Fifteen immigrant Greeks started the Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation in 1912 in the Arch Hall at the corner of Ontario and Bolivar. One year later the church moved to a hall at W. 14th St. and Fairfield. The building was razed in 1917 and replaced in 1919 by the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
2187 West 14th Street
1912-1914 - Annunciation Rev. Rankos
1915-1916 - Annunciation - W. 14th at Fairfield, Rev. G. Salellariou
1917-1921 - Annunciation - Rev. Agathangelos Georgakopulos
1922-1929 Annunciation Rev. John Zografos
1930-1932 - Annunciation - Rev. George Lavrakas
1932-1952 - Annunciation - Rev. Chrysogonos Lavriotes
1950-1952 - Annunciation - Rev. Sophocles Sophocles
1952-1954 - Annunciation - Rev. George Stephanopoulos
1955-1957 - Annunciation - Rev. James Karagas
1957-1962 - Annunciation - Rev. Chrysogonos Lavriotes
1961-1967 - Annunciation - Rev. Peter Kyriakos
1961-1967 - Annunciation - Rev. N. Geotes
1963-1967 - Annunciation - Rev. P. Metalinos
1967-1995 - Annunciation - Rev. John Protopapas
HOLY GHOST BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH
2420 West 14th at Kenilworth
Holy Ghost Byzantine Rite Catholic Church had its origin in 1909. This church blends features of both Byzantine and Romanesque style architecture reflecting its dual religious heritage. Designed by architects M. E. Wells and Joseph Duvalosky, the church, located at 2408 W. 14th St., has a yellow brick facade with entry to the church through recessed tripartite doors representing the trinity. A large rose window above them dominates the facade, which is flanked by 3-stage towers topped with the "Onion" domes and crosses characteristic of Byzantine architecture.
From a pamphlet for a walking tour of Tremont Churches in May
Holy Ghost Byzantine Rite Catholic Church had its origin in 1909. It is a rapidly growing parish under the jurisdiction of the Pittsburgh Byzantine Catholic Diocese governed by the Most Rev. Nicholas T. Elko, D.D. The parish is presently served by pastor Rev. Lawrence J. Slavik, assisted by Rev. Michael Moran. The church is characterized by the Byzantine style of architecture. One of the most striking features of the interior of the church is the beautiful icon screen separating the sanctuary from the body of the church. It is designed with beautiful stained glass windows with life-size figures. Across the street, facing the church, is an elementary school staffed by Sisters of Saint Basil (Uniontown, PA) and one lay teacher. The Eighth Grade Class of 1965 was the first to complete all eight years of training in the recently built school.
From the book: "Between Spires and Stacks":
Holy Ghost Church, founded in 1909, ministers to a steadily declining Rusin constituency. Only a few years ago 750 families were counted in the parish. Today, owing to the fact that the Rusin people move out of the district as soon as they can according to Father Hanulya who has been pastor at Holy Ghost for some fifteen years, only about 500 families remain. The congregation is drawn predominately from outside the immediate neighborhood in which the church is located. The property, which includes church, hall, kitchen, apartments, rectory and a club room over a garage, is valued at $250,000. Apart from the choir, boys are active in baseball, a Sokol for gymnasium sports, the Strong Set Club which meets at Merrick House Settlement, a basketball team, which is usually entered in the Merrick House League and which plays teams from four other Rusin churches, a Social Club, which meets over the garage, open to boys 18 and over, and several benefit lodges which meet once a month to transact business. The Old Slavonic language is used in the liturgy which follows the Greek rite.
1908 - 1953 - Holy Ghost (RUSSIAN/RUSYN) - Kenilworth near W. 14th, Rev. Joseph Hanulya
1909 - 1913 Holy Ghost - Rev. Emil Burek
1911 - 1913 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Michael Mitro
1913 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Sigsmund Brinsky
1913 - 1916 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Cornelius Zapotoczky
1916 - 1918 Holy Ghost Rev. Nicholas Duda
1918 - Holy Ghost - Rev. August Komporday
1926 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Demetrius Yackanich
1949 - 1950 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Michael Hrebin
1950 - 1951 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Stephen Luzetsky
1951-1952 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Myron Horvath
1952 - 1953 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Paul Waslus
1956 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Raymond Misulich
1957 - 1958 - Holy Ghost - Rev. John Borodach
1958 - 1959 - Holy Ghost - Rev. Myron Badnerosky
1921 - 1928 Holy Trinity (ROMANIAN) 2646 E. 93rd, Rev. John Vanca
1913 St. Lavas (SERBIAN) 4118 St. Clair, Rev. J. Bjedow
1913 St. Marias 6201 Detroit, Rev. John
1921 - 1928 St. Mary's (ROMANIAN) 6201 Detroit, Rev. Elie Pop
1924 St. Michael (RUSSIAN) Prospect at E.
30th, Rev. Joseph Antonoff
1928 St. Michael 10000 Union, Rev. Jos. Stephanko
1921 St. Nicholas (CROATIAN) 1154 E. 36th, Rev. Milan Htanilovic
1924 Sts. Peter and Pauls 12705 Madison,
Rev. Michael Kostyk
1928 Sts. Peter and Pauls 12705 Madison, Rev. Vladimir Lebkanich
St. Sava was founded in 1909. The parishioners met in a small house and soon outgrew it. St. Sava Servian Orthodox Church was relocated to E. 36th St. and Paine Avenue in 1918. Today, this church is located at 6303 Broadview Road in Parma. Phone: 216-749-1099
1921 - 1924 St. Sava (SERBIAN) 1565 E. 36th, Rev.
