Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church

Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church opened in Tremont in 1910 to serve Rusin (also spelled Rusyn) immigrants from Central Europe. Rusins (not to be confused with Russians) are a Slavic ethnic group with a distinct language and culture. They hailed from the Carpathian Mountains in east Slovakia, west Ukraine, southeast Poland and the northern tip of Romania. The Byzantine Catholicism that many Rusins practice originated with the successful efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to convert the Eastern Orthodox peoples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Rusins first immigrated to the Hungarian community on Cleveland’s east side in the 1890s and later to Tremont—often working in the steel mills and other industries that dotted the Flats. By 1909, two Greek Catholic churches (they weren't referred to as "Byzantine" until the mid-20th century) had been built in Cleveland, but most parishioners had to travel across the Cuyahoga River and the railroad track to attend liturgies on Sundays and holy days. To meet the growing parish’s needs, Holy Ghost Greek Catholic (now called Byzantine Catholic) Church was granted a charter by the state of Ohio on October 8, 1909. When it opened the next year, Holy Ghost—built for a cost of $15,000—was the first Byzantine Catholic church on the city's west side. Within ten years, parish families numbered 400. Around that time, an orphanage was established to provide for victims of the great influenza epidemic. Holy Ghost also became the first U. S. Home for the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, who staffed the orphanage until its closing in 1923.

By 1938, Holy Ghost had grown to nearly nine hundred families and some 150 of these formed St. Mary Church on West 35th St., now State Road and Biddulph Avenue. Some 3,000 souls were nurtured by Holy Ghost at the time of its Golden Jubilee celebration in 1959, but the changing neighborhood and exodus of many parishioners to the suburbs were beginning to take their toll. The church closed in 2009.

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