Friday, July 18, 2014

St. Michael's, tallest church in Cleveland

 View from Cleveland's east side (Pershing Avenue)
 recent lightning protection, Carnegie Library across the street
Driving along several of the main roads, freeways and bridges in Cleveland one notices the uneven twin spires of Saint Michael Archangel. As a landmark, outside the concrete, steel and glass knot of skyscrapers of downtown, the only competitor in recognisability is St. Theodosius's, but in the many number of vantage points, no — it is Saint Michael's.

The church was completed in 1892 in romantic, grand eloquent, high gothic, triumphal revival. The then buff, now black, sandstone exterior came from Berea. The soot patina, actually, is more impressive than the original hue. That soot is the mark of the combustion of the steel mills, and other factories, that had been the industrial engine of Cleveland.

Michael's was one of the two, magnificent, German, west side churches. It was, when built, the largest, costliest, and most significant church in the diocese. St. Stanislaus topped out, months earlier, with two identical steeples at 232 feet in 1891(they were destroyed by a tornado in 1907). Michael's to contrast was also at 232 feet, but had the two dissimilar towers. Not till 1924 was there a taller building in the city, and St. Michael's remains the tallest church.             
Inside, the church abounds in color. It now is a congregation of the Americas. As the pastor says, "it seats a thousand, 750 if women bring purses".

Cleveland's Mass Mob VI is coming to St. Michael the Archangel to add to the celebration of the parish's anniversary at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday July 20th.

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