SS. CYRIL AND METHODIUS PARISH, 12608 Madison Ave., was established to serve Roman Catholic Slovak immigrants living in southeastern LAKEWOOD, an area called the BIRD'S NEST. Since the closest church for Slovak Catholics was ST. MARTIN, farther east, a number of SLOVAKS petitioned Bp. IGNATIUS F. HORSTMANN for a parish. The first mass was celebrated on 3 Aug. 1903 by Rev. Charles J. Ouimet in a home at the future church site. SS. Cyril & Methodius was declared a mission of ST. WENDELIN PARISH, and St. Wendelin's pastor, Rev. OLDRICH J. ZLAMAL, was named its administrator. A small frame building was constructed in 1905 as the first church, and that September, Fr. Thomas Balloon was named first resident pastor.

A school also opened that year. Originally staffed by lay teachers, it was placed under the jurisdiction of the SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME in 1908. A new school was begun in 1915. Overcoming an injunction which had been filed by neighborhood residents halting its construction, the work was completed in 1916. In the early 1930s, the parish began building its present church (2018). Constructed in the Lombard Romanesque style by the architectural firm of Potter-Gabele & Co., the church was dedicated by Bp. JOSEPH SCHREMBS on 7 Sept. 1931.  

For economic reasons, the church exterior was left largely undecorated. In 1948 the church interior was enhanced by the art of Dr. Joseph G. Cincik, a Slovak artist and scholar. Cincik's work, designed for a shrine in Slovakia, was thwarted by the Communist regime in Slovakia, and then transferred to the Lakewood church. Incorporating folk motifs, the murals display the life stories of SS. Cyril and Methodius (who christianized the Slovaks) and the history of the church in Slovakia. Rev. Richard Ondreyka was pastor in 1995.

Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.


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