1928 St. Sava 1565 E. 36th, Rev. George Petrovich
ST. THEODOSIUS RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL
The first Orthodox parish in Cleveland was St. Theodosius, founded in 1896.
733 Starkweather Avenue at St. Tikhon
St. Nicholas Society, a lodge, was the forerunner of St. Theodosius parish. In 1896 a modest frame edifice was erected at the corner of Literary Road and West 6th. Bishop Nicholas consecrated the new church and Father Stepanoff served as the first resident pastor, the same year a new saint was canonized in Russia - St. Theodosius. A religious school was established in the first few years. In 1902 St. Joseph's Convent of the Augustine Sisters located at W. 7th and Starkweather was acquired. St. Olga and St. Tikhon Streets were cut through and the lots sold to parishioners. The stone building housed the church, school, and priest's residence. A boys' school called "Bursa", to which boys from all over the U.S. came for Russian education, was on the third floor. By 1910 the church was overcrowded. In 1911 the cornerstone of the present church was laid and the church was consecrated in 1912. In 1953 a church school each Sunday morning was instituted. In 1950 extensive renovation was done and in 1954 rededication of the Cathedral was observed. Russian and English choirs under the direction of Mr. Wassily S. Baranow have enriched the worship services through the years. The Very Rev. Sergius Kuharsky is pastor.
The present site of the church is the former location of old St. Joseph Convent which was relocated to Rocky River Drive. Two new streets, St. Olga and St. Tikhon were carved through the old convent community. This church was organized in the 1890's to serve the needs of Russian immigrants arriving in the area. Czar Nicholas II is reputed to have sent funds for the construction of the present church. The central onion dome represents Jesus and the twelve surrounding smaller cupolas symbolize the apostles. Renovations to the church include religious murals done by Yugoslavian artist, Andrei Bicenko. The varrel vaults in the transept are characteristic of the Byzantine style. Architect was: Fredrick Baird.
Russian immigrants began building St. Theodosius in 1911 and its onion shaped domes are now a distinctive symbol of the Tremont skyline. The church is one of the finest examples of Russian Orthodox architecture in the United States and has been featured in many films including The Deer Hunter and Telling Lies in America.
Cleveland Press - 9/19/1905:
Czar Sends Money to Support a Cleveland Church
A movement which has for its object the complete separation of church and state in Russia has been started by the clergy of the established church there, according to Rev. Jason R. Kappanadze, pastor of the only church of the denomination in this city. Rev. Kappanadze's church is at 732 Starkweather and is sustained in party by the Russian government, the czar sending money for this purpose. According to the priest, the man at the head of the movement is no less a potentate than the metropolitan of St. Petersburg, the chief spiritual dignitary of the church, the czar being the temporal head. "Freedom to attempt the correction of evils in our native country is the keynote of the movement," says Rev. Kappanadze. "Members of the nobility and persons powerful in government circles do things that they ought not and then hide their guilt behind the mantle of the church. The church, being a part of the government, is compelled to remain silent, when by speaking it could place the condemnation deserved upon the guilty parties. You see the church's position? It dare not speak, because under present arrangements it is by these very people that the church exists." Rev. Kappanadze, tall and handsome, has a congregation of 250 families and maintains a college at which young men from all over the United States are trained for the clergy. He says it is the aim of the church to get American-born men into the priesthood instead of sending priests here from Russia. It has been the custom to send Russian priests to this country as a part of their training. They spend 10 years here and then go back to Russia to aid their people with new ideas learned here. Rev. Kappanadze was born and educated in Russia and received the first part of his ordination there. Then he came to Sitka, Alaska, where there is an assistant bishop of his church, and was fully ordained. He has been in Cleveland three years.
Cleveland Leader 7/20/1913:
Priests Dedicate St. Theodosius Church Today
At 9:00 this morning, Bishop Alexander Memolovsky of New York, surrounded by a number of other Russian priests will begin three times to walk around the new St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Church in Starkweather Ave., between St. Olga and St. Tikhon Streets, and thus the solemn ceremony of consecrating the new edifice will start. It was only 17 years ago, in 1896, that the local Russian congregation was formed, holding services in a little house in Literary Road. Rev. Victor Stephani purchased in 1902 the St. Joseph's Convent building in Starkweather Ave., and had it changed into a Russian orthodox church. Then came Rev. J. Kappanadze, who was in charge for 8 years and became quite an important factor on the South Side. He was recalled to the old country and Rev. V. Vaseleff was the pastor for a short time, followed by Rev. Chepeleff who did not stay long either in Cleveland. Rev. William S. Lisenkovsky came to this city form Waterbury, CT in the year 1910, to take charge of St. Theodosius, and he at once started out to increase the membership and to build a new church. He was able to raise the greater part of the $70,000 the new church costs from donations and contributions. Architect Frederick Bair was able to build a typical Russian cathedral. All the paintings in the sanctuary were imported from Russia. The Virgin Mary's and St. John's cross can be seen on top. The first row of paintings represents the twelve apostles, with the Holy Trinity between the two panels. The next row contains pictures of different saints, with the Last Supper in the center. The bottom row shows St. Nicolai, Archangel Michael, the Holy Virgin and Son, the Evangelists, Jesus, Archangel Gabriel, St. Theodosius, patron saint of the church.
