New cross up at St. Mary’s

Ukrainian Orthodox parishioners erect an eye-catching symbol

Father Peter Hogan stands with the new cross at St. Mary the Protectress Church in French Creek.

Father Peter Hogan stands with the new cross at St. Mary the Protectress Church in French Creek.

There’s a new, eye-catching cross up at the French Creek Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The cross is of traditional orthodox form, featuring three horizontal pieces. It was made from a single, natural cedar tree by Ernie Adamschek. He felled it, milled the wood and gifted the final cross to the church, which itself has been in French Creek now for only three years.

The cross was added to a sign for St. Mary the Protectress church, designed and gifted by Victor Blasco.

Blasco said having the cross — instead of only the non-orthodox spire on the church building (they moved into it after the previous church moved out) — helps people notice them. Already, their parish has grown by a couple of people who saw the cross.

According to Father Peter Hogan, the cross’s three horizontal pieces have meaning.

The top piece is, he said, the spot where a person’s crime was identified while be crucified.

The middle one is the traditional beam from which Christ was crucified.

The bottom beam is slanted and Hogan said the simplest answer to why, is that it’s a reminder of the two thieves that were crucified the same day as Christ — the one on His left reviled Him (and will go to Hell, or down) and the one on His right asked to live with Him in paradise (Heaven, up).

St. Mary the Protectress holds regular services twice each week on Sat. and Sun.