ST. ELIZABETH CATHOLIC CHURCH of Cleveland celebrated its first mass on 11 Dec. 1892, the first U.S. church established for Hungarian Roman Catholics. HUNGARIANS came in great numbers to the Cleveland area during the late 1880s and early 1890s. At first they worshipped at ST. LADISLAS CHURCH with the SLOVAKS but soon petitioned for their own parish. At Bp. IGNATIUS HORSTMANN's request, Cardinal Kolozs Vaszary of Hungary sent Fr. CHARLES BOEHM as a missionary. He arrived in Cleveland on 1 Dec. 1892 and celebrated mass for the first time in ST. JOSEPH'S ORPHANAGE on Woodland Ave. A brick structure was built at 9016 Buckeye Rd. just west of Woodhill by Sept. 1893; a school opened a month later. It was subsequently expanded and put under the direction of the URSULINE SISTERS. In 1944 the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer replaced the Ursulines; they taught until the school closed in 1964.
Fr. Boehm remained as pastor until 1907, when he left to work with other American Hungarian communities. Under his successor, Fr. Julius Szepessy, a stone Romanesque church was built, begun in 1918 and dedicated by Bp. JOSEPH SCHREMBS on 19 Feb. 1922. The church, which seats 1,344, was designed by Emile Uhlrich. After Fr. Szepessy's death in 1922, the now Msgr. Boehm took charge of the parish. Msgr. Emory Tanos became pastor in 1927 and served until retiring in 1971. St. Elizabeth Church, designated both a national and a local landmark, hosted a year-long celebration for its centennial, culminating in April 1993. In 1995 Rev. Andras Antal was pastor and the congregation membership stood at 450.
See also RELIGION; CATHOLICS, ROMAN.