In the Beginning…
The history of St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church begins with our mother church, Saints Peter & Paul which is located on the south side of Cleveland. Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church was built in 1910. A need for a new church was recognized due to the Sts. Peter & Paul (now St. Josaphat) elementary school opening in 1949 and the arrival of new immigrants after World War II. In the 1930’s, the late Fr. Basil Merenkiw initiated the purchase of the farm on Hoertz Road. The land was purchased in 1935 and was developed for the use as a cemetery and picnic area. Mr. Dmytro Szmagala, Mr. Peter Lipian and Mr. Matthew Pretyliak actually purchased the land from Mr. Hoertz and subsequently sold it to the church.
Fr. Msgr. Dmytro Gresko is known to be the driving force in organizing the parish of St. Andrew. In a meeting on October 17, 1964, it was decided to build a church on the property. The architect of St. Andrew UCC was Mr. Walter Stickle and the building contactor was Mr. Wasyl Mural.
In the spring of 1966, construction commenced and by the end of the year St. Andrew UCC and rectory were nearly completed. The total cost of the construction was $600,000.00. Our mother church donated $150,000.00, the Pyrohy Ladies under the leadership of Mrs. Anna Hodowansky donated about $80,000.00 and the remainder was funded by generous donations by various church members and organizations.
St. Andrew UCC was a mission parish of Sts. Peter & Paul and was served by Fr. Hilarion Benedict, OSBM (March 1967 to July 1967), who also supervised the building of the church and rectory while Fr. Msgr. Gresko was on sick leave. Others to serve our church were: Fr. Canon Robert Hnatyshyn (Aug. 1966 to Feb. 1967), Fr. John Petrinka (Feb. 1967 to July 1967), Fr. John Beckage (Aug. 1967 to Aug 1970 and Fr. Henry Sagan (Sept. 1970 to July 1972). Fr. Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky and Fr. Mykola Pawlyshyn, parochial vicars of Sts. Peter & Paul, also assisted during this time frame whenever necessary.
Though the first liturgical service was celebrated at the end of 1966, on Sunday May 28, 1967, the church was dedicated and blessed by the main celebrant Most Rev. Metropolitan Archbishop Ambrose Senyshyn, OSBM and co-celebrant Right Rev. Mitred Dmytro Gresko. This Divine Liturgy was particularly memorable because there was no roof on the church yet causing many of the altar servers to faint under the scorching sun filling the church! There were over 3,000 participants during this solemn blessing. The iconostasis were added in 1973 as well as the main altar, side altars, tabernacle and pews, which were crafted by Mr. Dmytro Kohutych. The three mosaics of Jesus Christ, the Mother of God and St. Andrew were created by Mr. I.M. Baranski of Yonkers, NY.
Pastors, Priests and Deacons
On July 18, 1972, St. Andrew UCC officially became a separate parish. Metropolitan Ambrose appointed Fr. Msgr. Leo Tymkiw as pastor. He remained the pastor until his retirement in November, 1998. Several religious organizations were initiated by Fr. Msgr. Tymkiw during his tenure. These organizations included: the men’s Holy Name Society, the Apostleship of Prayer, a Ukrainian dance group, and the League of Ukrainian Catholic Youth. In August of 1988, he organized a very rare event where the parish hosted the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima. He also celebrated a significant milestone on June 14th, 1998, the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
In his 26 years as pastor, Fr. Msgr. Tymkiw was assisted by four clergy: Fr. Oryst Balaban, Fr. Emil Nakonechny, Fr. Msgr. Canon Peter Waslo and Fr. Deacon Michael Levy, a native son of the parish. Msgr. Tymkiw remained in residence and assisted the newly appointed pastor, Fr. Msgr. Waslo until Msgr. Tymkiw passed away on September 17, 1999.
Fr. Canon Peter Waslo was appointed as pastor of St. Andrew on November 11, 1998 by Bishop Robert Moskal. During his tenure Fr. Msgr. Waslo was assisted by Fr. Michael Bliszcz and Fr. Deacon Michael Kulick, a native son of the parish. This was a formidable task for Fr. Msgr. Waslo since he was also the Vice-Chancellor of our eparchy and a Judicial Vicar on the Tribunal during that time. Fr. Msgr. Waslo was also the first and only priest to be ordained in St. Andrew during the Youth for Christ convention in June of 1986. Fr. Msgr. Waslo organized the Pastoral Advisory Council (PAC) in accordance with our eparchial guidelines. He, along with Fr. Deacon Kulick, started an adult religion class that taught about the traditions, rituals and meaning of the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Msgr. Waslo also joined the “adopt a Seminarian Program” initiated by Bishop Robert. This program helped defray the cost for the education of seminarians studying in our eparchy. Throughout the years we have welcomed seminarians from Ukraine. Fr. Msgr. Waslo was re-assigned to be the rector of St. Josaphat Seminary in Washington, DC and a farewell picnic was held for him on July 15, 2001.
