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Benjamin (Basalyga) of Pittsburgh

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The future Archbishop Benjamin was born Basil Basalyga on [[January 11]], 1887 in Olyphant, a borough in the anthracite coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania where many emigrants from the Galician and Carpatho-Russian areas of central Europe had come to work in the coal mines. As a youth he was very active in the life of the church. When the first [[missionary]] school of the Russian mission was opened in Minneapolis in 1897, young Basil was among its first students, graduating in 1902. Upon graduation, he was given a position as instructor of the school’s preparatory class. After moving back to Pennsylvania, he served a choir director and parish teacher in Charleroi and Pittsburgh until 1905. Then, with the opening of the new [[seminary]] in Minneapolis in 1905, he returned to Minnesota as a student.
In 1910, Basil became seriously sick, and upon recovering, he entered [[St. Tikhon's Orthodox Monastery (South Canaan, Pennsylvania)| St. Tikhon’s Tikhon's Monastery]] in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. In 1911, he was [[tonsure]]d a [[monk]] and given the name Benjamin. On [[April 2]], 1911 he was [[ordainordination|ordained]]ed [[deacon]] in Brooklyn, New York by [[Platon (Rozhdestvensky) of New York |Abp. Platon]] and then, on [[April 9]], 1911, the archbishop ordained him a [[priest]] at St. Tikhon’s Monastery.
After his ordination, Fr. Benjamin became a sort of traveling priest, serving for short times at many [[parish]]es throughout the United States. These included parishes in Chicago, Illinois; Hartshorne, Oklahoma; Pueblo, Colorado; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition, he helped organize parishes in Akron, Ohio; Spring Valley, New York; and Bellaire, Ohio. In 1919, Fr. Benjamin was raised in rank to [[igumen]] and appointed dean of the Scranton, Pennsylvania area. The next year, Fr, Benjamin was elevated to [[archimandrite]] and appointed administrator of the parishes in Canada.
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