From the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History:
ST. THEODOSIUS RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL (733 Starkweather Ave.) is considered one of the finest examples of Russian church architecture in the U.S. Begun in 1911, the cathedral is the parish's third structure. The St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox parish was organized by immigrant Russians living in Tremont in 1896. They had worshipped at the Uniat Church, but conflicts led 23 men to form the St. Nicholas Society on 28 Sept. 1896. That society spearheaded the organization of the parish. The first church was a frame building at McKinstry (W. 6th) St. and Literary Rd.; its first resident pastor was Fr. Victor Stepanoff, who helped establish the school. At the end of 1902, the parish bought the St. John's Convent and the surrounding land for $30,000, largely through the efforts of John Ferencz, who mortgaged his own property to raise part of the money. Under the leadership of Rev. Jason R. Kappanadze (1902-08; 1922-57), the parish sold 80 individual lots from the convent land to parishioners for $125 apiece to raise funds. In 1909 the parish acquired land in Brooklyn Twp. for a cemetery.
The former convent served as the church until parishioners decided in May 1911 to build a cathedral. With the assistance of Fr. Basil S. Lisenkovsky, local architect Frederick C. Baird designed the $70,000 church, using features adopted from the Church of Our Savior Jesus Christ in Moscow. The cathedral was decorated with paintings imported from Russia; it was dedicated on 19 July 1913. St. Theodosius became well known in the city as well as the Russian Orthodox community. By the mid-1930s, its a capella choir was praised for concerts at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and non-Russian Clevelanders attended its special services. By its 50th anniversary, St. Theodosius counted 1,200 member families. In Jan. 1953 the church commissioned murals by noted Yugoslavian artist Andrei Bicenko. The cathedral was rededicated on 3 Oct. 1954. In the late 1950s, priests began to offer the liturgy in English as well as Slavonic. By 1974 membership had fallen to 600 families, but the church continued to be an important religious and cultural institution, sponsoring a Russian art exhibit in 1980 and offering regular choral concerts. St. Theodosius was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1974 was named a Cleveland landmark. It served as the site for portions of the film The Deer Hunter (1978) in the summer of 1977.
In 1995 Fr. Jason Kappanadze, grandson of Jason A., served St. Theodosius's 400 member congregation. The church planned to celebrate its centennial in 1996.
From the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History:
CARPATHO-RUSSIANS. Cleveland's Carpatho-Russians trace their heritage to the Carpathian Mts., part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918, annexed by Czechoslovakia between the world wars, and seized by the USSR after World War II. The Carpatho-Russians have always been a minority dominated by foreign powers, resulting in a weak sense of national identity among many immigrants and inconsistence in selecting terms to refer to themselves. Most immigrants accepted the designation Carpatho-Russian. However, early immigrants belonging to the Byzantine Rite Catholics church were called either Rusins or Ruthenians; while immigrants from Galicia preferred Lemkos--derived from Lemkovina, a territory in the Carpathian Mts. Religiously, the Lemkos were both Russian Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholics. Other immigrants belonging to the Russian Orthodox church did not use any designation other than Carpatho-Russian.
Carpatho-Russians arrived in Cleveland during 3 distinct periods: around the turn of the century (1880-1914); post-World War I (1920-38); and post-World War II (as displaced persons). Most came during the first period, largely men hoping to earn money and then return home. Religious oppression also prompted some Eastern Orthodox believers to emigrate. Between 125,000 and 150,000 Carpatho-Russians immigrated to the U.S. prior to World War I. After 1920, women and children predominated among new immigrants as families joined men who decided to remain in Cleveland. In 1924 the U.S. enacted a quota system severely restricting immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe, so between 1920-38 only 7,500 Carpatho-Russians immigrated to the U.S. In the 1930s, more than 30,000 Carpatho-Russians lived in Cleveland. Immigrants arriving during the third wave of immigration were displaced persons, unable or unwilling to return to their European homeland for political reasons, of diverse backgrounds, and all seeking permanent residence and citizenship. Since 1950, the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries have effectively banned emigration. In 1983 approx. 25,000 Carpatho-Russians lived in Greater Cleveland.
One of the earliest Carpatho-Russian settlements in Cleveland dates to the 1890s, when immigrants moved in among the Hungarians along Orange and Woodland avenues. As the groups prospered, the Hungarians and Carpatho-Russians moved eastward along Union and Buckeye avenues. Carpatho-Russian settlements always centered around churches. Three early churches on Cleveland's east side were the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Byzantine Rite Church, St. Joseph's Byzantine Catholic Church, and St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church, all since relocated to the suburbs. A second early settlement was on the west side of the Cuyahoga River in Tremont. The original Lemko settlement was also here, with ST. THEODOSIUS RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL and Holy Ghost Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite serving the community. By 1906 Carpatho-Russians began settling in Lakewood, with St. Gregory's Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite and SS. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church (Carpatho-Russian) there. A large-scale move to the suburbs, especially to Parma, began after World War II. Some inner-city churches followed their members to the suburbs, while new Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox churches were also established. By the 1980s, most Byzantine Rite and Russian Orthodox congregations were comprised of several nationality groups.
