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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, plans were prepared by Lesko Associates, Architects, for a parish center, a rectory and a church. The parish center, including a temporary church, was completed in 1970, and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated 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.

Father James Kubajak became pastor in 1979 and was followed by Father Michael Hayduk 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 a mosaic of St. Mary Magdalene, designed by artist Frank Marchione, was commissioned. The inspirational mosaic is composed of imported Italian marble, ceramic and tiles.

Father Edward Zavell was appointed the sixth pastor of Saint Mary Magdalene in August of 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 was dedicated by Bishop Pataki on Sunday, April 16, 1989.

On May 2, 1993 the parish began construction on a permanent church with a Ground-breaking Ceremony. The present church was completed by December, 1993.

Bishop Pataki again joined the parish family for the Cornerstone Blessing and a hierarchical Divine Liturgy on December 19, 1993. 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.

In 2003, Saint Mary Magdalene celebrated two major events in the life of the parish. The first of these occurred on Saint Thomas Sunday, April 27 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 assumed the role as pastor.

Over the past decade, the new church building has been beautified and improved through many appointments and memorials. Installed were two triangular stained-glass windows, a new baptismal font and an icon of St. Nicholas. More recently, the atmosphere has been enhanced through the installation of a new chandelier, 10 stained-glass windows designed by Christina Hasigan, and a new carillon. On the church grounds is a memorial with a cross and a plaque to the dedicated to the memory of the unborn children who were denied life by abortion.

In 2007, St. Mary Magdalene parish was blessed with a life-long vocation in the ordination of Deacon Daniel Surniak. Known as Deacon Dan, Daniel was the first altar boy when the parish began. The next year, St. Mary Magdalene was blessed with the formation of an acapella choir, which sings at the Sunday Divine Liturgy as well as at special occasions.

In 2010, at the interest of Fr. Dennis and with the support of the City of Fairview Park and the Diocese, St. Mary Magdalene held its first European Festival. Now an annual event, the festival includes ethnic food and drink, dance, music and other activities.

In 2013, two hand-carved wooden icon tables were donated by Gene Senderak of St. Nicholas Church in Barberton. Also 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.



2001 35th Anniversary Photos


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