Byzantine Church in Tarentum - History
The first resident pastor, Rev. Gabriel Chopey, was appointed in 1921. The parish flourished. Various parish groups were organized, including the altar and rosary societies, choral society and men’s club. As the congregation grew, they decided to transfer the site of the church from Brackenridge to West Tarentum. In 1929 the parish purchased St. Peter’s Hall and its adjoining property on West Eighth Avenue in Tarentum. They converted this building into the parish church which served the parish for the next twenty-five years.
In 1952 Bishop Daniel Ivancho appointed Father Michael G. Pipik as pastor with instructions to build a new church in an appropriate area. After a lengthy search, the parish was fortunate to obtain the Smith Estate at 339 East Tenth Avenue and adjacent property. The first project was to remodel the home, which became the parish rectory. It was blessed on November 15, 1953.
Ground was broken for the new church on April 4, 1954. The church was solemnly dedicated by Bishop Nicholas Elko on May 6, 1956. Bishop Elko returned to the church on June 8, 1958, to bless the stained glass windows, wall murals and marble shrines. On May 4, 1969 the parish celebrated its fiftieth Anniversary when Bishop Stephen J. Kocisko (at that time Archbishop-designate of the newly-created archeparchy) blessed the new marble altar of the church.
Members of the parish reside throughout the four-county Allegheny Valley—Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties. The parish complex is located along East Tenth Avenue, which is the primary thoroughfare connecting Natrona Heights, Brackenridge and Tarentum. It is less than a block from Tarentum Bridge Road, which crosses the Allegheny River to New Kensington, Lower Burrell and Arnold. The Tarentum Bridge Road is Exit 14 of the Route 28 Allegheny Valley expressway. The church is visible both from the exit ramps of Route 28 and from the Tarentum Bridge while crossing from New Kensington.
In recent years, substantial effort has been undertaken to maintain and update parish properties. New heating and air conditioning systems have been installed in the church and rectory. In 1998 new carpeting was installed in the church and protective glass was placed on all the stained glass windows. The rectory has a new roof, bathrooms and flooring.
SS. Peter and Paul Church, with its sides of colored sandstone and its red slate roof, remains a neighborhood and community gem.
excerpt from http://www.archeparchy.org/page/directories/parishes/tarentum.htm