In 1918 Detroit's first Slovak parish
opened in a modest brick church at Heintz and Foster
Streets. It was named SS. Cyril and Methodius to honor
the two patron saints of the Eastern European Slavs
. As more Slovaks moved to the area the parish's needs
increased thus calling for the construction a larger
facility. The oversight of this task was left to Father
Joseph Zalibera, who would be pastor of St. Cyril
for 39 years.
Zalibera required each member of the
parish to "donate" a given amount based
on their means. However, most members gave considerably
more then this requirement. This generosity on part
of the parishioners helps account for the building's
elaborate design and decoration. On November 1st 1926
the first mass was celebrated in the basement cafeteria
and 300 students were enrolled in the elementary school
while work continued on the church itself. The main
church building would not be completed until Christmas
Eve Mass in 1929.
The completed building unified the elementary
school and church as one massive structure. The Byzantine
sanctuary occupied the center of the building while
a four-story school wrapped around it. Below the sanctuary
a massive gymnasium/auditorium completed the facility.
For over 40 years all went well and
the parish continued to improve upon the church. A
pipe organ was installed in 1936 and Centerline Street,
on which the church sat was renamed St. Cyril Street.
In 1945 work began on a parish high school. In the
1960's the sanctuary received a decorative update
which included painting over the elaborate ceiling
stencil-work with a sky blue paint.
The parish's fortunes turned in the
1970's. Both the elementary and high school closed
in 1971. Migration to the suburbs was taking its toll.
The Archdiocese recognized the need for a move and
gave the ok for St. Cyril to relocate. In 1982 the
parish purchased property in Sterling Heights far
off on Ryan and Eighteen Mile Roads. The new church,
an unimpressive structure when compared to its predecessor
opened in 1988 and the last service at St. Cyril was
held that December.
The old St. Cyril would hold on for
a few more years. A Baptist congregation made use
of the sanctuary until the late 1990's. By 2000 all
of the parish buildings had been abandoned and were
quickly "relieved" of their decorative ornament.
By this time the building's fate had already been
sealed. Gradually the depopulated neighborhood was
being cleared for an industrial park. Between February
and May of 2003 it was finally the ruins of the St.
Cyril and Methodius date with the wreaking ball.
more see this wonderful site:
Make Straight the Path. Archdiocese of Detroit. Detroit,