The most important organizations in the communities, after the churches, were the fraternal societies preserving the traditions of Carpatho-Russians and providing financial security with life insurance and workmen's compensation. Culturally, they sponsored youth clubs, sports organizations, social gatherings, and publications. Many early Carpatho-Russian clubs for Orthodox members were named for homeland villages to attract former neighbors. Most no longer existed in the 1980s, although national clubs, such as the Russian Brotherhood Organization of the USA, the United Russian Brotherhood Organization of the USA, and the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs of America, did. A newspaper for Orthodox Carpatho-Russians, Rodina (The Family), was published in Cleveland from 1927-40. National journals and newspapers, such as the American Orthodox Messenger, Russian Orthodox Journal, Orthodox Church in America, and Novoye Russkoyo Slovo (New Russian Word), still circulated in Cleveland into the 1980s. Several fraternal, cultural, and athletic organizations were established in Cleveland by Rusins (Ruthenians). The Rusin Elite Society, founded in 1927, maintained the Rusin traditions among youth, becoming in 1935 the Rusin Educational Society. Its monthly publication, the Leader (1929-30), was short-lived, but the organization sustained itself until the early 1960s.
In 1892 a Clevelander, Michael Lucak, Sr., helped found the Greek Catholic Union, a national organization promoting unity among Greek Catholics who spoke Rusin, providing insurance, encouraging both academic and religious education, and publishing Amerikansky Russky Vietnik (American Russian Messenger). In the 1980s, the GCU also organized golf and bowling tournaments and participated in an annual Byzantine Catholic Day celebration (originally called Rusin Day). Its publication, renamed the Greek Catholic Union Messenger, adopted an English-language format in 1953, retaining 1 page in the Rusin language. In 1952 a Rusin Cultural Garden was erected in Cleveland's Rockefeller Park, with a bust of Aleksander Duchnovich, a 19th-century Rusin nationalist.
Lemkos in Cleveland founded an organization in 1929 to preserve
their traditions. Two years later, representatives of Lemko associations
throughout the U.S. and Canada met in Cleveland to form the Lemko
Assn., headquartered and publishing its newspaper, Lemko, in Cleveland
from 1931-39, when it moved to Yonkers, NY. During the 1950s,
the local branch of the Lemko Assn. moved to the Lemko Club in
Tremont and published magazines, newspapers, and books in the
Lemko dialect; however efforts to attract young members were generally
unsuccessful. In the mid-1980s, the Lemko Club was sold and planned
to relocate in the suburbs. By the 1980s, most of the old Carpatho-Russian
neighborhoods were abandoned and immigrants' descendants, as well
as new immigrants, relocated to suburban areas, with the Carpatho-Russian
culture kept alive largely through the churches, which had mostly
RUSSIANS. Cleveland's Great Russian community has never been very large. Even in the 1980s, it was difficult to accurately estimate the number of Great Russians in the area, because many ethnic groups, such as the Belarusians and Carpatho-Russians, have derived from regions under the control of Tsarist Russia or the Soviet Union and have thus been enumerated as Russians or are popularly considered Russians by the general populace. Even the city's preeminent "Russian" symbol, St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral, was built not by Great Russians but by Carpatho-Russians. Indeed, in the 1980s all of the Russian Orthodox churches in the region had mixed congregations that probably included Great Russians. Great Russians began arriving in the city in small numbers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who came before World War I were largely political refugees, often of a radical bent, who were at odds with the tsarist government. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the nature of Russian immigration to Cleveland reversed entirely as former supporters of the tsar came to constitute the major portion of the local Great Russian immigration. Even with the impetus of the revolution, the city's Russian community is estimated to have consisted of only 5,000 persons at most by 1932.
No real Great Russian neighborhood evolved in Cleveland, although a small community could be found near E. 30th and Woodland Ave. by 1912. Its focal point was the radical Russian Workingman's Club. The tendency of the Russians to scatter throughout the community was strengthened by the nature of the post revolutionary immigrants, who tended to be skilled and highly literate and therefore able to assume employment and residence in various sections of the city. Organizations within the new group of immigrants were few. Some did gather at Hiram House social settlement. A Russian Circle was begun at the Intl. Institute of the YWCA in the 1930s; the 64 Russians enrolled at the YWCA lived in areas as diverse as Lakewood, Parma, and Cleveland Heights. In the 1930s, the city did have a branch of the liberal national organization the Russians Consolidated Union of Mutual Aid. Several local organizations started by the Soviet Union in Cleveland during the 1930s, including the Friends of the Soviet Union at E. 55th and Euclid and the Russian American Institute in the Erie Bldg., may have appeared Russian to the general onlooker, but they failed to garner any membership from the local Russian community. Instead, they, like the radical Ukrainian Labor Temple in the Tremont area, tended to attract American radicals or those from ethnic groups such as the Hungarians and Ukrainians. Given the difficulty of emigration from the Soviet Union, Cleveland's Great Russian population received little replenishment until the 1970s, when, by virtue of international pressure and agreements between the USSR and U.S., a number of Russian Jews migrated to the U.S. and to Cleveland. Many of them took up residence in the Jewish community of Cleveland Hts. and, because of their numbers and language, formed what could be considered a Russian-speaking community, with much of its activity centered in the Coventry Village Business District. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, a renewed immigration began from all areas of the former communist state. This led to an increased flow of Russians of all faiths, Jewish, Orthodox, and Protestant, to cities such as Cleveland. As of this writing, the nature of the Russian population of Cleveland continues to evolve and that population is now larger than at any time in the city's past. Over 1,300 people of Russian birth lived in Cleveland and Cleveland Heights in 1990 while over 30,000 local residents claimed Russian as their primary ancestry in the census of that year.
