In 1937, missionary work to the founding of an Orthodox Church in the Argo-Summit area was undertaken by Father Fedor Turchenko with various members of the Slavic community. In April of 1938, St. Panteleimon’s parish was formally established with Father John Manchuk as the first rector. Services were initially held in the First Congregational Church and then, for the next two years, at the Elgin Administration Building. In 1939, the parish purchased the current building from the Nazarene congregation.
The building was then remodeled along traditional Orthodox lines and was formally consecrated on September 22, 1940, with Archbishop Leonty presiding. In 1941, the rectory was built on the adjacent plot of land. In 1945, the Church belfry was constructed, and stained glass windows were installed.
In 1960, after 23 years, Father John retired and Father Sergei Garklavs was assigned as St. Panteleimon’s new rector for the next 23 years. Under Father Sergei, the Church basement was fully furnished as a church hall, the church was carpeted and the pews were upholstered. In 1983, Father Sergei was reassigned as Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago.
From 1983-1987, Father Andrew Yavornitzky served as rector who enjoys having the distinction of being the first priest ordained in the parish. From 1987-1990, Father Herman Schick revived the parish’s Sisterhood and helped organize the 50th anniversary. From 1990-1993 Father Kyrill Riggs was rector. From 1994-1996, Father Adam Linton was part-time rector while serving as the Diocese Chancellor who was responsible for having new icons installed on the upper tier of the iconostasis by Father John Matusiak and the new central icon of the resurrection by a parishioner, Iconographer Arlene Tilghman.
In October of 1996, His Grace Bishop Job assigned his new Chancellor of the Diocese Father Myron Manzuk as the new rector. Despite his full time position as Chancellor, Father Myron was very active in the parish life and was instrumental in beginning the project of updating the rest of iconography in the church by parishioner, Iconographer Arlene Tilghman.
In 1998 during our 60th anniversary, we were blessed by the gift of Relics of St. Panteleimon, given to us by His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS. The relics were installed in an Icon of St. Panteleimon, and already two miraculous healings have been attributed to the icon and relics. Also Subdeacon Robert Northrup a parishioner, was ordained to the diaconate.
In 1999, Father Myron accepted assignment to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Minneapolis. From 1999-2002, Father George Gulin became rector and was responsible for having the church cupola coated with a bright blue epoxy and topped with a new gold cross. Also Father George began our monthly non-Sacramental Healing Service as a true charitable Christian ministry to the community.
In 2002 Father Myron returned as rector to St. Panteleimon’s parish and helped in revitalizing the spark in parish life by re-establishing our adult education, children’s Sunday school and encouraged our continued monthly Healing Service and our participation in the Orthodox Christians for Life-Chicago.
Our resiliency is a testament to the dedication of our members. Through fund-raisers such as Fundability, Paschal/Christmas candy sales, Rummage Sales, Parish/Sisterhood dinners, and other events such as our annual Patronal Lamb Roast (late July), we increase our ability to serve the Parish and the community at large.
The scope and success of the projects we undertake, frequently belies the size of our parish. Other efforts we also undertake is by having the Parish serve as a collection point for supplies which go to local Pro-Life Women's Centers, which counsel women contemplating abortion.
As we celebrated our 75th year on September 22, 2013, we can look back and thank God for the many talented clergy and lay leaders He has provided for us and for the many blessings He has bestowed on us.
Come bless the Lord with us and let us exalt His Name together!