ST. PAUL CROATIAN CHURCH is Cleveland's only Roman Catholic parish serving Latin Rite CROATIANS. The city's first Croatians attended ST. VITUS CHURCH but desired a priest conversant in Croatian. On 21 July 1901 the growing Croatian community purchased a site on E. 40th just south of St. Clair Ave. Fr. Milan Sutlic, newly arrived from Croatia, became St. Paul's first pastor in 1902.
The church cornerstone was laid on 2 Aug. 1903; the first services in the new building were held on Easter Sunday in 1904. That year Fr. Nicholas Grskovic succeeded Fr. Sutlic; he began a parochial school in 1910. Fr. Michael Domladovac became pastor in 1917. In 1920 he hired the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Christ the King to teach in the school. Fr. Joseph Misich became pastor in 1937; during his tenure, the mortgage was paid off. He encouraged a number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
After WORLD WAR II, St. Paul Croatian helped many Croatian refugees find homes and employment. In the 1990s the parish remained the center of Catholic Croatian culture in Cleveland, helping to fund most Croatian Community activities and organizations throughout Cuyahoga County. In 1995 Rev. Mirko Hladni served as pastor for St. Paul's 1,200 family congregation.
Papers of St. Paul Croatian Parish, Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.