100th Anniversary, October 13, 1996
The community of St. Theodosius of Chernigov was founded in 1896. It was the first Orthodox community in Cleveland and served the needs of the various ethnic Orthodox Christian groups. Among the first immigrants was Dimitri Matey. He persuaded John Udics to settle here. Mr. Udics was a native of the village of Beloveza in Carpatho-Russia. More Russians appeared in Cleveland, first settling on the east side, but eventually moving to the South Side, an area known as Lincoln Heights. Those were days of high tension and aggressiveness between Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Christians (Uniats). The preaching of Father Alexis Toth in Minneapolis began an enormous movement of Uniats back to Orthodoxy. Mr. John Maharidge of Wilkes-Barre, PA, arrived in Cleveland in 1895. He was able to unify the Russian settlers in their move to Orthodoxy.
In Cleveland, Mr. Maharidge found: Dimitri Matey, John Udics, Steven Kapitula, Andrew Boryk, Wasil Scuba, John Mudrik, Adam Hromoga, Peter Nalesnik, Timothy Mayhrich, Daniel Klimovksy, Alex Rusynyk, John Warholiak, John Nestor, Wasil Kurilko, Steve Kasych, John Slota, Michael Ferencz, John Ferencz, Andrew Ferencz, John Kachmarik, Alex Homik and Andrew Kivko.
A history written in 1946 called these men "fearless and intrepid," able to "endure scorn and threat of personal assaults. They sacrificed their time, services and money unstintingly and did not question, "what will I get out of this."
The first meeting to establish a parish was at the home of John Maharidge. Bishop Nicholas sent Father John Kachuroff (later the first priest martyred by Communists in Russia, and now a saint) who advised the men to organize as a brotherhood in preparation for seeking permission to start a parish. Bishop Nicholas then sent Father John Nedzelnitzky who visited Cleveland at regular intervals, celebrating the Divine Liturgy for the budding community in the home of John Nestor.
The first church, located at Literary Road and West 6th Street, was built amidst a very hostile environment - the continuing battle between Uniats and Orthodox. Lumber delivered for construction was stolen and windows frequently broken, prompting the men of the parish to stand guard each night.
In her 1946 history of the community, Julia Maharidge Cherevkoff observed: "The few women in the colony were just as dauntless as their men. They took turns scrubbing and cleaning the church, washing and ironing the altar vestments. Mary Maharidge baked the prosphori for every liturgy for ten years without one cent of remuneration, asking for none nor expecting any. The men took turns collecting church funds and doing anything else needed to be done. When their own resources were exhausted, they hopped freight trains to other towns to solicit funds from other parishes. Every cent donated was given to the church. They had no expense accounts, they did not even believe in them."
During a visit to the new parish, Bishop Nicholas ordained Victor Stepanoff a Deacon on October 21, 1896. Two days later Deacon Stepanoff was ordained a Priest in Pittsburgh and assigned as the first regular pastor. Also in 1896, the Orthodox Church in Russia canonized Theodosius (Uglitsky) a saint. Although the Cleveland Community had desired St. Nicholas as their Patron, Archbishop Tikhon prevailed upon the people to name the church after the newly canonized Theodosius. During Father Stepanoff's five-year stay in Cleveland, he organized the community's religious school, meeting in the home of Mrs. Anna Chehayl, taught first by Andrew Chichilla, then by John Ripich.
In 1902 Father Jason Kappanadze was assigned, finding a community of 15 families. The people were dedicated to their Church, working hard for 12 cents an hour, giving what they could. Their donations were supplemented by the Russian Missionary Fund, established by Czar Nicholas II. Gradually the colony increased and its life centered completely on the Church, since "no one received any self-expression from his work. Culture, education, mutual help both spiritual and financial, all came from the Church." The parish grew and soon needed a new home.
The Convent of St. Joseph, of the Augustian Sisters, was located at the foot of Starkweather Avenue, comprising several acres of beautifully kept grounds, extending from Professor Street to West 7th Place. "Below the land was a flat, green meadow on which many cows were tranquilly pastured. All along the hill were luxurious vegetable gardens. Farther to the south were fields blossoming with violets in the springtime . . . On summer days, great crowds thronged into the valley down University Street or West 7th Street, driving horses and buggies and surreys with fringes on top to watch the horses race around the track.
