Descent of the Holy Spirit Romanian Orthodox Church (Elkins Park)

1323 Ashbourne Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027
Phone: (215) 635-1441
Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America

In 1906 the Societatea Banatiana was established by immigrants from the province of Banat in south-western Romania and served as a temporary location for the pioneer immigrants settling in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood to sing hymns and hold occasional services. On June 13, 1913, a Romanian-Orthodox parish was established and appropriately named Descent of the Holy Spirit Romanian Orthodox Church. Religious services continued to be held in the society’s hall until 1919. In 1923 the Episcopal Diocese gave the Romanian congregation free use of the entire church property. In 1929 the congregation received its first permanent priest, Father John Popovici (1890-1973), who served his people for nearly forty years until he retired in 1968. In 1965, the majority of the church council and membership decided to relocate the parish to the nearby Philadelphia suburb of Elkins Park in Montgomery County. There the congregation purchased a modified Gothic style Presbyterian church with an attached parish hall, grounds, and parish house. The church was remodeled for Orthodox church services and consecrated on September 26, 1965 by Archbishop Valerian Trifa.

The congregation currently has about 100 members. Many members belong to families consisting of second to fourth-generation Romanian-Americans, but a majority of the congregation comprises more recent immigrants from all provinces of Romania. Romanian cultural events such as dances, dinners, and musical and theatrical performances are held on a regular basis throughout the year. A Romanian-American cultural museum, organized and sponsored by the Societatea Banatiana, is open to the general public by appointment.

Church services are held every Sunday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m., and on Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the summer and 6:00 p.m. in the winter.

Services are in Romanian and English.