CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ST. JOHN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH

ST. JOHN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH

ST. JOHN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH was the first Byzantine (or Greek) Catholic parish established in Cleveland. It was founded in 1892 by a group of Byzantine Catholic families with the approval of the Roman Catholic bishop. The first pastor was Rev. John Csurgovich, who served for about 4 years. The parish was originally known as St. John the Baptist's Church.

Various nationalities originally attended the church. The different ethnic groups soon established their own Byzantine Catholic churches, and St. John's then became primarily a Hungarian church. St. John's is credited with being the first Hungarian Byzantine Catholic Church established in the U.S. A frame church and parish house was built at 8021 Rawlings St. in Cleveland about 1895. In 1908, under the leadership of Fr. Lukach, the church moved to Buckeye Rd., southeast corner of Ambler Rd. Beginning in 1952, 2 years and $600,000 of work resulted in a new church built on the site of the old, a home for nuns, and the first Hungarian Greek Catholic elementary school in the U.S. The Romanesque-style church was dedicated 31 Oct. 1954. Rev. Alexander Bobak, a native of Hungary, was pastor at the time, serving from 195272.

The school closed in 1972 and the Buckeye Rd. church closed in 1982. In June 1983, under the leadership of Fr. Thomas Loya, ground was broken for a new church at the corner of Liberty and Aurora Rds. in Solon. The first liturgy was said in the new church on 24 Dec. 1983. A dome was added to this Byzantine-style church in 1988. Since 1994 Fr. Michael Huszti has led the church.