Fr. Msgr. Waslo was replaced by Fr. Stephen Paliwoda, a native son of the parish. Fr. Paliwoda was assisted by Fr. Severyn Kovalyshin. Fr. Paliwoda was transferred to St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lorain, OH on January 26, 2003.
Fr. Paliwoda was then replaced by Fr. Canon John Ropke. Fr. Ropke was assisted by Fr. Ihor Kasiyan. Near the end of 2003, Fr. Ropke initiated the 40th Anniversary Fund. He recognized that this milestone was important and asked that parishioners donate to this fund to help with improvements for our beautiful parish. On January 09, 2005, Fr. Ropke was re-assigned to St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in McKees Rocks, PA.
Fr. Ihor Kasiyan serves as pastor today. He has been assisted by Fr. Msgr. Mitred Archpriest Michael Poloway (retired), Fr. Deacon Michael Kulick, Fr. Deacon Roman Turchyn (deceased) and Subdeacon Joseph Zappernick, a native son of the parish. Fr. Kasiyan and his family, wife Tatiyana and children Pavlo, Dmytro, and Christina are originally from Kalush Ivan-Frankivsk, Ukraine. Fr. Kasiyan strongly encourages parishioner participation. He has recruited many volunteers to help with the making of Pyrohy, the annual Lenten Fish Fry and numerous other projects.
Fr. Deacon Michael Kulick served as the Parish Administrator. Looking back, on May 15, 1999, Bishop Robert conferred the order of Subdeacon Michael Kulick. Then on May 20, 2000, he was ordained into the deaconate and assigned to our church.
Fr. Deacon Roman Turchyn was ordained into the deaconate on September 11, 2005 by Bishop Robert at St. Andrew UCC. A reception was held in our upper hall.
Subdeacon Joseph Zappernick was ordained as Sub-Deacon by Bishop Robert at the Acolyte Convention on June 29, 2004 at Sts. Peter & Paul in Ambridge, PA.
Cantors and Choir
Over all these years there have been only two officially installed cantors to assist with the readings and singing at Divine Liturgies, baptisms, weddings, funerals, vespers, molebens and house blessings. The first cantor from its inception until 2000 was Mr. Joseph Levy. He was formally trained by Fr. Lubachivsky when he was also cantor at the mother church. Mr. Levy was installed as a cantor by Metropolitan Senyshyn. Over the years, he was assisted by Mr. Oleksa Czaika, who was installed as cantor in Lviv, Ukraine by Patriarch Josyf Cardinal Slipyj. Mr., Levy was also assisted with singing liturgical responses by Fr. Deacon Kulick, Mr. Omelan Podusiwsky, Dr. Andrew Zguta and Mr. Petro Stoykiv. In 2000, Mr. Levy retired and was succeeded by Mrs. Irene Kulick who serves as cantor today.
St. Andrew had one of the best church choirs in the eparchy. This was spearheaded by Dr. Andrew Zguta and Mr. Stefan Kuchta with Mr. Michael Knapp as choir director. Mr. Knapp was also cantor at the mother church for many years. The church choir debuted in 1974 for the Divine Liturgy on the eve of the Nativity of our Lord. The choir continued to glorify the Lord under the direction of Mr. Knapp for almost 11 years until his retirement. Mrs. Irene Kulick assumed the position in 1985 as choir director for several more years after that.
In addition to our cantor, Mrs. Kulick, we have volunteers who lead the responses and songs, read the Epistle and lead the tropars and kondaks. They help encourage the congregation to participate in the Divine Liturgies.
Several parish organizations have supported and continue to support the Lord’s house throughout our history.
Ladies Guild (now known as Women’s League) was formed in 1967 under the leadership of Mary Thatcher, Katherine Lipian, Katherine Kostelnik and Anna Onizchak. It would be difficult to look back over the years and not recognize the importance of this group. Their dedication to our church is humbling. Many of their projects included Easter Sviachene, Christmas Prosphora, numerous bake sales (including paskas for Easter) and the St. Andrew feast day dinners. The Ladies Guild became famous for their bus trips, card parties and cookbooks as fundraisers. Today, the Women’s League is a small, but mighty group. They devote their time and energy to the weekly coffee hour after Divine Liturgy, the annual Palm Sunday bake sale, and most recently, purchased the first official church sign for St. Andrew UCC.
The second group to be organized was the Acolyte Confraternity (alter boy society). Fr. Msgr. Gresko started this group and put a second grader in charge, namely little Michael Levy, now known as Fr. Deacon Michael Levy. The alter boy group has had a legendary tradition of yearly trips to Cedar Point.
Trained for many years at our mother church by Mrs. Hodowansky, Mrs. Emilia Levy organized the St. Andrew Pyrohy Group. She and many other ladies and men worked diligently over the years to make Pyrohy for the many parish functions and pyrohy sales to the public. The hard working Pyrohy Group of today continues this wonderful tradition and fundraiser for St. Andrew UCC. The Pyrohy Group has also been a major contributor for maintenance and improvements to our parish property throughout all these years. They even continue today to help with countless projects to help us all enjoy this 40th anniversary. We thank and bless the past and current members of the Pyrohy Group a hundred-fold for their dedication, service and fellowship.
