Carpatho Rusyns

Neighborhoods They Settled In:  Tremont, Central, Buckeye, Union.

First Immigrants 1880


Most Carpatho-Russians arrived in Cleveland from 1880-1914.  They came from the Carpathian Mountains.  This was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918.  it was then taken over by Czechoslovakia between the world wars and then taken over by the USSR after World War II.  Early immigrants who belonged to the Byzantine Rite Catholic Church were called Rusyns or Ruthenians.  Those from Galicia were called Lemkos.  Lemkovina was an area in the Carpathian Mountains.  Those who belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church were known as Carpatho-Russians.  The earliest settlement began in the 1890's when these people moved in among the Hungarians.  This settlement was located along Orange and Woodland Avenue.  They then moved east along Union and Buckeye Avenues.  Early churches were the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Byzantine Rite Church, St. Joseph's Byzantine Catholic Church and St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church.  Another early settlement was on the west side in Tremont.  Their church was St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Holy Ghost Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite.  By 1906 they began settling in lakewood, with St. Gregory's Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite and SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church located there.  After World War II, these people moved to Parma. 


The Rusin Elite Society, founded in 1927, maintained the Rusin traditions among youth, becoming in 1935 the Rusin Educational Society.  Lemkos in Cleveland founded an organization in 1929 to preserve their traditions.  Two years later, representatives of Lemko association throughout the U.S. and Canada met in Cleveland to form the Lemko Association.  During the 1950s the local branch of the Lemko Assn. moved to the Lemko Club in Tremont and published magazines, newspapers, and books in the Lemko dialect.  In the mid-1980s, the Lemko Club was sold and planned to relocate in the surburbs. 

1942 Report by the WPA:

The Carpatho Russians derive half their name from the Carpathian Mountain Range.  Many of these people prefer to be considered Russians rather than Ukrainians.  The Carpatho Russians speak a dialect of Little Russia, strongly individualized in pronunciation by centuries of isolation.  In their native land, very few can read and write.  These usually speak Polish in addition to their Russian dialect.  There are more than 30,000 Carpatho-Russians in Cleveland.  This figure includes most of the Ruthenians or Rusins but does not encompass the Jew or Ukrainians of Poland who remain aloof from the group insisting upon Russian allegiance.  Some members of the Czechoslovakian group, those of the Greek Catholic Faith insist upon being called Rusins or Ruthenians.  But, others join with the people from Russian and Ukraine and prefer to be considered Carpatho-Russian.  These people are from the Russian Orthodox Faith.  The term Carpatho-Ruthenian is not popular with the Cleveland factions.  This nationality belongs to the late immigration.  They began to arrive in America in 1900 but not in large numbers until 1905.  The largest group came in 1914.  The first Carpatho-Russians are supposed to have settled in Cleveland in 1892.  They moved in among the Hungarians along Orange and Woodland Avenues.  Later, they followed the eastern movement of the Hungarians along the Union and Buckeye Avenues.  The early Carpatho-Russian settlers built their first Church, St. John’s Greek Catholic Church at Scovill and E> 22nd in 1901.  Later, a number of them settled west of the river in the Tremont area.  A number of the Ruthenians also came here and the community supported several churches.  many of the Ruthenians in this area prefer to be called Carpatho-Russians.  Most of the Carpatho Russians are Greek Catholics.  A few are members of the Greek Orthodox Church.  The Greek Orthodox Church is sometimes called Russian Orthodox.  Although they recognize the Pope as the leader, the Greek Catholic Church do not belong to the Roman Catholic diocese.  At the present time the Carpatho Russians form a scattered community between Woodland on the north, the Erie RR tracks on the south.  The center of this east side community is St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church at the corner of Union and E. 99th.  By 1906 they began to settle in Lakewood.