The Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Catholicon

Russian Orthodox Church in Benld, Illinois [ Log In ]


Храм в честь Успения Божией Матери Benld

300 North Fourth Street,
Benld, Illinois 62009

Почтовый адрес:
PO Box
304 North Fourth Street
Benld, Illinois 62009-0201

Тел: (217) 835-2202
Факс: (217) 835-2202


Павел Уотерс
Протоиерей Павел Уотерс

304 North Fourth Street,
Benld, IL 62009-1306
Тел: (217) 556-3728 

КАЛЕНДАРЬ: григорианский

Beginings of the Orthodox Community in Benld ... A Brief History

        A chance meeting on a train traveling westward early in the second year after the turn of the century persuaded Mr. Andrew Sosenko, who was hoping to find employment and a home for his family in Montana or Wyoming, to come to this area instead. What he found was a working coal mine, with plans for two additional mines to be opened. He shared his information with his relatives and friends in Europe and int the coal fields of Ohio and Pennsylvania, spreading the work to the Slavic people of those areas that there was a golden opportunity for them in this section of Macoupin County. As a direct result of Mr. Sosenko’s chance meeting, many Russian families, some coming directly from Europe, settled in Benld, numbering about 40 by the beginning of 1907. More relatives and friends followed.

       Having settled among strangers, the immigrants missed the temples and cathedrals of their homeland and were appalled to realize that their children would grow up strangers to thir religion. They decided to act, and on March 3 1907, beginnings were made towards establishing a parish at Benld for the Orthodox Catholic Christians. Father Michael Potochny of Streator, Illinois, was contacted and agreed to help, Fundraising was not easy, for although the people were spiritually rich, they were materially poor. But where there is peace, faith and agreement, all will succeed , and so it came to pass that an organization meeting was temple would give comfort to the struggling immigrant families. Construction on that temple was begun in the summer of 1907 when the cornerstone was laid, and great was the Joy in the parish whey the temple was completed.

  Just as the parish was beginning fo flourish, a catastrophe occurred. On the 27th day of July, 1915, St. Vladimir Feastday, the temple burned to ashes - even the relics of the saints. All the altar appointments and vestments, which had been a gift of the Czar of Russia to the Benld parish, disappeared forever.

   In spite of such a devastating blow, the parish took hold and started all over again. Another collection, more dedication and labor and a pledge that a brick help temple would be built resulted in the beautiful edifice the parish shares today.

   As it was difficult to such a small parish to pay all expenses, the Central Diocese in Russia agreed to help and paid on-half of the wages for a priest. This help continued until the Parish became self-sustaining.

   So much respect and gratitude goes to the poorly-educated immigrants who worked so hard to found and maintain Holy Dormition Parish! These people lived and labored in this community, built homes and reared their families while adding their customs and ideas to the ever-mixing cultures that we find in our great country. And what a debt is owed to Father Nikita Gress, who, in the 1930s, wrote Ikons and decorated the Holy Temple. Today’s generation of parishioners are responsible for the 1989 renovation of the Holy Temple, and join the parade of the many dedicated men an women who have supported the Parish. Thanks to the devotion of its parishioners and teh dedication of its priests, the Parish today stands on a firm foundation that will see its existence into the next century - and beyond!