In 1971 the Holy Name Society was founded by Fr. Sagan under the leadership of Mr. Stanley Kozak, Mr. John Fedoryshyn and Mr. John Buczkowski. They were one of the foundations of the yearly Pentecost picnics and yearly Ukrainian Homecomings.
Religion classes were organized on 1972 to foster in our youth the love of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and traditions. Over the years there have been many wonderful teachers for whom we are grateful. For over 25 years Mary Sulhan has been the director of the Public School Religion program with dedicated teachers Bonnie Daymat and Wira Gernaga. Mary and Wira were honored with awards of recognition at the 2006 Bishop’s Ball for their outstanding work!
The St. Andrew UCC Adult Group was formed when the Men’s Club and the Jr. Ladies Guild merged in 1995. This group has also worked tirelessly for the parish. Some of their functions include the Lenten fish fries, annual cookie walk and preparation for the St. Nicholas Day festivities. Each year in the spring they also work to clean-up the grove area. The Adult group has also funded improvements for the church, hall and for the beatification of the grounds.
There have been many other organizations throughout the years: Men’s Club, Legion of Mary, the Apostleship of Prayer, Junior Ladies League, Girl’s Sodality and B-Stars (youth group). ALL the dedicated workers from each and every organization, past and present, are thanked and blessed.
Milestones and Special Occasions
1st Baptism – Taras Szmagala, Jr.
1st Wedding – Joanna Golembiowski and Myron Zadorecky
1st Burial – Anna Holowczak
1st Deacon Ordained in St. Andrew – Fr. Mitred Archpriest Wolodymyr Wololszczuk
1st Parishioner to be Ordained in St. Andrew – Michael Levy
May, 1973 – His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf Slipyj made a very special visit St. Andrew UCC.
August 3, 1981 – His Holiness Pope John Paul II and the Synod of Ukrainian Catholic Bishops nominated Msgr. Robert Moskal to be bishop. His Episcopal ordination was conferred on October 13, 1981.
December 03, 1983 – Pope J. Paul II created the new eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, OH and appointed Bishop Robert as its first prelate. He was formally installed on 02/29/1984
1984 – St. Andrew UCC was designated as a pilgrimage church.
September 07, 1984 – Archbishop Lubachivsky succeeded His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf Cardinal Slipyj as Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
May 25, 1985 – Major Archbishop Lubachivsky was elevated to Cardinal by Pope J. Paul II.
1986 – St. Andrew UCC hosted the closing Liturgy for the Ukrainian Youth for Christ convention.
1987 – Mr. Makarenko was commissioned to paint and decorate the sanctuary, add icons of St. Michael and St. Gabriel and add the Pantocrator to the ceiling.
1990 – The picnic grove lower hall was renovated led by Paul Schrank. Also assisting in this project: Michael Haszyc, Jeff Romanovich, Jim Lukasik, Stanley Kozak and John Fedoryshyn.
1995 – The picnic grove main hall’s interior and exterior were completely renovated. The architect for this project was Peter Shokalook.
2001 – The mausoleum and Blessed Myrrh-Bearing Women Chapel at the cemetery was completed. This was designed by the late architect Zorian Horodysky. Jim Cahlik fabricated the two side altars.
June 03, 2001 – Pentecost Sunday. Bishop Robert blessed the mausoleum and chapel.
2003 – Current Patriarch, His Beatitude Patriarch Lubomyr Cardinal Husar visited St. Andrew UCC. Children from the parish welcomed him and Mr. Myroslav Heynysh presented him with icons of the Blessed Mother and Jesus Christ.
April 20, 2003 – An open house of the rectory was held for all to view the renovations.
December 18, 2003 – St. Andrew hosted the Sisters of St. Basil the Great and were honored to have a beautiful Christmas Concert.
December 2004 – St. Andrew hosted the Ukrainian Youth Ensemble of Toroniukto, Canada for a beautiful Christmas concert.
2005 – The church basement was renovated through the generosity of the Pyrohy Group.
April 03, 2005 – St. Andrew UCC hosted the Divine Mercy Sunday Moleben. Following the moleben, Bishop Robert was the main celebrant for the Memorial Liturgy for the intention of Pope John Paul II.
2006 – The picnic grove and playground were renovated by the St. Andrew Adult Group.
June 22 &23, 2006 – Our acolytes participated in the ‘”Christfest” for Youth Convention in Ambridge, PA.
November 11, 2006 – The Bishop’s Ball was celebrated at St. Josaphat Cathedral Astrodome. Several St. Andrew parishioners received awards of recognition.
2003 – 2007 – Major improvements were made to St. Andrew UCC in preparation for the 40th Anniversary Celebration.