Although the church has not been built yet, members of the St. Matthew Orthodox Church are happy to be back home. The congregation has moved back to its North Royalton home after a fire took place at their Albion Road location in November, 2017.
The first Sunday Liturgy took place on August 4, “back at 10383 Albion Road in the newly finished hall. It will be good to be home,” as posted on their Facebook page. “Half of the building is done. They have finished the Hall/Education building and have moved in. That’s where we have a temporary church set up,” according to St. Matthew’s Pastor, Father Andrew Harmon.
St. Matthew’s has been in North Royalton for 28 years. They purchased the church then and installed an addition in 2001, according to Harmon. They have about 250 parishioners from all over the west and south side.
The parish of St. Matthew the Evangelist Church has had many temporary homes since the fire. According to Harmon, they cooperatively shared Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in North Royalton for several months after the fire. When that church started doing some renovations, they moved to the Methodist Church on Ridge Road and stayed there for about a year, when it was sold. It then moved to the building that was previously housed by the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Brooklyn.
After the fire, fund-raising took place to help offset the costs of the reconstruction and restoration. This was added to an already established building fund that was established over ten years ago. “The original plan was to expand in 2019. That would have been a simple expansion, said Father Harmon. The new plan includes a slightly larger addition than the original plan,” said Harmon, with the hall being slightly expanded. Construction manager for the hall was Cleveland-based Infinity Construction Co., Incorporated. The construction manager for the church portion of the project will be Seasons Construction, according to Harmon. The architect that was chosen for the project is Cupkovic Architecture, from Independence.
The overall project consists of the replacement of the church, which will be about 4,107 square feet. It consists of a new temple, narthex and breezeway, which will connect the church to the existing Fellowship Hall, incorporating a new front entrance and new courtyard space between the sanctuary and the hall. In accordance with Orthodox ecclesiastical requirements, the alter will face east. The west end of the temple contains the entrance narthex, bride’s room and breezeway, which will also serve as an entrance to the church. The entrance and breezeway will be clad in stone veneer and above the entrance doors will feature St. Matthew. As with the central feature of many Orthodox churches, there will be a cupola/dome that will be located at the crossing of the nave and aspes. Harmon was happy to say that the reliquary (relic) of St Mary of Egypt, which was damaged by the fire has been restored. He hopes to acquire new relics for the new church.
Next year will be a banner year for the parish, who will mark 30 years of its founding. The parish can then celebrate its anniversary, as well as the completion of the new church. Harmon said that the construction of the church is expected to begin this fall and is hoping to have it completed in the late spring/early summer of next year.
Contributing Writer