Volume No. 16 Issue No. 10 October 2019  

  Pierogis on the plains

     The old and the new merged on a recent Sunday afternoon at St. Mary's Orthodox Dormition Church in Calhan. The church's community hall was filled with third and fourth generation Slavic parishioners gathered to make pierogis and noodles from generations' old recipes for the church's fall Slavic Festival.
   Pierogis are dumplings of Central and Eastern European origin made by wrapping dough around a filling and then boiling them.
   Young and old worked in assembly line fashion making potato pierogis and noodles that will be frozen for the time being. Father Stephen Osburn, rector of St. Mary's, also got into the act. Wearing an apron, he was busily kneading dough. He said his No. 1 rule is “You're always welcome.”
   On this Sunday afternoon, parishioners were expected to make 100 dozen potato pierogis and 30 bags of noodles. They expect to put together 200 dozen potato pierogis, 104 dozen prune pierogis and 104 cottage cheese pierogis. Potatoes and gravy, kielbasa and halupki, an Eastern European stuffed cabbage dish, will also be on the menu.
   From 1880 to 1917, immigrants from Czechoslovakia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire came to the Calhan area because of the railroad and the Homestead Act. Also, the area around Calhan resembled the countryside of their native land.
   The “Church on the Hill,” now called St. Tikon's Chapel, has no electricity or heat and is used only on special occasions. Beside the church and across the road are cemeteries dotted with Orthodox crosses. At the bottom of the hill is the current church, community hall and rectory.
   The original church was destroyed by fire in 1927.
   St. Mary's Slavic Festival will be held Oct. 12 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Oct. 13 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at St. Mary's Orthodox Church, 19485 N Calhan Hwy., Calhan.
Becky Fischer was one of the many parishioners of St. Mary's Orthodox Church who prepared dozens of pierogis for the upcoming Slavic Festival. Photos by Pete Gawda
Father Stephen Osburn, rector of St. Mary's, dons an apron to knead dough for this church's October Slavic Festival.
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