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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST BYZANTINE RITE CATHEDRAL

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST BYZANTINE RITE CATHEDRAL

The parish of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST BYZANTINE RITE CATHEDRAL was established in 1898. It is considered the mother church of the Ruthenian Byzantine Rite Catholic church in Ohio. St. John's earliest services were held at St. Joseph's chapel at E. 23rd and Woodland Ave. The first pastor was Rev. Ivan Matyaczko (sometimes listed as F. Matyack), who was succeeded ca. 1900 by Rev. Peter Keselak. A rented hall at Woodland and Perry (now E. 22nd) streets was used from about 1899 until a church building at the southwest corner of Scovill (now Community College) and E. 22nd streets was purchased in 1901. At this time the parish was known as St. John's United Greek Church. A triple-domed church was built on the site of the old in 1913 under the leadership of Rev. Stefan Makar.

Rev. Stephan Gulyassy became pastor of the church in 1922. Rev. Gulyassy, who arrived when the church was divided by factions, stabilized the parish and guided the growth of the church until his death in 1966. In the late 1950s, St. John's was threatened by the construction of the innerbelt. A new church, part of a planned Byzantine Catholic Center, was begun in 1959 at Snow and Broadview roads in Parma. It was designed by architect John F. Lipaj in the Byzantine style. The new church was dedicated on 6 Nov. 1960 and the old church demolished in 1961. An elementary school was begun in 1962 and that same year a convent was purchased. In 1969 the church became a cathedral and the seat of the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Parma.