REV. PAUL BARTKOW

[Article from the Ukrainian Baptist Youth Association, BULLETIN, Volume Three, Number One, January – September 1969, page 6. Executive Editor was  Mr. Mike Gordon (Jakubowycz).  This issue given to Peter Tymciw by Dan & Nell Ciona in 1980]

Our outstanding Ukrainian Baptist Pioneers.  We feel it is appropriate to show our deep appreciation and respect to these tireless workers who work for the Lord.

Rev. Paul Bartkow stands in the forefront of the pioneers in the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist movement in the United States, for it was he who founded the Ukrainian Missionary and Bible Society and ably served as its president for twenty years.

Mr. Bartkow was born on October 16, 1890, in the Western Ukrainian village of Mala Berezovitsa.  In 1909, as a young man, he immigrated to the United States, and in 1912 he was married in Philadelphia.  Three years later he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and was baptized in an American church in Chester, Pennsylvania.

As a Christian, Mr. Bartkow preached extensively on the streets of Chester, Crum Lynne and the surrounding area.  Many people were saved through his testimonies and his preaching.  In fact, he organized a Ukrainian Baptist church in Chester and pastored it for many years.  Later, he organized a church in Crum Lynne which he also pastored.  From 1919 until 1944, Mr, Bartkow was the treasurer of the Russian-Ukrainian Baptist Mission.  Then, in 1946, he founded the Ukrainian Missionary and Bible Society.

After twenty years of distinguished service, Rev. Bartkow was elected Honorary President of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention, of which the Missionary and Bible Society is a part.

From  Ukrainian Baptist Church in Crum Lynne, PA.


In 1910, Paul Bartkow and his wife Anna, arrived from Ukraine and settled in Philadelphia. Soon afterwards, Paul's sister Maria and her husband Demyan Perizhok arrived to the United States and settled in Wilmington, DE. The two men started reading the Bible together and began attending a local Polish Baptist church and sometimes a local American church. Rev. Szielke, pastor of the Wilmington Polish Baptist Church was a good mentor and led them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In April 1915, just before Easter, Paul, Demyan and their wives were baptized at the First Baptist Church in Chester, Pa. at 7th and Fulton streets by its pastor Dr. McDonald. On Easter April 4, 1915 four of them had their own private Ukrainian Baptist worship service in the home of Paul and Maria Bartkow on East 8th street in Chester, PA.

The church grew and developed a distinct missionary zeal so that by 1920 some of its members left the U.S. for Eastern Poland to preach the Gospel in the Western Ukrainian lands; other moved to start new churches in numerous American towns - Atlantic City, Newark, NJ, Freehold, NJ, Bethlehem, PA. and other towns. This missionary vision compelled the church to help financially Ukrainian Baptists in Poland and all over the world. The exception was the Soviet Union, for there the door for the Gospel was closed.

After WWII help was given to fellow Baptists in the DP camps in Germany and an intensive immigration program was started.

In 1947 Dr. L. Zabko-Potapovich and his family received an affidevit from the church and came from Belgium to Chester. (The couple was baptized in October 1924 in Warsaw by Yevtropiy Samoukin, who in the 20-ies left Chester for missionary work in Poland). At that time Rev. Paul Bartkow and the church issued personal immigration affidevits for over one hundred Ukrainian displaced persons in Germany.

The Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist church of Chester played a great role in the life of Ukrainian Baptists in the US and abroad. In 1947 it restarted the publication of the Ukrainian Baptist magazine "Pislanec Pravdy", which ceased publication in Western Ukraine because of WWII. In the 1950's this church was instrumental in forming, together with the Ukrainian Baptist Assocn. of Canada, the Ukrainian Baptist and Missionary Bible Society (for the support of missionary work among the Ukrainian diaspora in South America, Australia and Western Europe) and the Ukrainian Baptist World Alliance. It also provided leadership in the organization of the U.S. Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Assocn.

During this time, the Church moved to a new sanctuary in Crum-Lynn, PA. The building lot on the Philadelphia Pike was purchased through the help of Rev. Daniel Bartkow, son of Paul Bartkow.

In 1960s, Dr. John Berkuta provided pastoral leadership to the Congregation.  Dr. Berkuta led the congregation to be the first Ukrainian Baptist Church in the US to cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention. He eventually headed the Ethnic Division of the Greater Philadelphia Baptist Association.

In the 1970's, Jr. John Kovalchuk a graduate of the Ukrainain Theological Seminary in South America, became its minister. Later, Dr. Kovalchuk also headed the Ethnic Church ministry of Greater Philadelphia Baptist Association and later headed the Language Ministry in the Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

Rev. Moshkovsky and his family came to the United States on April 4, 1990 from Zhitomir, Ukraine and became our pastor on January 31 of the same year. By that time, the church membership dwindled to about 10 members. Under Rev. Moshkovsky's leadership many immigrants were sponsored by the church, thus continuing our church's old traditions.

In 2000, due to Rev. Moshkovsky's involvement in the ethnic work of the Convention, the church needed a new minister. Dr. Vasiliy Kravchuk was called to be its pastor in 2000. He and his family came to Crum-Lynn in 1998 also from Zhitomir, Ukraine. Under his leadership the Lord blessed our church abundantly with new members and a new church building. In November of 2002 ground was broken for a new sanctuary and was dedicated on June 27, 2004. The Chester/Crum-Lynn Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist church was richly endowed by the Lord - it was always blessed by visionary, missionary oriented and talented leadership for which we thank and praise Him!
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