Sts. Cyril & Methodius Byzantine Catholic Church
Early 1989, Fr. Basil Kraynyak attended a Deanery meeting. He suggested a "Mission" be established somewhere on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Fr. Basil offered to probe the area, as it was located just north of his parish.
Fr. Basil contacted The Most Rev. Thomas V. Daily, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach, requesting authorization to contact the churches in the area. Fr. Basil contacted Fr. Peter C. Dolan, Pastor of St. Lucie Catholic Church, in Port St. Lucie, and arrangements were made for a Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday.
Fr. Basil contacted the Catholic parishes, the Knights of Columbus, etc., within a 50-mile radius of Port St. Lucie, requesting pastors to place announcements in their weekly bulletins. Ads were placed in the local newspapers, in hopes of contacting as many Byzantine Catholics as possible.
On Palm Sunday March 19, Fr. Basil with several of his parishioners, came to St. Lucie Catholic Church. There were some 75 faithful that attended, as many had not been to a Byzantine Liturgy in 5 to 6 or more years.
After Liturgy, Fr. Basil asked if they would like to have an Easter Liturgy, with blessing of baskets, etc. The response was great, so one was scheduled for the following week. It was the best Easter in years for many, and Fr. Basil requested everyone to pray daily for a Mission to be started.
In August, Fr. Basil wrote to Michael and Dorothea Druga to contact others to look for a location where weekly Liturgies could be held. Shortly thereafter, Fr. Basil came to Port St. Lucie to discuss the establishment of a Mission. Indian River Community Center on Prima Vista Blvd. was an ideal location. Arrangements were made, and on November 11, our first Liturgy was held. The name "TREASURE COAST BYZANTINE CATHOLIC MISSION" was selected. Liturgy would be weekly on Saturdays.
St. Nicholas Day was celebrated, after Liturgy, with a dinner at the "Home Port Inn Restaurant" in Port St. Lucie. St. Nicholas showed up, in the person of Benjamin Veranko.
Fr. Basil purchased a beautiful 3-piece Nativity set, which consisted of Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The manger was made by Michael Druga, with ample room to expand, as the new parish would grow.
On January 20, 1990, new parishioners, Andrew and Dorothy Adzima, joined the Church. As a former Assistant Cantor, he agreed to lead the congregation in the Liturgical responses.
A campaign was initiated to get better exposure. Contact was made with our four Byzantine Diocese newspapers, the local newspapers and fraternal organizations. Roman Catholic churches were asked to place notices in their weekly bulletins.
On February 24th, Father Basil announced that purchase of church property was in the works, with a good possibility we could be in our own Church by Easter Sunday.
A campaign to select a new name for our Church was started on March 17, selling "votes" as a means of raising funds.
Closing on the property was March 22, 1990. Bishop Michael Dudick loaned us $92,000 and Holy Apostles Church in Lake Worth loaned us $8,000. We are very grateful and thankful to everyone for their generosity.
Our last Liturgy at the Indian River Community Center was March 24. After Liturgy, everyone assisted in the move to our new Church.
The first Liturgy in our new home was on March 31. A Simple Church Blessing was held prior to the Liturgy. Afterwards, we celebrated Father's 24th Anniversary (actually April 12) in the priesthood.
Easter was celebrated on April 15th. For many parishioners, it was their first Byzantine Easter Liturgy they had attended in years.
New front entrance doors were installed. New folding tables, plus a pre-owned stove and refrigerator were purchased, enabling social affairs to be held.
Our first social event was Mother's Day, with a cover dish dinner. On June 2 Fr. Basil announced the new name of our Church will be "STS. CYRIL AND METHODIUS BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH". Initial plans for the Solemn Blessing and Dedication Day were started.
July and August were busy months. New (previously owned) altars were received. Mrs. Mila Mina came from San Diego to paint icons for the iconostasis. The second step of the Sanctuary platform was replaced with glass block; four awning-type windows were replaced with single-hung windows; and the two side doors by the altar were replaced with new solid wood doors. Much more renovation work is planned in the months ahead.
The Church has the capacity to hold over 100 parishioners. It is located at 1002 Bahama Avenue, Fort Pierce, and serves the faithful from Hobe Souond to the south, and Palm Bay to the north.
On Sunday, November 25, 1990, Bishop Michael J. Dudick and Auxiliary Bishop George M. Kuzma solemnly blessed and dedicated the Church and concelebrated a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving. The Parochial Family held a Dedication Banquet after the Liturgy at the Village Hotel of Sandpiper (Club-Med) in Port St. Lucie.
MAY GOD GRANT US ALL PEACE, HEALTH, AND HAPPINESS FOR YEARS TO COME!!