New church being built in South Fayette
By Suzanne Elliott
For the Observer-Reporter
It is taking a little longer than expected, but St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church should be in its new $2 million home in South Fayette Township by the beginning of the new year.
“We are taking it as it comes,” the Rev. Jason DelVitto said of his parish’s soon-to-be home. “This is a process, but we can learn to make better decisions because of it.”
The parish, which has been on Dewey Avenue in Bridgeville since the 1950s, had hoped to be in its new location last spring. But hiccups often associated with new construction pushed completion and occupation to early 2017.
The new church sits on 13 acres it owns off Washington Pike, across from Giant Eagle. Church members bought the land back in 1935 for $800 for a parish cemetery. DelVitto said by having the cemetery adjacent to the church, a sense of family is created. In the Orthodox church, members believe the dead are always present and nearby.
“It is also an ancient Christian tradition,” he said.
The new church, which will be 15,000 square feet when completed, was approved by the congregation in 2005. DelVitto said the 5,000-square-foot Dewey Avenue church will be put on the market later this year, with the asking price for the church and adjacent education building set at $210,000.
The pews in the current location will be used in the new church, with seating for 230 people. Also, the 13 stained-glass windows at the Dewey Avenue church are in the process of being removed and transported to the new location.
The sanctuary will feature a 20-foot domed ceiling with an icon of Christ, who will be depicted holding the Gospel and giving a blessing. The interior will feature Old Testament prophets, DelVitto said. And the altar area will have a 49-foot wide, hand-carved icon screen.
Other features are a kitchen and a social hall that can accommodate 330 people, along with four classrooms and offices, all of which are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The outside of the building is a stone façade, complete with two large bell towers. There will be 51 parking spaces.
The project has been funded completely through donations and St. George’s annual Mediterranean Food Festival.