Saints Constantine & Helen Parish History
The need for a Greek Orthodox Church in the eastern suburbs of Greater Cleveland was felt prior to World War II, when many Greek Orthodox communicants had scattered throughout the city. It was not, however, until 1952 when residents of the eastern suburbs petitioned the Board of Trustees of the American Hellenic Community of Greater Cleveland to acquire property to build a parish church. A committee was appointed to study the problem and locate suitable property.
In May of 1953, the Board of Trustees, under the presidency of Thomas P. Cyrus, acquired three lots on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights, the present site of the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
On September 19, 1954, a rally was held at Hotel Cleveland to commence the fund-raising activities and $68,925 was pledged toward construction of the new church. During the balance of 1954 and 1955, the Executive Committee continued to raise funds and hold meetings with the architectural firm of Carr and Cunningham concerning the design of the structure. The Executive Committee consisted of Messrs. John Asimes, George Chimples, Charles Christ, Demy Emanuel, William Javaras, George Kappos, Nick Manolios, Ted Tsevdos and Alex P. Mekedis, chairman.
Through the efforts of the committee and generous cooperation of hundreds of communicants, the ground breaking was held on July 4, 1956. At this time, $100,000 in cash was raised with an equal amount in pledges. Fr. John G. Geranios officiated and performed the blessing at the ceremony. Mr. George Chimples, President of the Community and Mr. Alex P. Mekedis, Chairman of the Executive Committee, assisted by turning over the first shovelfuls of earth.
On September 23, 1956, the community celebrated the cornerstone laying with a service at the construction site and Grand Banquet and Ball at the Hotel Manger. At that time, the commitment was made and funds were pledged to allow for the addition of the school wing named Kassimation School.
The official door opening ceremonies were held on September 29, 1957, and the first regular service celebrated on Christmas Eve, 1957.
The consecration of the Church was marked with a weekend celebration. The celebration started with a Grand Ball at the Statler-Hilton Hotel on November 30, 1963. On December 1, 1963, the Right Reverend Theodosios, Bishop of Angon of Pittsburgh, officiated at the consecration of the Church, assisted by Fr. Kyriakos and other clergy from the area. A large crowd witnessed the auspicious occasion. During that evening a Consecration Banquet was held at the Sheraton-Hilton Hotel.
On September 10, 1967, the General Assembly, having obtained approval of Archbishop Iakovos for the establishment of the community of Sts. Constantine & Helen, unanimously approved the Articles of Agreement of the Archdiocese and the Uniform Parish By-Laws. A Parish Council consisting of 12 members of the Building Fund and 4 members of the Board of Trustees of the American Hellenic Community was elected to serve until the first official election.
On December 17, 1967, the Archbishop designated Sts. Constantine & Helen a Cathedral. The first Parish Counsel assumed office on January 3, 1968 and Alex Mekedis was elected president.
Today, Sts. Constantine & Helen is a growing, vibrant and thriving parish and continues to serve the Orthodox communicants of the eastern part of Cleveland and its suburbs.