Parish History

In the early 20th century, there was a big influx of Bulgarian Macedonian immigrants into East Toledo. The intent of most of these immigrants was to make money and return to their native country. However, instead of returning, the majority of the immigrants decided to bring their families to East Toledo and start a new life in America. In a short period, Bulgarian Macedonian immigrants heavily populated East Toledo. These immigrants needed a way to socialize with each other, to share the burdens of starting a new life in America, to celebrate the joy of each other’s accomplishments, and to practice the culture they understood and loved. They organized an association called the Bulgarian Benevolent Association. This organization successfully filled the social void, but there was still something missing. The immigrants wanted to practice their religious beliefs as well as their culture. On September 30, 1936, with the blessing of the late Metropolitan Andrea of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, a newly organized parish was chartered under the patronage of the Holy Great Martyr and Trophy-Bearer George.

From 1936 to 1948, the parish did not have a dedicated place to worship. They gathered wherever they could, as often as practical. The parish needed a place to call home: a place to worship and socialize. In 1948 a house was purchased on Oswald Street in East Toledo. It was in this house that the Bulgarian Macedonian community began to thrive. During the years 1948 and 1949, the parish functioned as a mission church with visiting priests from neighboring communities celebrating the services. In 1950, the Patriarchate appointed the community’s first full-time priest, Fr. Kyrill Yoncev (later Archbishop Kyrill). During Fr. Kyrill’s 14-year pastorate at St. George, the parish recognized the difficulty in being a member of a diocese that was based in a communist country. The Parish Council members, along with other clergy of the Bulgarian Diocese and other influential groups and organizations began dialogue with the Holy Synod in Sofia, Bulgaria on the need for a bishop to be appointed to serve the parishes in America without the influence of the Patriarchate in Sofia. In 1963, Fr. Kyrill was elected Administrator of the Bulgarian Diocese of USA and Canada and in 1964 he was ordained a bishop by the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia. St. George church, along with several other Bulgarian Macedonian churches joined Bishop Kyrill. This was the beginning of the Bulgarian Diocese, which entered the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in December 1976.

In the midst of these changes, the parish at St. George was growing and membership eventually grew to a point of which the house was too small. In 1952, the congregation approved plans for a new church building which was consecrated by Metropolitan Andrea on November 1, 1953. In the late 1990’s, the community decided to move the parish out of East Toledo. In June 1998, the membership approved the purchase of the current property in Rossford, OH and the new cathedral was built. The first Divine Liturgy at the new location was held on April 7, 2002, and the building was consecrated on October 26, 2003 by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman; His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill; and His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel.

On June 17th, 2007 the founder of the Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill (Yoncev) fell asleep in the Lord.  On October 4, 2011, the Holy Synod met and elected Father Alexander Golitzin as the new Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America. He was ordained to the episcopate on May 5, 2012 at St. George Cathedral in Rossford.