St. John's Cathedral, ClevelandEdit profile
Coordinates: 41°30′10″N 81°41′18″W / 41.502836°N 81.688419°W / 41.502836; -81.688419
In the 1830s, Catholics started to arrive in the Western Reserve region of Ohio, United States, so the Archdiocese of Cincinnati sent priests up to the Northeast Ohio area to serve. The first parish in Cleveland was St. Mary's of the Flats. In 1847, Pope Pius IX established the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The first Bishop appointed for Cleveland was Louis Amadeus Rappe. Bishop Rappe established St. John's Cathedral on Superior Street and Erie Street (today's East 9th Street). At this time, this was the outside of Cleveland's Public Square. In 1852, Patrick Kelly designed the Cathedral. Under numerous bishops after Rappe the Cathedral was renovated.
In 1920 it was the site of the funeral for famed baseball player Ray Chapman. Thousands gathered inside and outside the cathedral for what is still the largest funeral in the history of Cleveland. Chapman was a popular player that only days before was killed when hit in the head by a pitched baseball. He remains the only player to have been fatally injured during a Major League baseball game.
In 1943, Archbishop Joseph Schrembs announced a plan to renovate the Cathderal, but due to World War II the plan did not go forward until 1945. After World War II, Schremb's successor, Edward Francis Hoban went through with Schrembs' plan. In 1946, the old cathedral was gutted and retrofitted with modern amenities. Electrical to water services were updated. The cathedral was skinned in orange Tennessee Crabtree limestone, in an ashlar pattern. The cathedral regained a bell tower, the bells were retrofitted in 1988 by Bishop Anthony Pilla. The altar was also redone with an oak rear Panel of the apostles of Christ. The Bishops burial grottoes were also redone and so was St. Christine's Chapel, Cleveland Diocese has St. Christine's remains in the Cathedral, this was done in 1928.
In 1948, Archbishop Hoban with Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York City celebrated the renovation of St. John's Cathedral. In 1977, Bishop James Hickey renovated the altar due to Vatican II reforms, the altar lost its communion rail since Pope Paul VI gave power to extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion under the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. People now could touch the Blessed Sacrament so the rail was not needed.
The Cathedral renovation added St. John's College (now merged with Ursuline College), this building was demolished for the Eaton Center in 1981. In 1964, St. John's added a dormitory tower which became offices for the Diocese of Cleveland. In 2007, the Diocese relocated their offices and this was demolished for a parking lot for the upcoming Avenue District on St. Clair Avenue and East 12th Street area. A parking garage was built for mass goers.
In 1996, The Sacristy was renovated by Bishop Anthony Pilla as a gift from Cleveland's Italian American Community for Bishop Pilla's election to the Presidency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1995. In 1997, the Diocese celebrated its 150th anniversary. That year ABC-TV did a special on celebrating Christ's splendor at the cathedral. In 2000, Pope John Paul II made 2000 a Holy Year, the pope wanted Catholics to come to Rome, but if they could not, they would be allowed to go their respective cathedral.s Bishop Anthony Pilla dedicated a Holy Door in 2000 as part of Holy Year. In 2002, the cathedral renovated its flagpole and it was rededicated on 11 September 2002, one year after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In 2006, Bishop Pilla retired and Bishop Richard Lennon of Boston took over the Diocese of Cleveland. The cathedral has seen many bishops come and go but it is the seat of Catholic faithful in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
Cleveland does have a co-cathedral, it is the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood. This was given distinction in 2006.