Cleveland

Please note: While efforts have been made to verify the locations of religious centers and interfaith organizations maps may not always be accurate or up to date. For those centers without a physical address, a symbol appears at the city center. Read more about our methodology.

“Thriving” is the word one scholar used to describe the religious diversity of Cleveland. Recent decades have brought immigrants willing to invest “their money in templesA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref..., churchesThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ..., cathedrals, synagoguesSynagogue, shul in Yiddish, is the most widely used term for a Jewish house of worship. Meaning a “place of gathering,” it is the central institution of Jewish communal life. The structure and role of synagogues has changed through the centuries, but ...,” challenging any notion of Northeastern Ohio as “beige and rusting.” Although Cleveland’s population has decreased—the city is half the size it was in 1920 when it ranked it fifth largest in the nation—the religious diversity of the Rock and Roll Capital of the World has increased significantly.

New immigration has caused exponential growth among the city’s Muslim population, a community that reflects the city’s vibrant diversity. The Islamic CenterAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic... of Cleveland, now located in the suburb of Parma, attracts Arab, Indian, and Pakistani immigrants as well African Americans and Euro American converts, among others. In the early twenty-first century, the Mohammad Rasulallah Islamic Society began meeting in an old brick house on Detroit Avenue, the former home of the Islamic Center of Cleveland. The Islamic Society, neighbor to a halalHalal means “permissible” or “pure.. For Muslims, halal is a legal term referring to good actions and to foods that are ritually slaughtered. Halal is the opposite of Haram. meat market and Middle Eastern import store, became known for its multi-ethnic congregation, diversity that was caused, in no small part, by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese’s resettlement of African and Russian refugees, many of whom were Muslim.

While new immigration has played a significant role in the growth of Cleveland’s Muslim population, the city’s first mosqueMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... was established in 1937 by Al HajjHajj, or pilgrimage to the Ka’bah in Makkah, is one of the five pillars of Islam, performed by millions annually during Dhu’l-Hijjah, the last lunar month. The Hajj is required at least once in a lifetime of every Muslim in good health and with financ... ImamImam means “leader,” particularly the person who leads the daily ritual prayer or, more broadly, to the one who serves as a leader of the community because of his religious learning. In Shi’i Islam, it refers to one of a succession of direct descend... WaliSaints are human beings whose lives have displayed extraordinary holiness and devotion. As such they become examples for others. Indeed some of the faithful may understand them to be intermediaries and seek their help in time of need. Roman Catholics and ... Akram, an African American. Religious leaders like Iman Wali Akram and his grandson, Imam Abbas, have for decades played an important role in a city whose population is predominately African American. They are accompanied by civic leaders like Carl B. Stokes who in 1967 became the first African American to become mayor of a major U.S. city.

In 1943 and 1944, Japanese Americans discharged from internment camps resettled in Cleveland and formed the city’s first organized Buddhist community. This spurred the establishment of the Cleveland Buddhist TempleBuddhist temples differ considerably from one another depending upon culture and particular school, but most are associated with the residence of the sangha of monks. Theravada temples focus on one or more images of Sakyamuni Buddha. In Mahayana and Vajra..., the Zen Shin SanghaThe Sangha is the community of monks or, more broadly, the community of Buddhists. To formally become a Buddhist, one takes refuge in the Three Treasures: the Buddha, Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings), and Sangha. In its widest sense, “sangha” refers ..., and the Cleveland Young Buddhist Association. Just over four decades later, immigrants from Vietnam founded ChuaChua is the Vietnamese term for temple. The Buddhist temples of Southeast Asia are distinctive in that the monastery and temple complex form a single institution. Vien-Quang, today one among many of the city’s Buddhist templesBuddhist temples differ considerably from one another depending upon culture and particular school, but most are associated with the residence of the sangha of monks. Theravada temples focus on one or more images of Sakyamuni Buddha. In Mahayana and Vajra....

