(Seven Hills, OH) – St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Seven Hills held a ceremony after Sunday’s liturgy to unveil the honorary street designation of Pope Shenouda III Street and opened the Pope Shenouda Museum. Because of his connection to St. Mark’s, the Cities of Seven Hills and Cleveland, became the Pope’s second home after Cairo, Egypt
(Seven Hills, OH) – St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Seven Hills held a ceremony after Sunday’s liturgy to unveil the honorary street designation of Pope Shenouda III Street and opened the Pope Shenouda Museum. Because of his connection to St. Mark’s, the Cities of Seven Hills and Cleveland, became the Pope’s second home after Cairo, Egypt.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge provided remarks to the 600 parishioners gathered at St. Mark’s and honored the Church with a proclamation. St. Mark’s was honored to have Representative Marlene Anielski present a state resolution commemorating the day. Meredith Turner, Director of Immigration Affairs for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, was in attendance representing the
Seven Hills Mayor Richard Dell’Aquila and Seven Hills Councilman Pete Dragnic presented the honorary street designation after Pope Shenouda III to the Church. Seven Hills City Councilman Matt Trafis remarked on his personal relationship growing up around the Church and meeting His Holiness. The City of Seven Hill Council and the Mayor passed an ordinance to allow honorary street designations and then passed a resolution designating part of McCreary Rd. running from Pleasant Valley to Wynde Tree after Pope Shenouda III.
The V. Rev. Fr. Mikhail E. Mikhail, Pastor of St. Mark, said, “The enthusiastic support from our elected officials today represents why the City of Seven Hills is a magnificent place to worship and live—it’s why His Holiness, Pope Shenouda III, visited us more than any other place in the world.”
The Pope Shenouda Museum at St. Mark’s is a collection of personal belongings and vestments of the late Pope Shenouda. The collection was made up of items Pope Shenouda left in Cleveland as well as many rare items gifted to the museum by H.H. Pope Tawadros II in recognition of the strong relationship between his predecessor and the Cleveland church.
Pope Shenouda’s connection to Seven Hills was particularly special. The V. Rev. Fr. Mikhail E. Mikhail, pastor of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Seven Hills, enrolled at the Coptic Seminary in Cairo, where he befriended then Bishop Shenouda who was the dean. As he visited Fr. Mikhail and later in life sought treatment at Cleveland Clinic, Seven Hills became home away from home.
At 89-years-old, he passed on March 17, 2012. He visited Cleveland and Seven Hills more than 30 times throughout his life. On his first visit to Cleveland in 1977, Mayor Ralph Perk hosted him at City Hall and gave him the key to the city. In response, the pope said, “don’t worry, I won’t use it in your absence.” Former Seven Hills Mayors Gerald Trafis and Richard Ganim who knew His Holiness, were also in attendance at the ceremony today.
Mayor Ganim in 1977 also gave His Holiness the Key to City of Seven Hills and designated May 7, 1977 Coptic Orthodox Day in Seven Hills.
St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church began when ather Mikhail Mikhail moved from Cairo, Egypt to East Cleveland, in 1975. St. Paul Episcopal Church of East Cleveland located at E.152nd Street and Euclid Avenue rented the new church space in its small building behind the church. St. Mark found a small church to purchase in Parma where it grew over the years and relocated to Seven Hills in 1988. The congregation has over 2,000 members today.