It’s been nearly three years since a fire devastated Saint Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church, but now members are finally back home and settled into their new church, which celebrated its first service early last month.
The November 2017 blaze destroyed most of the church grounds, located at 10383 Albion Road, leaving Pastor Andrew Harmon and his congregants to hold services in temporary sites including Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, the Methodist Church on Ridge Road, and Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in North Royalton, which has since closed and joined Saint Matthew, donating many of its worship materials to the new structure, Harmon said. While the new church was being built, members of Saint Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church held Sunday Liturgy in their new hall, when it finished construction in August of 2019.
The new church, which held its first worship services the weekend of August 8, consists of a new temple, narthex (a religious architectural element) and breezeway that connects to the hall. As is traditional Orthodox custom, the church faces east. The new church also contains an adult-sized baptismal font, the first of its kind in Greater Cleveland, Harmon notes, and a stately dome.
“It feels wonderful to be home in our new church,” Harmon said. “It’s been a hard three years. It’s a very good building and slightly larger.”
Following the 2017 fire, fundraising took place to help offset reconstruction costs, and this was added to an already established building fund, according to information previously published in the Royalton Recorder in September of 2019. The overall cost of the new church and adjoining hall was just over $2 million.
Saint Matthew the Evangelist holds Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. each Sunday. Due to COVID-19, church attendance is restricted. Additional information can be found on the Saint Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church website, or by emailing

Contributing Writer