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Parish History


The Beginning


On November 7, 1966, Bishop Nicholas T. Elko designated Father Michael Moran as the first pastor of the newly established parish of St. Mary Magdalene Byzantine Catholic Church in Fairview Park, Ohio. Just three weeks later on, November 27, 250 people celebrated the first Divine Liturgy with Father Moran at Parkview Elementary School.


The new parish immediately began looking for a permanent location, and in 1967, the church purchased a house and land at 5390 West 220th Street in Fairview Park. In 1968, under the guidance of Father Joseph Pohorlak, the second pastor of the church, Lesko Associates, Architects, prepared plans for the parish center, a rectory, and the church. The parish center, including a temporary church, opened in 1970, and the parish celebrated the first Divine Liturgy at the West 220th Street location on May 3, 1970.


The parish continued to grow and celebrated its l0th anniversary under the spiritual leadership of Father Thomas Chelena, pastor from 1975 to 1979.

The New Church


Father James Kubajak became pastor in 1979; Father Michael Hayduk started serving the parish in 1985. On November 16, 1986, Bishop Andrew Pataki joined the parish family as the celebrant for the Divine Liturgy to commemorate the 20th Anniversary and burning of the mortgage. In 1987, the parish commissioned a mosaic of St. Mary Magdalene designed by artist Frank Marchione. The inspirational mosaic is composed of imported Italian marble, ceramic, and tiles.


Father Edward Zavell served as the sixth pastor of Saint Mary Magdalene beginning August 1987. Under Father Ed's spiritual guidance, the parish continued to move toward the goal of completing the original building plans. The first step was demolition of the old rectory house and construction of a new rectory that Bishop Pataki dedicated on Sunday, April 16, 1989.


On May 2, 1993, the parish began construction on a permanent church with a groundbreaking ceremony. Father Zavell celebrated the first Divine Liturgy in the new church on Christmas Eve, 1993. On July 24, 1994, Bishop Pataki joined in celebrating the dedication of the new church with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the anointing of the interior, and the blessing of the edifice with holy water.


In 1996, the parish celebrated its 30th anniversary and in 2001, commemorated both 35 years as a parish and the 40th anniversary of Father Zavell's ordination to the Holy Priesthood.


Parish Growth


In 2003, Saint Mary Magdalene celebrated two important events in the history of the parish. The first occurred on Saint Thomas Sunday, with the burning of the mortgage. The second major event was the retirement of Father Ed Zavell on September 1, 2003. Father John Kovach served as pastor until 2005, when Fr. Dennis Hrubiak became pastor.


Over the past decade, the parish has improved new church building through many new appointments and memorials. Two triangular stained-glass windows, a new baptismal font and an icon of St. Nicholas adorn the byzantine-style interior along with a new chandelier, ten stained-glass windows, and a new carillon to enhance our byzantine liturgical experience. On the church grounds a memorial with a cross and a plaque is dedicated to the memory of the unborn children killed through abortion.


In 2007, St. Mary Magdalene parish received a blessing through the life-long vocation of the ordination of Deacon Daniel Surniak. In 2010, the parish held its first European Festival. Now an annual event, the festival includes ethnic food and drink, dance, music and other activities.


In 2013, St. Mary Magdalene welcomed into the parish family the former parishioners of the now closed, St. Gregory the Theologian Church in Lakewood, Ohio. With them, they brought their church bell, which rang for the first time on Easter as the Choir sang the Paschal Hymn, "This is the Day."

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