"The convent grounds were tightly enclosed by high fences, the privacy of which was greatly increased by high, thorny hedges, topped with dense shade trees impossible to penetrate even the eye. Inside, the grounds were lovely. Could you enter, you would find vegetable gardens, orchards, shrubbery and flowers. The stone building in the center was large enough to accommodate all the needs of the people. In fact, they were wondering how to put the entire building to use. John Ferencz somehow got wind of the fact that the nuns wished to dispose of their property. He informed Father Kappanadze of the fact and soon they were busily negotiating to acquire the property." It would cost $30,000 for the 30 acres, and there were 30 families - most with 8 or 9 children to feed and clothe - in the parish. Two dollars a day was a good wage in those days. Nevertheless, our forefathers bought the land, made an allotment out of it, cut St. Tikhon and St. Olga Streets through it, and sold plots to the parishioners where they built homes and helped the church pay for the land. After organizing a school and looking after many needs of the people, Father Kappanadze returned to his native Georgia in 1908.
Father Vasili Vasilieff served from 1908 to 1909, followed by Father John Chepeleff. It was under Father Chepeleff's leadership that the land which is now Saint Theodosius Orthodox Cemetery was purchased. John Ferencz negotiated the deal for the land, and Peter Kormos assumed the mortgage for its purchase.
Father Basil Lisenkovsky became the pastor in 1910. It was under his leadership that the present Cathedral was erected. With a constant increase in parish enrollment, a parish assembly was convened in May, 1911 and authorized the design and construction. The Construction Committee consisted of: Father Basil Lisenkovsky, John Stofan, John Ferencz, Peter Kormos, Wasil Rusynyk, Andrew Sudyk and John Zayatz.
St. Theodosius Cathedral, one of the foremost Orthodox churches in America, was modeled on the Church of our Savious Jesus Christ in Moscow. Father Lisenkovsky furnished photographs to Mr. Frederick Baird, a Cleveland architect, and he collaborated with Mr. Baird in designing this unique and beautiful church. The Cathedral is built in the shape of a cross and is surmounted by thirteen crosses and cupolas, representing Jesus Christ and the twelve Apostles. The corner stone was laid on September 23, 1911. The church was consecrated in 1912 by Bishop Alexander.
Father Lisenkovsky was succeeded by Father Petrowsky, Father Alexander Kukulevsky and Father Jason Kappanadze, returning to Cleveland in 1922 for a pastorate that would end in 1957. A $40,000 church debt existed and was quickly paid off while the church was receiving initial decoration.
In 1936, The Fifth All-American Council of the Church was held at Saint Theodosius. It was at this Council that Metropolitan Theophilus was elected to lead the Church in America. In 1946, St. Theodosius was the site of the historic 7th Council of the Church in America, November 26-29. By a vote of 187-6, the Church voted to petition the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis, to accept the North American Metropolitinate under his spiritual leadership. The resolution specified that the "present autonomous status and the right to self-government" were to be retained and that the All-American Councils were to continue to be the "Supreme Legislative and Administrative body of our Church."
(page missing here)
Father Sergius Kuharsky was pastor from 1964-1976, during which time the Ridge Manor Hall was built on Ridge Road, on the site of the previous hall.
Father Stephen Kopestonsky became pastor in 1976, followed by the current pastor, Father Jason Kappanadze, in 1988.
As our community enters its second century of worship and fellowship, it is a parish of 450 adults and 75 children, existing in the midst of the Tremont neighborhood which is emerging from a long time of degeneration. In recent years, the neighborhood has been discovered by young professionals who work in the nearby downtown area. They are buying and restoring many of the old, elegant homes in the area. As this Anniversary celebration approached, a complete roof recovering was accomplished, water damage to the Cathedral frescos was beautifully restored, and the Slavonic text of biblical prophecies and verses which adorn the walls were translated into English so that they could be read and understood by the assembled faithful.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE ST. THEODOSIUS CATHEDRAL ORTHODOX
CHURCH IN AMERICA
The tide of immigration during the last half of the nineteenth century rose very high. The majority settled in Pennsylvania, replacing the Irish workers in the coal mines. Others settled in and around New York in the great manufacturing centers of New Jersey, New York, and New England. Lesser numbers chose the western cities of Chicago and Minneapolis. After a few received work which gave them a measure of security, they corresponded with friends in Europe or in other American communities, and urged them to follow.
In the beginning, almost all of the earlier churches in the east were Uniat but the religious warfare stirred upon these shores created much strife. The average third generation American will find it hard to understand the difficulties, the persecutions, and would be more than amazed if the truth were disclosed in its entirety. And yet, these same adversities caused our people to rebel from Uniatism, to form fraternal lodges, to found parishes and build churches.
Cleveland naturally received its quota of pioneers. The first person who settled here was Dimitry Matey. He was instrumental in influencing John Udics to settle in Cleveland in 1881. He came from the village of Beloveza in Carpatho-Russia. Inhabitants of Beloveza were traders. Many traveled into Russia to sell their wares. Mr. Udics was such an itinerant merchant and his wanderings carried him far and wide, deep into the heart of Russia, as far as Nizhny Novgorod. Here he sold his baskets at the great historic fairs.
Timothy Mahrich arrived in Cleveland in 1882 from Sviatkova in Galician, firmly intent in making his permanent home in America. He was impressed on arrival that Mr. Matey had already been able to save enough to purchase his own home. From such a small start, the Russian group grew. Gradually, more people seeped in from the coal mine areas of Pennsylvania. At first most of these people lived on the east side in the notorious hay market district and in the area of the Uniat church. A small number of these settlers crossed the river and the flats to establish homes on the south side, then referred to as Lincoln Heights. They found work in the nearby steel mills, with the railroads, and in other industries.
