Saint Elias Melkite Church was established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1901. A number of Christian immigrants from the Middle East became a part of the Cleveland community and lived as a family after struggling to make a living in the United States. On December 25th, 1901, Reverend Marsha celebrated the first Melkite Byzantine Liturgy until 1903 in the Chapel of Saint Joseph’s Church on East 23rd and Woodland Avenue. Between 1904 and 1905, Reverend Marsha spent time traveling and visiting various cities and states in the United States and Canada. During that time, Reverend Ibrahim Istephan of Jennin, Syria cared for the parish. In 1906, the first floor of 2231 East 9th Street was converted into a church and His Excellency Bishop Ignatius Horstmann officially named Reverend Basil Marsha Pastor of the Melkite Community.
The parishioners wanted to obtain a larger church and two homes on Webster Avenue were purchased and “The Church of the Syrian Catholics” later to become “St. Elias Church”. Revered Marsha resigned 1921 and Reverend Malatios Mufleh later became the pastor of the church. In 1923 and 1936, the St. Elias Ladies Guild and the Junior Guild of St. Elias were established, respectively.
In June 1937, a new church was purchased on the corner of Scranton Road and Prame Avenue due to the depreciation on Webster Avenue. In 1952, Reverend Ignatius Ghattas became appointed to assist Reverend Mufleh. In 1953, the Holy Name Society and the J.O.C. were formed. The J.O.C. helped with sending the Parish Paper to all parishioners. In 1955, Reverend Ghattas became “Vicarius Adjutor” with full authority and responsibility in administering the parish of St. Elias and in that same year, 68 parishioners left Cleveland for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Reverend Ghattas never ceased to hope for a new church.
In 1961, a parcel of land on Memphis Avenue was purchased and in 1962, an architect was hired to create a new church and the church on Scranton was sold. After tireless efforts, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the new church on November 13, 1964. Sadly, pastor Mufleh passed away suddenly in 1964 prior to the first Divine Liturgy in the new church.
The First Annual Middle East Festival was held Labor Day weekend in 1967 and in 1979, the Cultural Center was built. Through his ongoing efforts and fatigue, Reverend Ghattas became Archbishop of the Melkites in the United States.
Then in 1991, Reverend Ibrahim Ibrahim became St. Elias’ new Pastor. He established the St. Elias Men’s Club to replace the inactive Holy Name Society to promote spiritual and material projects including funding of scholarships to gifted students in the parish, providing help to the poor and sponsoring religious and cultural activities. During Reverend Ibrahim’s time served at St. Elias, the 35th National Melkite Convention, a religious radio broadcast program “Bells of the East”, the Jubilee Year 2000, pageant plays, Sponsor-A-Child in the Middle East and much more were held.