St. Theodosius lights onion domes

(Plain Press, January 2007) St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral, at 733 Starkweather Avenue in the Tremont neighborhood, illuminated its onion domes for the first time on Friday, December 22. St. Theodosius becomes the 13th Cleveland building to participate in Cleveland Restoration Society’s Steeple Lighting Program. Since 1995 the Restoration Society has worked with the Reinhold Erickson Fund of the Cleveland Foundation to light the steeples and other prominent architectural features of churches that can be seen from the interstate highways.

St. Theodosius reinstalled a new slate roof and copper flashing on its thirteen domes as part of the lighting project. The Byzantine and Romanesque style structure, built in 1911, features a large central onion dome, representing Jesus. Surrounding the central dome are twelve smaller domes, representing the twelve Apostles. The lit domes make the church especially visible from I-490.

In addition to St. Theodosius, two other churches were lit in the Tremont neighborhood through the program in 2006. In February, Zion United Church of Christ at 2716 West 14th Street lit its steeple. On December 1st the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, located at 2187 W. 14th Street, lit its dome.

Zion United Church of Christ, initially known at the United German Evangelical Protestant Church, was founded in 1867 to serve German immigrants. The present church structure was constructed in 1884 and required repairs to the roof before lighting. The lighting design uses four strategically placed luminaries, keeping overall energy consumption and maintenance to a minimum.

Prior to the lighting, the 1918 Romanesque style Church of the Annunciation re-leaded the stained glass windows, installed new storms to enable proper ventilation, and painted the base of the dome and several exterior doors.

The Cleveland Restoration Society’s Sacred Landmark Assistance Program assists Northeast Ohio’s religious institutions with the repair and maintenance of their historic properties. The Cleveland Restoration Society has maps available for the public to take a self-guided tour of Cleveland’s lit steeples and domes. Maps and other information are available at the Society’s headquarters at the Sarah Benedict House, 3751 Prospect Avenue. For more information about the program call 426-3111 or visit


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