From Ohio History Central
The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church was the first Greek Orthodox Church founded in Cleveland, Ohio.
People of Greek heritage primarily began to migrate to the United States of America in the late 1800s. With over five thousand Greek-born residents by 1920, Cleveland had one of the largest Greek communities in Ohio. In 1910, Cleveland's Greeks established the first Greek Orthodox congregation in the city. This group would eventually become the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. In 1912, Greeks established a formal church at the corner of West 14th Street and Fairfield Avenue in the heart of Greek Town, a predominantly Greek ethnic neighborhood. As the congregation grew, the church members replaced the original structure with the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Although not yet completed, the church held its first services in the new structure in 1919.
In 1924, Friar John Zografos became leader of the church. He established the Annunciation Church School. The school's purpose was to educate Greek youth in the language and customs of their homeland. The Annunciation Church School usually held classes Monday through Friday for three hours, after Cleveland's public schools had dismissed for the day. The school usually had an enrollment of more than one hundred students and continued to serve the community through the 1930s. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church continues to offer a parochial school today, but less emphasis is placed on learning the Greek language and customs than in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church continued to grow in the mid and late twentieth century, despite many Greek residents leaving the neighborhood in which the church is located. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church remains the primary Greek Orthodox Church in Cleveland at the time of this writing.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.