Thursday, May 26, 2022

The History of the Church of St. Iosaph in Muddy, Illinois

St. Iosaph Church

In 1880 Slovakian immigrants settled in southern Illinois to work in the coal mines of the region, and the small town of Muddy was born. The people who resided in this area shared a common faith, Russian Orthodoxy. A church was built in 1913, dedicated to the memory of St. Iosaph of Belgorod. The church served sixty families at that time. As the coal mining industry died out, people began to move out of Muddy, and soon the parish was without parishioners.

Madelein Pisani with an icon of St. Iosaph





Madeline Pisani, a parishioner of St. Basil’s, was born in Muddy and attended St. Iosaph’s as a child. She and her brother have maintained the now abandoned church for many decades. Each year possible, Fr. Martin and parishioners of St. Basil’s in St. Louis, made a pilgrimage to the church to serve a Thanksgiving Service. A Memorial Service was also usually conducted at the old Russian cemetery, which is not far from the church. Below, on the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God October 14, 2003, Fr. Martin and eight parishioners at the long-abandoned Russian Church of St. Iosaph in Muddy, Illinois.


Bishop Peter at St. Iosaph

Fr. Martin serving an Akathist at St. Iosaph


See the Diocesan news item and photos for the Centennial Commemoration of the Glorification of St. Ioasaph of Belgorod with Bp. Peter at Muddy here (September 17, 2011).

Addendum, 2019:

Due to the inability to continue to care for the vacant temple, as well as make the inordinate amount of repairs necessary to insure it, the temple was demolished and properly disposed of in December. Coverage by local media has been posted to the FB page and photos of the process appear below. As of yet, no plans to rebuild or reconvene have been brought forward to serve any remaining flock in this lower region of Southern Illinois. The Catholicon of the Holy Dormition of the Mother of God — also commissioned by the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II — remains extant about 150 miles to the northwest of Muddy, and holds occasional divine services.

Holy Hierarch Ioasaph, pray to God for us!