Bishop visits local church for 125 anniversary

The church had been built in 1896
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 2:39 PM EDT
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POCAHONTAS, Va. (WVVA) -For over a century, a small, but highly decorated, Roman Catholic Church has overlooked the town of Pocahontas. St. Elizabeth of Hungary is now celebrating its 125-year anniversary.

The story of the church started in the late 1800s when Hungarian immigrants were brought over to work in the Pocahontas mine. St. Elizabeth’s former pastor, Father Dan Brady, says these predominantly Roman Catholic immigrants built the church in 1896 and named it after a saint from their homeland.

“Hungarians were a large number of the people who came into the area, and so, when the church was built, it was built with Saint Elizabeth in mind... one of the patron saints of Hungary”

Many may be surprised to know that the paintings in the church are over a century old. Despite their age, they still retain their vibrant color and detail. This is due to a recently completed restoration project.

To help commemorate both the anniversary of the church, the rededication of the murals as well as officially welcome the church’s new pastor, Bishop Barry Knestout traveled from Richmond and spoke to the congregation. The bishop credits the longevity of the church to the people through the years who continued to keep the Faith over the years even through hardships.

“The Coal Country... You know coal, when it’s pressured... over centuries, becomes a diamond, right? And I think the holiness that is reflected here is like that jewel, that diamond of... of life in the parish community. And in a small way, this outward side, this church is that jewel as well. As a jewel that reflects that beauty of faith... here in the mountains, here in Pocahontas, that’s been so many years - 125 years”

While being an important part of the history of the area, St. Elizabeth’s remains a beloved part of the community to this day.