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Pittsburgh: Saint Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church

About Saint Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale:

St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, established in 1894, is the first Croatian church in America. The Croatian Catholic Church is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, in communion with Rome.  The present structure was built in 1922 on Bennet Hill in Millvale, now a part of Pittsburgh,  which back then was one of many mill towns along the Allegheny River where immigrants flocked from around the world to work in the steel mills and coal mines.

Beginning in 1937, pastor Father Albert Zagar commissioned Croatian artist Maxo Vanka to cover the interior walls of the church with murals.

The works were done in two stages, the first resulting in eleven murals focusing on the main themes of the Croatian immigrant life in the old and new worlds.

Life was difficult for these immigrants, and safety standards in the mines and steel mills were all but non-existent. One of the murals attests to that fact: a mother mourns her son killed in a mining accident and would later mourn his three brothers. The work is titled: Immigrant Mother Raises Her Sons for American Industry.

A second set of fourteen murals, painted in 1941, focused more on social injustice and the inhumanity of war.

Today the church and the murals are listed on the National Historic Register.

Visiting the church and viewing the murals:

The Church has regularly scheduled Masses on Wednesday mornings and Saturday evenings, but to view the murals you will need to join a public tour on Saturdays or make arrangements for a private tour. The murals are under the protection of The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka.

Visitors are encouraged to pre-register for Saturday Tours. Registration is not required but ensures notification in the case of a tour cancellation. Tour admission is $10 per person.

Private Tour Requests may be made here.  SPMMMV will do its best to accommodate private tour requests. However, they reserve the right to combine small groups if the requesting group numbers less than 8.

Questions? tours@vankamurals.org

Email: tours@vankamurals.org or leave a message: 412-407-2570.


Click here for the official Vanka Murals website (be sure to check out their photos)

Question about your visit or interested in becoming a tour volunteer?

Email: volunteer@vankamurals.org

or leave a message: 412-407-2570.
***************ACTIVITY AND EVENT UPDATE — COVID19***********************

Tours: In support of the health of our community and in accordance with social distancing guidelines, the Vanka Murals tours are suspended through April 30th. We’ll continue to re-evaluate our ability to restart tours as information becomes available. Status reports will be posted our website, Facebook and Instagram.

If you are interested in attending a public tour or scheduling a private tour when tours resume, please feel free to register for a personal notification: tours@vankamurals.org.

The 7th Annual Cocktails & Conservation has been rescheduled for Thursday, November 5th. Sponsorships and tickets are available: www.vankamurals.org/cocktails-and-conservation-2020.

If you want to help sustain our mission to save and share the Vanka Murals while we do our best to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19, Click here.

Finding Saint Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale:

Address:  24 Maryland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15209

Tel:  (412) 821-3438

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