The structure features: cast-in-place concrete for the bearing walls, thin shell barrel vaults, balcony beams of irregular shapes supporting the central dome base and the dome and a cantilevered-barrel vault entrance canopy. The nave is built in the traditional shape of a cross – 55 feet wide extending to 88 feet at it widest point. The overall floor space amounts to 12,785 square feet with seating capacity of 450 on the first floor and 150 on the first balcony. A unique choir loft, 40 feet high at its base and complete with a sound shield, can accommodate 100 people.
The center dome is 86 feet high with an 11-foot stainless steel Serbian Orthodox Cross. The bell tower houses three bells from St. George’s forged in 1917 and inscribed in cyrillic with the names of three famous Serbian towns: Prizren, Skoplje and Kumanovo where 500 years of Turkish occupancy ended.
Over the main doors and below the canopy is a semicircular stained glass window dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The window which covers 130 square feet is composed of imported antique and rolled cathedral glass – a reproduction of a painting by noted iconographer Andrej Bicenko. Its $3500 cost was underwritten by the church school children.
The iconastasis was hand carved by Petar Zaric of Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Mr. Bicenko created and wrote (painted) the icons. Mr. Zaric also carved other religious articles: the throne of the Mother of God and the Bishop’s throne, five seats behind the Altar Table for Bishops and Priests, two cantor stands, the tetrapod, icon stands, and Gospel stand. The $35,000 cost was a gift of the Kolo.
The Altar Table, symbolic of the Tomb of Christ, is made from solid Italian marble and designed to the specifications of His Grace Bishop Dr. Sava.
Brilliant red carpeting projects a royal setting. The solid oak pews with matching cushioned seats and a seven-inch Serbian Orthodox cross on each side were purchased as memorial gifts by members.
An adjoining two-story 7,000-square-foot structure contains a meeting room, offices, classrooms and choir library, all named for various Patron saints.
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice. . .
Father Alex Vukovich was pastor in 1981 when, on June 14th, Holy Trinity celebrated the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the first Serbian Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh and the 10th anniversary of the new church complex.
After Father Alex became a U.S. Navy chaplain, Father Dragan Filipovic was appointed pastor (January 1982).
June 10, 1984 marked a triple celebration: Church Slava, the mortgage burning, and Bishop Christopher, who led the celebration, raised Holy Trinity Church to the dignity of a Cathedral!
Father Rajko Kosic became the priest at Holy Trinity in 2000.
To whom much is given. . .
With its own majestic house of worship in order, Holy Trinity turned to aid the Serbian Orthodox families who fell victim to the wars in Europe – particularly in Yugoslavia. The early 1990s saw the formation of a Relief Committee whose members worked day and night to collect food, clothing and money.
Particularly vulnerable were children who lost parents and other family members. Relief efforts for these war orphans continued over the next decade.
With a full appreciation of the importance of a church home, Holy Trinity also sent financial aid to build St. Sava Church at Vracar.
Let the children come to me…
The future of Holy Trinity is bright when you look at the children who attend the church school. The current church school program has 65 students enrolled in pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. A volunteer staff of dedicated teachers provides instruction using materials available from the Eastern Diocesan headquarters.
The children also participate in extra-curricular activities such as Junior Choir, summer church camps, saint day activities, and also, at Christmas, join the caravan to find the badnjak.
Maintaining God’s House…
After many years of discussion and consideration, the parishioners of Holy Trinity Cathedral made the decision to undertake the major capital improvement project of renovation. In 2000, under the guidance and direction of a committee of dedicated and competent parishioners, the project began.
Initially, the project goal was to focus on replacing the ceiling and painting the walls of the sanctuary, as well as repairing the H.V.A.C. system. However, once the project was underway, a variety of structural issues and concerns became evident. This resulted in an increase of costs and an extension of construction time.
By the completion of the project in early 2001, the church and classroom structures were replaced with a new roof, the interior of the church was fitted with a new blue ceiling; the walls were faux-painted in neutral colors resembling marble along the wainscot, outlined with red and gold foil. Large icons of both St. George and St. Sava were placed on the north and south walls of the cathedral, symbolic of the unity of the two parishes that combined and formed Holy Trinity. Furthermore, the walls of the sanctuary and foyer were adorned with the restored icons that were found during the early construction phase, a further recognition of our heritage. Also, the H.V.A.C. system was repaired and restored, and the summer months of 2001 were welcomed with air conditioning during services.
Numerous additional renovations and repairs were made throughout the church, including the re-configuration of the space and contents of the foyer, which maximized storage capability, improved traffic flow, and beautified the area. Careful consideration and preparation went into these renovations. The restoration included selection and placement of symbolic colors found in traditional Orthodox churches, imbuing our cathedral with warmth and beauty.
The accomplishment of this monumental task is credited to the parishioners and friends of Holy Trinity Cathedral, who so generously and freely make substantial monetary donations and contributions through the Beneficial Pledge Program, in addition to other direct donations, for the mutual love of our holy Orthodox faith and beloved Holy Trinity Cathedral. To them, we say: “Ziveli i mnogaja ljeta!”
In January of 2005, Slobodan Zablacanski, a zograf (official title bestowed on an iconographer by the church) came to Pittsburgh from Belgrade to begin eight months of work on 29 different frescoes that now adorn the walls of Holy Trinity. (The 50-inch by 8-foot frames for the frescoes were constructed by parish priest Rev. Rajko Kosic.) The frescoes were blessed by His Grace Bishop Mitrophan of the Eastern American Serbian Orthodox Diocese on April 30, 2006.
Additional icons, also written by Slobodan Zablacanski, were blessed on Palm Sunday, 2009. These icons adorn the walls outside of the altar.