One of the early Ukrainian Catholic Churches established in Maryland is the first to close after serving the community for over 100 years.

Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Curtis Bay officially closed its doors on March 1. The lack of attendance and financial unsustainability led to the decision to shutter the church and eventually sell the property.

“No finances and no attendees, it just all came together. They just couldn’t do it anymore. The deficit was too great for them,” said Monsignor Peter Waslo with the Archeparchy of Philadelphia Ukrainian Catholic Church. Several Ukrainian Catholic Churches in Maryland are part of this diocese, including locations in Silver Spring and Chesapeake City.

For the past year, the archeparchy was meeting with those keeping the church in operation and taking on multiple responsibilities, including putting on the services and cleaning, Waslo said. Unfortunately, they could not find a way to remedy the situation at Saints Peter and Paul. The church wanted to stay open until at least Easter, but it wouldn’t have been financially feasible.

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Saint Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church posted about the closure on Facebook and listed information for the last services.

The church sits on a quiet corner in the South Baltimore neighbor nearby other churches of differing denominations. It can be easy to miss, if not for the large blue and yellow Ukrainian flag hanging from it.

The church had its final liturgy on Feb. 25, where only a little over a dozen people showed up, said Waslo, who attended the service. The church was seeing fewer than 10 people each Sunday for services, and many of them are senior citizens, he added.

With the closure, any profits made off the sale of the property will go to Saint Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church on Eastern Avenue. The high, golden domes of St. Michael can be seen from around the city, and for several years the two churches have shared a priest for services.

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Saints Peter and Paul was originally built in 1911 as a wooden structure and burned down in 1913. Parishioners bought a new church in 1914 from the Presbyterians for $4,000, according to the church’s history. Ukrainians have lived in Curtis Bay since the 1900s, and many looked to the church as their spiritual home. Since the 1930s, an evening school has operated at the parish.

Over two dozen priests have served in Saints Peter and Paul since it was founded. The church became a missionary station in the 1980s and priests from Saint Michael commuted to Curtis Bay.

The parish has never been large. There are at least 75 people listed as members, at if the church saw attendance by at least half of them consistently, it might have lasted, Waslo said.

“It’s an unfortunate situation. It’s something we don’t take pleasure in at all because it is a sad occasion when you have to close a church. I guess necessity rules in this case,” Waslo added.

Jasmine Vaughn-Hall is a neighborhood and community reporter at the Baltimore Banner, covering the people, challenges, and solutions within West Baltimore. Have a tip about something happening in your community? Taco recommendations? Call or text Jasmine at 443-608-8983.

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