The Hungarian Community of Cleveland in Faith & Culture
The Story of the Three Hungarian Roman Catholic Churches of Cleveland
“… we think of the successive waves of immigrants whose traditions have so enriched the Church in America…”
Pope Benedict XVI, from Homily given at Mass at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY, April 20, 2008
The churches of St. Elizabeth, St. Emeric, & St. Margaret invite your membership and support.
Past and Present — Three Roman Catholic Parishes Founded by Hungarian Immigrants of Cleveland, Ohio
“Hungarian immigrants of the Roman Catholic faith, in most cases, organized their own congregations. There was no planning commission to direct the work of the Hungarian immigrants in America. Churches simply sprang up wherever congregations were strong enough to support them. Many times, twenty-five or thirty families already formed a congregation, then requested a priest, usually from Hungary. The first Roman Catholic congregation to present such a request was in Cleveland, Ohio in 1891. In response, Reverend Charles Boehm was sent to America. Reverend Boehm worked tirelessly to organize congregations and build churches in numerous communities. The first Roman Catholic church built by Hungarians in North America was St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio, dedicated in 1893.”
WELCOME TO OUR PARISHES!
Our parishioners include not only those who have recently come to the United States, but also those whose ancestors reach far back to our foundings.
We are dedicated to strengthening the faith of our members, which is entwined with our Hungarian culture dating to the founding of the Hungarian Nation-State by Saint Stephen (Szent István) in the year 1000 A.D.
Although our parishes were originally founded to serve the immigrant Hungarian (Magyar) Community of Cleveland, today, we welcome everyone who shares our beliefs. Please contact the pastors of our churches for more information about membership and support.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church
(First Hungarian R.C. Church in N. America)
Rev. András Antal
9016 Buckeye Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44104
Fax: 216-421-0461 Mass: Sunday: 9:00 am (English) & 10:30 am (Hungarian) Saturday: 9:00 am Monday – Friday: 8:00 am Holy Day: 7:00 pm; Vigil 9:00 am Confession: Before Mass & by appointment
St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church of Cleveland, the first U.S. church established for Hungarian Roman Catholics, celebrated its first mass on December 11, 1892. Hungarians had come in great numbers to the Cleveland area during the late 1880s and early 1890s. At first they worshipped at St. Ladislaw with the Slovaks but soon petitioned for their own parish. At Bishop Ignatius Horstmann’s request, Cardinal Kolozs Vaszary of Hungary sent Fr. Charles Boehm as a missionary. He arrived in Cleveland on December 1, 1892 and celebrated mass for the first time in St. Joseph’s Orphanage for Girls on Woodland Ave. By September 1893, a brick structure was built at 9016 Buckeye Rd., just west of Woodhill. A school opened a month later, and was subsequently expanded and put under the direction of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. 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 Szépessy, a stone Romanesque church was built, begun in 1918 and dedicated on February 19, 1922. The church, which seats 1,344, was designed by Emile Uhlrich. After Fr. Szépessy’s death in 1922, the now Monsignor Boehm took charge of the parish. Monsignor Emory Tanos became pastor in 1927 and served until retiring in 1971, when Fr. Julius Zahorszky took over. St. Elizabeth Church, designated as both a national and a local landmark, hosted a year-long celebration for its centennial, culminating in April, 1993. Rev. András Antal currently serves the parish.
St. Emeric of Hungary Roman Catholic Church
Rev. Sándor Siklódi
1860 West 22nd St. Cleveland, Ohio 44113 (216) 861-1937 Office Hours: Weekdays 9 am – 12:30 pm Mass: Sunday: 9:45 am (Hungarian) Saturday: 9:00 am (Hungarian) & 5:00 pm (English) Monday – Friday: 8:00 am (Hungarian) Holy Day on weekday: 5:00 pm (Hungarian) Confessions: Saturday 3-5 pm or by appointment
St. Emeric parish, founded in 1904, ministered to many people of Hungarian ancestry living on the West Side.
The church has its origins when seven Hungarians, speaking for 162 families and 432 single persons, made a $50 down payment on property on 6082 Hicks Street, later W. 24th St. When the original church at Bridge Avenue N. W. and W. 24th Street burned down, it was rebuilt it on its present site, 1902 W. 22nd street. The property then included a brick church, school, convent for the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer who taught in the school, and a rectory. “The wooden frame church was destroyed by fire in 1915,” wrote Father Francis Kárpi, a former pastor. “Parishioners then purchased Annunciation Church known as the old French church, a few blocks away. . . The bell from this church hangs in our belfry. It was cast in West Troy, N.Y., in 1871 and has a French inscription. . . Our parish is historically linked to the Terminal Tower because the Van Sweringens [= famous Cleveland land & building speculators] purchased our second property to clear the land for railway tracks that led into the depot.”
The result of the transaction was that the present church and school building was constructed in 1925. The church was renovated in 1973. It was visited by Cardinal József Mindszenty in 1974. In addition to being a church for Hungarians, it also serves others in the community. Rev. Sándor Siklódi currently serves the parish.
Partly adapted from: www.clevelandmemory.org/hungarian/articleshtm/hupress3.htm
St. Margaret of Hungary Roman Catholic Church
Rev. László Roskó
4680 Lander Rd
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022
Fax 440-248-8706 Mass: Sunday: 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 noon Saturday: 5:00 pm Monday – Friday: 8:00 am; Holiday: 9 am Holy Day: 9:00 am, 12:00 noon, 5:00 pm Confessions: By appointment. Additional Sacraments: Baptism, Marriage, and others by appointment
Nine lots were purchased in 1918 on a plot of farm land which became the site of the original church at 2927 E. 116th St.
By the 1920s, the increasing number of Hungarian Roman Catholics on upper Buckeye Road necessitated the construction of another Roman Catholic church, St. Margaret of Hungary at East 116th Street. At a time when walking was the primary means of transportation, St. Elizabeth of Hungary (East 90th) was at a considerable distance for the parishioners living around upper Buckeye Road.
In 1918, Father Richard Roth was named administrator to the newly-formed parish. Two years later Father Ernest Rickert, who received his education in Hungary, was appointed first pastor of St. Margaret of Hungary Church. Under his direction, a wooden church and a small recreation center were constructed in 1922. In 1927, Father Andrew Köller became pastor of the church, serving in this capacity for more than thirty years. Parishioners remember him as the “Miracle Man” of the parish.
The leadership and faith demonstrated by Reverend Köller inspired all around him. In 1928, plans were initiated for a new church and school building, with a loan of $200,000. The new church was constructed and the dedication took place in October, 1930. Through the painstaking efforts of Reverend Köller and the parishioners, the church survived the Great Depression, despite the enormous amount of annual interest due on the loans received. The mortgage was amortized in 1946. Father Andrew Köller was named Domesticate Prelate in 1934 by Pope Pius XI for his tireless efforts and many noteworthy accomplishments.
In the early 1990’s the church again relocated, from the Buckeye Rd. area to its present location. Rev. László Roskó has served the parish since 1972.