Permanent Hindu and SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... communities also formed in the region during this time. The area’s first Hindu templeA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref..., ShivaShiva is one of the great Gods of the Hindu tradition. The name Shiva means the “Auspicious One,” although Shiva deliberately embraces and transcends what is considered inauspicious as well. He is also called Mahadeva, the “Great Lord,” or Vishvan... VishnuVishnu is one of the great Gods of the Hindu tradition. He is known in the Vedas and comes to be famous as the Lord who pervades the entire universe. He is Supreme but wholly auspicious, only occasionally displaying the dark side that is embraced by Shiva... Temple, was established in 1989 in the southern suburb of Parma. The Temple’s founding came after several years of meeting at Cleveland State University and after an attempt in 1985 to purchase property in North Royalton, Ohio, a plan that was abandoned due to negative reactions from the wider community. Today, Shiva Vishu Temple attracts Hindus from across Northeastern Ohio, including Akron and Canton.

Guru Gobind SinghGuru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was the tenth Guru of the Sikh tradition. He is primarily known for establishing the community of Sikh initiates called the Khalsa and for installing the Adi Granth as his successor, thereby closing the line of Gurus. Sikh GurdwaraThe gurdwara, “the gateway of the Guru,” is the place for community gathering and worship in the Sikh tradition. The Guru is the Adi Granth, the sacred scripture of the Sikh tradition. Each center will include a chamber where the Adi Granth is kept, a... is located in Bedford and in nearby Richfield, a suburb between Cleveland and Akron, the Guru NanakGuru Nanak (1469-1539) was the first teacher of the community of disciples that became known as the Sikhs. His songs in praise of the formless and transcendent God are a cherished part of the Sikh scripture, the Adi Granth. Foundation makes its home. Founded in 1974, Guru Nank Foundation is the oldest Sikh presence in the state. In August 2012, community members, clergyClergy are the body of ordained men (and in some cases women) who are authorized to perform the priestly, pastoral, or rabbinical duties of the community—as distinct from the laity whom they serve., and elected officials packed the gurdwara in support of the Sikh community after the tragic shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Speakers included Lieutenant Governor MaryMary was the mother of Jesus and, as such, has a special place in the affection and devotion of Christians. The Gospels of Luke and Matthew speak of her as a Virgin who conceived Jesus by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Devotion to the Virgin Mary, also cal... Taylor and Senator Sherrod Brown who reflected on his own visit to the Golden TempleFrom 1581 to 1603 Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru, oversaw construction of the Darbar Sahib, the great gurdwara at Amritsar. Darbar Sahib means “Divine Court.” After completion of the present structure in the early 19th century, the gurdwara became po... in AmritsarAmritsar is the city in the Punjab in northwest India that is the historical and spiritual center of the Sikh tradition. In 1574 the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, established the town and had the “Lake of Nectar,” Amritsar, dug at its center. The ma... and his encounters with SikhismSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... as a religion of peace.

While the Association of Religion Data Archives reports that EvangelicalThe Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of G... Christian groups saw the greatest percentage of increase in Cleveland during the last decade of the twentieth century, it is also clear that sizable immigrant Christian communities are continuing to make their home in the Forest City. Members of the American Carpatho-Russian OrthodoxIn general, orthodox means having a “correct opinion or outlook” and is a term used by people in many religions who claim authority for traditional views and forms of their religion. Greek Catholic ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ..., many of whom fled the Soviet Union after World War II, began worshipping in a renovated garage in the early 1950s. St. Sergius of Radonezh, also located in the southwestern suburb of Parma, has been a part of the religious landscape since the early 1970s.

Cleveland’s vibrant interfaith infrastructure—nearly thirty organizations in all—is further evidence that the city is a kaleidoscope of interreligious engagement. A colorful mural hangs at Case Western Reserve as a testimony to this environment. The mural is a creative partnership between Building Bridges and several religious communities with arist and Building Bridges founder Katherine Chilcote at the helm. The women and men of many nationalities working together along the same flowing river is both a celebration and a hope for where Cleveland has been and where it is going, a future that is far from monochromatic.