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St. Barbara Church

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Address: St. Barbara Church
1505 Denison Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio
Affiliation: Roman Catholic
Organized: 1905
New Pastor: Fr. Joseph Hilinski
Last Pastor: Fr. Lucjan Stokowski (administrator)
(Fr. Michael Dyrcz - deceased)
Neighborhood: West 15th St
and Denison Avenue area
Mass Schedule:
REOPENED by Vatican decree!
The parish will officially be reopened on July 16th, 2012.
The first mass will be on Sunday, July 22, at 11 a.m.
Monday thru Friday7:30 a.m
Saturdays4:30 p.m.
Sundays9:00 a.m. (English)
11:30 a.m. (Polish)

Building History

Church Building #1

St. Barbara's, a Roman Catholic Church, was first organized in 1906 at 4007 Valley Road. It's first permanent pastor was Rev. Albert Migdalski. Prior to the construction of this church, the Polish parish held their masses in various locations such as Our Lady of Good Counsel and even the firehouse on Broadview Ave.
The architect for the three story brick building, Emile Uhlrich[1] of Fugman and Uhlrich, designed nearly a half-dozen churches in Cleveland. For this location, he designed a building that housed not only the church, but also a hall, and living quarters for the priest.
The location south of Big Creek at the top of a steep hill, made it difficult for parishioners from around Denison Avenue to attend, especially during the winter and when the dirt road was wet and muddy.
When the church burnt down in 1913, some parishioners were eager to have the church rebuilt elsewhere, preferably on Denison.

Church Building #2

In 1916, Bishop John P. Ferrelly purchased six lots from Caroline (Powers) Loomis, widow of Charles Warren Loomis. The lots, part of the Petty and Baldwin Allotment, were all on the south side of Denison Avenue. It was here, at the corner of West 15th St. that the second church was built as a wood frame building.


Church Building #3

Main altar of the third churchThe wedding of Andrew Minich and Caroline Jezior
Main altar of the third church
The wedding of Andrew Minich and Caroline Jezior

In 1925, the third church was built as part of the new St. Barbara's Elementary School as an extension from the south side of the school. The previous church then was used as a hall.
The interior consisted of the altar, two side altars, pews (facing North), another much smaller set of pews that faced East, and a choir. A few of the statues were later used in the 4th church building.
Once gutted, the area was used for a gymnasium and for showing movies to the students at lunchtime.



Church Building #4

<p style='font-style:italic'>"In the Polish parish of St. Barbara, Father Joseph S. Jarosz broke ground on Denison Avenue at West 15th Street in July, 1950, for the construction of a new brick church in the Lombard round-arch style, capable of seating 650 people. Distinctive of the attractive structure is a 65-foot tower and the stained glass windows depicting the seven sacraments. Archbishop Hoban dedicated it July 13, 1952"</p> <p style="text-align:right"> --Source: "History of the DIOCESE OF CLEVELAND", page 422 </p>

The fourth and final church was completed in 1952, displacing the second church/hall which was torn down to make room for the new. Now it was the third church's turn to be empty. The latter was used as a gymansium, lunch room, and auditorium for watching movies.
The Cleveland Diocese provided the name Henry C. Gabele (1887-1958) as the architect of this building.[2] Gabele had his own firm, Gabele and Potter, for a short time in 1918, but that firm would not have been responsible for the design of this church.
  • Design of the church building was the responsibility of Henry C. Gabele once he went on to become an associate architect with Arthur E. Rowe and Assoc.
  • General contracting was done by The Hebing Company.
  • The bells/carrilons were obtained from E.W. Vanduzen & Co. of Cincinatti
  • Interior design work was performed by the John W. Winterich and Assoc. company.
  • Clay models for the exterior statue of St. Barbara's were sculpted by Guiseppe Runggaldier of Italy.
  • The actual stone statue and marble interior columns were sculpted by Armando Battelli, also of Italy.
    • There are three columns inside the church. Each is a different type of marble (the links below show a sample of the color but please be advised that these are external sites not related to or under the control of this Wiki):
  • Frank Marchione is noted on one of the Winterich's internal memos concerning the mural design. Whether this means he actually painted them is uncertain.
  • Likewise, a Winterich memo concerning the stained glass windows was addressed to Roudolph Sandon (more likely, the name was spelled as Rudolph Sandon), the artist who was responsible for the design and construction of the windows.

In the gallery below, to access the first two items, which are PDF versions, you must click on the blue title.
All other items are images and can be viewed in the regular way by clicking on the thumbnail image.

Parish History

The Polish parish of St. Barbara's was known as Barbarowa, pronounced using a "V" in place of the "W", thus "Barba-roVa".


1908 - Fr. Julius Paczuski
1909-1909 - Fr. Joseph P. Kocinski
1909-1910 - Fr. Camillus Sierputowski
1910 - Fr. Thomas Krakowiak
1910-1911 - Fr. Paul Koszyk
1911-1918 - Fr. Paul Szulerecki
1918-1922 - Fr. John Zeglen
1922-1927 - Fr. John Solinski
1927-1929 - Fr. Leo A. Sztupek
1929-1970 - Fr. Joseph Jarosz
1970-1997 - Fr. Chester Cudnik
1997-2007 - Fr. Michael S. Dyrcz (only as Adminstrator)
2007-present - Fr. Lucjan Stokowski (only as Administrator)


1939-1942 - Rev. Joseph Gorski
1942-1943; 1962-1963 - Rev. Edmund F. Kuczmarski
1944-1948 - Rev. Francis J. Szczepanski
1948-1954 - Rev. Edward F. Gackowski
1954-1958 - Rev. Stanley A. Cymanski
1958-1962 - Rev. Chester C. Cudnik
1963-1965 - Rev. John A. Kusiak
1965-1971 - Rev. Thaddeus Swirski
1997-1997 - Rev. Michael S. Dyrcz


St. Barbara's parishioners and students(1965)
An Excel spreadsheet with various sorted views
Submitted by Clement Ras


Have you been absent from attending church? Have you forgotten your prayers? Here are the most common ones to help you remember:

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.

