension Board, Chairman of the Cleveland Deanery Publications Committee and was a member of the Howland Clergy Association.

Father Peter was elevated to Archpriest in 1977 and awarded the Jeweled Cross by the Synod of Bishops in 1990.

Prior to his retirement Father Peter served as Dean of the Ohio Deanery from 2004 to 2006. He retired from Saint John the Baptist Church in August of 2006. During his retirement years he was a substitute priest as needed in parishes of the Ohio Deanery and for the last six years served Sunday Liturgy at the Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara of 56 years, two sons, Peter III and Gregory (Ruth Ann Bowers) and two grandchildren. His parents and only sister preceded him in death.

Final arrangements are by Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel, 1884 North Road, Warren, OH. All services will be held at the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration with the committal service at the Monastery Cemetery.

The nuns will receive Father Peter’s earthly body at the monastery Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM. He will lie in state in the monastery chapel from Tuesday evening until his burial on Friday.

Public services and visitation times are as follows:

Wednesday, April 21

10:00 AM Pre-Sanctified Liturgy with visitations until 2:00 PM.

Thursday, April 22

6:30 PM A Panikhida will be served by the clergy, choir and faithful of Saint John’s Parish, with visitations until 8:00 PM.

Friday, April 23

9:00 AM Pre-Sanctified Liturgy

12:00 PM Funeral Service and committal.

Clergy and faithful who wish to attend any of the above services, should call the monastery to make a reservation, 724-758-4002. Attendance will be limited due to Covid restrictions. Masks and distancing will be required.

All services will be live streamed on the monastery YouTube channel.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations to be sent to the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, 321 Monastery Lane, Ellwood City, PA 16117.

May Father Peter’s memory be eternal!


Liturgy and burial service for His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius

The Liturgy and burial service for His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, will be served in the OUTDOOR church at the monastery beginning at 10:00 Friday, September 23. Viewing will be from 9:30-10:00. 

Important Notice: The Liturgy and burial service for Metropolitan Theodosius will be professionally streamed via the OCA. 

Please see

the OCA YouTube page: 

or the OCA facebook page:

Attendees will be asked to sign in, wear masks and socially distance.

A mercy meal served in the outdoor gazebo will follow the committal service, 

with hierarchs and clergy dining in the monastery refectory.

Reservations are not required but would be helpful for planning purposes.

Please call 724-758-4002

or email:

Metropolitan Tikhon Visits Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration



From Saturday, August 8-Sunday, August 9, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon visited the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA, in order to celebrate the feast of Saint Herman of Alaska, and ordain Subdeacon John Thetford to the holy diaconate. On Saturday evening, His Beatitude presided at the celebration of the festal vigil. At the conclusion of vigil, he presented the Very Reverend Abbess Christophora a primatial gramota honoring and thanking her and the Sisterhood for their internet ministry work. His words appear below.

We celebrate today, with festive cheer and glorious hymns, a simple monk. We honor today, with loving veneration and songs of praise, a humble, quiet man.

This simple monk, this humble, quiet man is known, to those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to discern, as the Venerable Herman of Alaska. How remarkable that such a person, little recognized by the world and lacking in external distinctions, is being celebrated 226 years after the

beginning of his missionary activity on this continent, 184 years after his death, and particularly today, on the 50th anniversary of his glorification as a saint by the Orthodox Church.

He was clearly an intelligent man with some degree of education, as one can tell from his letters. He was physically strong and enjoyed good health, as we hear in the stories of his labors. He had the opportunity to travel to far off cities and further his education. He could have chosen any of a variety of careers, and become successful.

But rather than settling for such opportunities, the humble Herman laid aside the love of self, put all of his trust in God, and devoted himself to the search for the one thing needful. He made a conscious choice, not dictated by necessity or passionate desire, to struggle in order to acquire the blessings of the Kingdom of Heaven, not as promises to be fulfilled in the distant future but as realities to be experienced in this very life.

Anyone who has made this choice, such as the monastics here at the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, understands both the difficulty of the struggle and the joy of the experience. They understand it because the way we draw closer to a saintly person is the opposite of

the way we draw near to a worldly person.

It is, in many ways, much easier to draw near to a saint than to draw near to a prominent worldly person. To approach, to imitate, or even to speak with a famous or successful worldly person, one often has to rise to their exalted state of fame, fortune, or expertise: a small effort at any of those things often seems futile.

But to approach a saint, one does not rise, but rather goes down to try to plumb the depths of their humility. And even the smallest step or effort in this direction, that is to descend towards the profound humility of the saints, connects us to them and unites us to the One who is the source of that humility, our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is what monastics try to do. Forsaking worldly goals, they have decided to come here and live the monastic life, seeking communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, striving for his humility through obedience and receiving his love through their life in community and their ministry of hospitality.

Indeed, monastics love the people who live in the world so much that they die to “this world”, in imitation of God’s Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was given up for the salvation of the world.

Following the example of Saint Herman, the nuns of this monastery have always reached out to the community and world surrounding them with love and understanding.

Since its inception in 1968, this monastery has used the local language, made connections with the local community, and been a model community of Orthodox unity in America.

In more recent years, this monastery became one of the first Orthodox communities to engage Orthodox Christians nationally and internally via consistent live streaming of the Divine Services.

When the Coronavirus pandemic suddenly fell upon our country in March, many of our churches had no capability to stream, and many of our faithful were unable to participate in the services.

This is why thousands of Orthodox Christians around the country flocked to this monastery’s live stream, and found solace in joining their prayers alongside those of the nuns.

Indeed it seemed that the monastery church quickly became the largest live gathering, albeit a remote gathering, of Orthodox Christians anywhere in the country.

This unique ministry does seem to be a fitting imitation of Saint Herman of Alaska, for Saint Herman constantly connected with those far and wide through his unceasing holy prayers.

And so, it is fitting that on this feast today of St. Herman’s glorification, I present to Mother Abbess Christophora and the Sisterhood of this Holy Monastery a Primatial gramota in honor of their dedicated live streaming of the services, particularly in these last few months and as an encouragement to continue to offer, not only this liturgical service but to faithfully persevere in their life of prayer which sustains all of us.

May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through the prayers of our Holy Father Herman of Alaska, always protect and preserve this Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration!

On Sunday morning, His Beatitude presided at the celebration of the festal Divine Liturgy. During the liturgy, he ordained Subdeacon John Thetford. Concelebrating with His Beatitude were Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, and Priest John Ketchum, Proistamenos of Kimissis tis Theotokou Parish, Racine, Wisconson, and Dn. John’s father-in-law, and Protodeacon John Oleynik.

Following the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude met with His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Archpriest William Evansky, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania, and discussed matters facing the Orthodox Church in America and the diocese. Additionally, he was able to meet with Dn. Peter Ilchuk, All-American Council Manager, and receive an status update on the All-American Council, scheduled for July 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. His Beatitude also met with Archpriest Thomas Soroka, Program Manager for the Departments of the Orthodox Church in America, and discussed the work of the OCA Departments. In the evening, His Beatitude had dinner with Mother Christophora and the Sisterhood of the Monastery.

More Photos from the monastery can be found here.

Photos from Holy Week, Pascha and Pentecost 2020