ST. MARY'S ROMANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH was established on 15 Aug. 1904 by 101 ROMANIANS in Cleveland. The church's first structure, at 6201-05 Detroit Ave., cost $10,000 and was dedicated in Aug. 1905. It was struck by fire twice, in June 1918 and Dec. 1932. In Jan. 1927 the church dedicated a church hall, known as "the National Home": Prince Nicholas of Hohenzollern, son of Queen Marie of Romania, attended the dedication. In Aug. 1960 the 400-member congregation moved to 3256 Warren Rd., selling its buildings to the Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church.

The new building, designed by Haralamb Georgescu of Los Angeles, was constructed in the style of the wooden churches of Transylvania. It featured porcelain enamel figures of Christ designed by Edward and Thelma Winter, icons carved by New Yorker Christopher Loveanu, and a 176' steeple topped by an aluminum cross. The church hall at the new site was destroyed by fire in July 1973. It was replaced in 1975 by a social hall with a library and a nationality museum.

St. Mary's first priest, Rev. Father Moise Balea, served from 1905-Nov. 1907. He eventually established 20 parishes throughout the country and founded America, the first Romanian Orthodox newspaper published in the U.S. Six priests served the church between 1907-28. They were followed by Rev. John Trutza (1928-54) and Rev. Vasile Hategan (1954-82), who helped the church to grow and resolve some financial difficulties. Rev. Richard Grabowski of California succeeded Rev. Hategan in 1982. Rev. Father Remus Grama replaced Rev. Grabowski in 1990. The church facility underwent a complete renovation in 1994 to celebrate its 90th anniversary. In 1995 congregation membership stood at 550.

Hategan, Vasile. St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church (1979).


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