Although our people attended the Uniat church and joined their fraternal lodges, all were not accepted wholeheartedly and discriminations were in evidence. These led to dissatisfactions and to a desire to form their own lodge which was a forerunner to the parish and church. Although the exact date of forming St. Nicholas Society is not available, the original Articles of Incorporation issued by the State of Ohio on September 28, 1896 state the purpose of incorporation to be "for religious purposes and public worship." The six men who signed the application for articles of incorporation, and the order in which they appear are John Udics, John Majchrycz, John Mudrik, John Neszterak, Petro Nalysnyk, and John Slota. These names are documented.
In preparation for the Golden Jubilee celebration in 1946, the committee researched and verified the following to be original founders and charter members of St. Theodosius parish in 1896:
Having formed the fraternal St. Nicholas Society, the group sought further advice from Bishop Nicholas, whose see was in San Francisco. To expedite matters, he delegated Rev. Father John Nedzelnitsky then assigned to the church in Pittsburgh, to visit Cleveland for religious services and founding of the parish. Though the Russian colony had few members, and individual incomes provided little more than bare necessities, plans to build a church received priority and a modest frame edifice was soon erected on the corner of Literary Road and what is now called West 6th Street. As they were surrounded by people hostile to Russian Orthodoxy, lumber and materials were stolen or vandalized, necessitating the men of the parish to take turns as night guards. The men and the women too, carried on unremittingly, each doing his or her utmost without thought of compensation or reimbursement. Thus the parish grew financially and others joined to increase the parish numerically.
In the tiny cozy church within a few months after its completion, a happy even took place fraught with significance and high hopes. It was October 19, 1896. Bishop Nicholas was honoring his new parish with a visit. The new church was consecrated and during the liturgy he ordained Victor Stepanoff as Deacon. Two days later, October 21, in Pittsburgh he was ordained to priesthood. And Father Stepanoff was assigned to Cleveland as the first resident pastor.
On September 9, 1896 (Julian Calendar) a new Saint was canonized in Russia - St. Theodosius. Bishop Nicholas proposed that the new church be named St. Theodosius after this newly canonized saint. Father Stepanoff remained as pastor for five years and then returned to his homeland, Russia.
During his stay, one more milestone had to be reached and passed - the establishment of a religious school. Mr. Andrew Chichilla was the first teacher. The next teacher was Mr. John Ripich who conducted the school in his own home. He terminated his teaching activity upon entering into business.
Although it appears to be impossible to recount the names of all who joined in the earliest years, this writer is moved to pay tribute to all who come to mind. Such men, with their families were Theodore Ksenich, Theodore Popowchak, Theodore Katzan, Steven Nester, William Nester, John Ksenich, Peter Kormos, John Gratson, Andrew Sudyk, John Ripich, Dimitry Senchak, William Rusynyk, John Stofan, Michael Shirak, Vasili Mudrik, Anthony Gracon, Andrew Kostyk, Samuel Sidorak, John Zayatz, Peter Habaurchak, Steven Hricik, Andrew Washko, John Jemma, Paul Fedak, and others.
In the year 1902, Father Jason R. Kappanadze was assigned to St. Theodosius Church. This is Father's story as he tells it supplemented with additions which Father's modesty omits. He found 13 or 15 families on his arrival. All of Father's parishioners were either Galician or Uhro-Rus. - not one person from Russia. He says he found this small group very devoted to their forefather's religion. The people were very poor and worked as laborers for 10 to 12 cents an hour, twelve hours a day, seven days a week, in the steel mills and on the railroads. Their financial means were very limited, but the missionary fund furnished by the Russian Tsarist Government subsidized the missionary priests in their subsistence. There was a great deal of missionary and educational work to be done, and Father Kappanadze worked tirelessly.
At this time, St. Joseph's Convent of the Augustine Sisters was located on Starkweather Avenue with frontage from Professor Street to West 7th Place, and running back to the bottom of the valley - thirty acres of land. The Convent grounds were tightly enclosed by high fences, the privacy of which was greatly increased by high thorny hedges, topped with dense shade trees. The stone building in the center was more than adequate to serve all needs of our people. Somehow Mr. John Ferencz learned that the Augustine Sisters wished to sell the property, and he informed Father Kappanadze. Soon they were negotiating to acquire the property. It was valued at $30,000 and there were only 30 families. Though their individual and parish resources were limited, the parish approved the purchase when Mr. John Ferencz assumed a great personal risk and mortgaged his own property to help matters along. In the allotment of the land, two streets were cut through it and were named St. Olga and St. Tikhon. The lots were sold largely to the parishioners, and thus the mortgage debt of the parish was diminished. The stone building housed the church on the second floor, the school, and the priest's residence. A great deal of time and effort was expended by Father Kappanadze and the teachers to educate the children of the parish. Because of Father's skill as an educator, he was asked to head a boy's school called the "Bursa" and the boys who came form all parts of the United States for Russian education, were housed on the third floor of the stone building. Many of these young men were preparing to enter the seminary at Minneapolis. During Father Kappanadze's pastorship, from 1902 to 1908, the church prospered. Like most missionaries however, Father yearned to return to his homeland.
