Shrine Church of Saint Stanislaus
The Shrine Church of Saint Stanislaus is dedicated to St. Stanislaus, the bishop, martyr, and patron of Poland. It represents the history of the Polish community in Cleveland, Ohio since the mid 1800s. Cleveland's Bishop asked the Pastor of St. Adalbert in Berea to 'gather and care' for the Poles in Cleveland and Newburg who were living in the Flats and worshiping at the abandoned St. Mary church.
By the 1870s, the community grew rapidly as Amasa Stone sought to solve a labor dispute by recruiting workers from Poland to staff his Newburg Rolling Mill. Community members soon built the first Saint Stanislaus church on its present site on East 65th Street in 1882. This structure was replaced in the 1890s with a large brick Gothic cruciform design with two magnificent spires. The spires were toppled in an April, 1909 tornado that killed seven people in the neighborhood. The interior of the church remained intact with nearly two dozen stained glass windows, several statues, frescoed walls, and plaster engravings. Forty rows of hand-rubbed red oak pews and a wood carved pulpit adorn the nave of the church.
The parish and schools grew to serve the Polish community with elementary and high school programs which included language and culture instruction. The high school program merged with three other Cleveland Catholic schools to form Cleveland Central Catholic in 1969. The school remains in operation today.
St. Stanislaus remains the center of the Polish community in greater Cleveland. It hosts many events celebrating new and old world Polish achievements. Most notably, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, later to be Pope John Paul II, visited the church in 1969 to present relics of St. Stanislaus as a gift from Poland in thanks for Cleveland's consistent support. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa also visited in 2004.