The Apostles' Creed[3]

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be the the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Saying the Rosary

The rosary is an old (some say it originated as early as 1214) form of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and consists of prayer beads as follows:
  1. a short strand with these:
    1. a cross (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen),
    2. a single bead (Lord's Prayer)
    3. three beads (Hail Mary's)
    4. a single bead (Lord's Prayer)
    5. a medal (Glory Be)
  2. a circle of beads
    1. First decade - ten Hail Mary's followed by the Lord's Prayer
    2. Second decade - ten Hail Mary's followed by the Lord's Prayer
    3. Third decade - ten Hail Mary's followed by the Lord's Prayer
    4. Fourth decade - ten Hail Mary's followed by the Lord's Prayer
    5. Fifth decade - ten Hail Mary's

Polish Song Book

Do you remember the black Polish songbook that we had in church back in the 1950's?.
Some of the songs inside were always sung at Christmas....
Click any title to view the lyrics: (use the control to hear Lulajze Jezuniu)

Lulajze Jezuniu
Wsród Nocnej Ciszy
Dzisiaj w Betlejem
Gdy sie Chrystus rodzi
Przybiezeli do Betlejem
Aniol Pasterzom Mowil
[NOTE: Many, many thanks to Carole Zanath for locating a copy of this book for me! I was thrilled when it arrived in the mail. Funny how a little nostalgia warms the heart.]


Some of the male parishioners organized as the Brooklyn American Polish Civic Club. Later this club evolved into the St. Joseph Lodge and the Merrymen's Club. Meetings were held in the large brick two story house on the northeast corner of West 14th and Denison Ave.
  • 1964
President -- Frank Franks
Secretary -- Walter Dziedzina
  • 1965
President -- William Yuschik
Treasurer -- Walter Dziedzina


In the early 1960's, word came down from Cuyahoga County officials that a proposed highway would bisect the neighborhood. This was bad news for the people who had bought their homes and planned to live the rest of their lives there. A study of deed transfers shows that a small number of speculators jumped in and bought some properties. They probably knew what sort of price the State of Ohio Dept. of Transporatation was paying for properties acquired for freeways and paid the frantic sellers a lower price, hoping to make a profit from the true value. On the flip side of the coin, the sellers may have wanted to move quickly instead of waiting for the slow wheels of government to move, so jumped at the chance to be out of their property.
After all the property was bought up on the east side of W.15th, the west side of W.14th and the north side of Redman, bulldozers moved in to begin demolition. It was an odd sight to be able to see straight across from the houses that were left on the eastern portion over to the houses that were on the western side.
Click here to see pictures of the demolition
Unfortunately, on March 14, 2009, Bishop Richard Lennon sent out a letter to the parish that the church would be closed by the Diocese thus bringing to an end to Barbarowa. The last mass was officiated by the Bishop on May 9, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. What is to become of the building and property now?
UPDATE: Thanks to the devoted parishioners and their relentless fight to have the parish returned to them, the Vatican decreed that the Church be allowed to re-open on July 16, 2012, nearly 18 months after Bishop Lennon closed it. By late June 2012, the Diocese was busy cleaning the interior and replacing the statues that had been removed. The front page of the June 27, 2012 issue of the Plain Dealer carried the story and a photo of three workers from Henninger's Religious Goods re-installing the statue of St. Barbara over the side altar.

Additional Readings

  • Miller, Carol Poh, 1950-
Barbarowa: cultural resource report on a neighborhood of Cleveland. [1993]
F499.C66 B376 1993a
  • Mihal, John
"The Poles." Cleveland News, Jan. 11, 1941.
"Polish community nestles in 'forgotten' corner of city.", . Harvard-Denison Bridge area Poles of Cleveland.
  • Wang, Charissa Y. (editor)
A history of the Barbarowa Neighborhood, Cleveland, Ohio
submitted by Hardlines: Design & Delineation ; submitted to
Burgess and Niple, Limited ; contributors, Roy A. Hampton
III, historian.
Barbarowa Neighborhood, Cleveland, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio : Hardlines, [1999]
Item Description: 77 p. : ill., maps ; 28 cm.
F499.C66 B37 1999

Other Polish settlements in Cleveland were:

  • Kantowa - St. John Cantius (University Hts, also known as the Tremont area)
  • Krakowa - Sacred Heart of Jesus (Lansing Ave. and East 71st)
  • Jackowa - St. Hyacinth (East 61st and Francis Ave.)
  • Josephatowa - St. Josephat (East 33rd and St. Clair Ave.)
  • Poznan - St. Casimir (near East 79th and St. Clair Ave.)
  • Warszawa - St. Stanislaus (East 65th near Fleet Ave.)


  1. Cleveland Architects
  2. That Henry Gabele was architect of St. Barbara's 4th church building is further confirmed by the information found on the Cleveland Landmarks Commision webpage.
  3. Catholic Encyclopedia provides an extensive history of the Apostles' Creed.

St. Barbara's Parish related pages

St. Barbara Church     •     St. Barbara's School History     •     St. Barbara Class Lists     •     Photo Albums

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