1896 - St. Theodosius (RUSSIAN GREEK/RUSYN) - Rev. John Nedzelnitsky
1897 - 1902 - St. Theodosius - Rev. Victor Stepanoff
1902 - 1908 St. Theodosius 64 Starkweather, Rev. Jason Kappandze
1908 - St. Theodosius - 733 Starkweather, Rev. Vasili Vasilieff
1909 - St. Theodosius - 733 Starkweather, Rev. John Chepeleff
1910 - 1921 St. Theodosius Starkweather at St. Olga, Rev. Wm. Lisenkovsky
1915 - St. Theodosius - 733 Starkweather, Rev. C. Karpenka
1915 - St. Theodosius - 733 Starkweather, Rev. Arcady Petrofsky
1915 - St. Theodosius - 733 Starkweather, Rev. Vasilie Rubinsky
1921 - St. Theodosius - 733 Starkweather, Rev. Alexander Kukulevsky
1922 - 1957 St. Theodosius 733 Starkweather, Rev. Jason Kappanadze
1958 - St. Theodosius - Rev. Peter Bohush
1959 - 1963 - St. Theodosius - Rev. Igor Tkachuk
1964 - 1976 - St. Theodosius - Rev. Sergius Kuharsky
1976 - 1987 - St. Theodosius - Rev. Stephan Kopestonsky
1988 - St. Theodosius - Rev. Jason Kapp
2006 - St. Theodosius - Rev. John Zdinak
ST. VLADIMIR'S UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
2280 W. 11th
In 1904 the first Ukrainian Orthodox services in Cleveland were conducted in a small hall on W. 14th St. St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church was completed in 1933 at 2280 W. 11th St. As parishioners moved to the suburbs, the church followed. From 1957-66, worship was held in the old Parma city hall. In 1966, a new St. Vladimir Church at 5913 State Rd. in Parma. Phone: 440-885-1509
A group of Ukrainian patriots who had great love for their country and Mother Church, organized St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Church and became a part of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The first Divine Liturgy was sung in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 26, 1924. The newly formed congregation elected a committee, and with the Very Rev. Gregory Chomicky as pastor, founded the St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Cleveland. The present pastor is the Rev. Steve Hanjavich. The church was built in 1932. It features two copper-domed towers and a yellow brick exterior. It became a Spanish church in 1966. The church moved to 5913 State Road in Parma.
TODAY IN TREMONT THIS CHURCH IS:
Spanish Assemblies of God
2280 West 11th Street
St. Vladimir's moved to Parma, Ohio
Saint Vladimirs's parish was founded in the year 1924, predominantly by pioneers-immigrants from Western Ukraine. By the Year 1926, property was purchased in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. Construction began and the first church was dedicated in 1933. Many of the parish organizations were established during the early years of the parish.
After World War II, the parish was strengthened by more immigration from all regions of Ukraine. The growth of the parish and shift of population to the suburbs necessitated the purchase of property in Parma in 1954. By 1959 the old Parma City Hall was purchased, moved and renovated for a chapel, which was simultaneously, with the old church, served by the clergy. In 1967, the present church on State Road in Parma was consecrated for use. Soon after, a beautiful 3-level baroque iconostas (icon screen) was installed and dedicated. For the celebration of the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine, in 1988, an 800 square foot mosaic, depicting the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine, was placed over the Main doors of the Cathedral. In 1993, a monument commemorating the over 7 million victims of the Artificial Famine in Ukraine in 1933 was dedicated on the parish grounds.
Presently, St. Vladimir's parish facilities include a church, seating over 450 faithful, a school with eight classrooms, a library with over 3000 books and cultural displays, a conference room with a photo display of the Famine of 1933, a meeting room and church offices. The Grand Hall has seating capacity of over 400. Two rectories and two additional homes are also part of the parish complex.
Not far from the church, at the Brooklyn Heights Cemetery, the parish administers a section for its parishioners. At the center of the section stands a 12 foot memorial which was dedicated in 1976 in the memory of all the deceased parishioners. Recently the parish completed the interior of the Cathedral, by adding iconography to the ceiling and walls of the Church. In 1997, the Church was designated as the Cathedral of the Central Eparchy of the UOC of the USA.
The parish today has a vibrant spiritual and community life which includes many parish organizations and groups: the Ukrainian Orthodox League (Senior and Junior Chapters), Brotherhood of St. Vladimir, Sisterhood of St. Ann, Sisterhood of St. Olga, 60+ Group, Pyrohy Workers, Social Club, Ukrainian and English Choirs, Ukrainian School, Altar Servers, Church Elders, School of Ukrainian Folk Dancing, Parish Library, School of Bandura, Sunday School, Vacation Church School and Parish Youth Commission.
The spiritual needs of the over 900 member parish are met by the presiding eparch, His beatitude Metropolitan Constantine and the pastoral staff of Fr. John Nakonachny (pastor), Fr. Ivan Mironko (assistant) and Fr. Deacon Ihor Mahlay.
1928 St. Vladimir's (UKRAINIAN) 2280 W. 14th, Rev. Gregory Chomicky.
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