Our Lady Gate of Heaven
Our Lady Gate of Heaven is a Catholic territorial parish
whose boundaries are 95th Street, 103rd Street, the
Calumet railroad yards on the west and Torrence Avenue on the east. It
was founded in 1948 to serve the newly growing residential area known as
Merrionette Manor and Jeffrey Manor. Joseph Merrion, a Chicago developer,
filled in the wetlands in the area with slag from the local steel mills
and began to build duplexes for the post World War II families moving into
the region. The outer area was known as Jeffrey Manor and the central area
was known as Merrionette Manor. Currently the area is commonly referred
to as the "Manor". Property was donated to the Archdiocese for a Catholic
church. Our Lady Gate of Heaven was originally known by its Latin name
"Porta Coeli". The church was originally located at 100th and
Crandon. A combination church-school building was constructed at 2330 E.
99th Street and dedicated on April 12, 1953. By 1955 there were
383 students enrolled in the school. The church has been active in community
affairs and responsible for the formation community organizations. The
life of the parish has been marked by transition as the neighborhood changed
from predominantly white to African American.
St. Simeon Mirotocivi Serbian Orthodox Church
St. Simeon Mirotocivi is a Serbian Orthodox Church located
at 114th and Avenue G on the East Side. The congregation was
organized in 1964. The cornerstone for the new church was blessed in January
1969. A block of 48 lots was purchased for the church, a hall, and pavilions.
The design of the church is a copy of the Serbian medieval monastery of
Kalenich according to architects Pavlecic, Kovacevich and Markovich. The
style is the Morava School of Serbian Byzantine architecture. There are
no pews in the church because the worshipers conduct their services in
the old style. Saint Simeon was founded by about 200 families who split
from St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox church over a dispute arising
from a Yugoslavian government decision to defrock an anti-communist American
bishop. The split ended in 1992, although the churches remain separate.
A Note About Churches
This booklet has concentrated on the older or more historical churches
located in Chicago's Southeast Side. A few of the old churches have been
omitted because historical records, photographs, or materials about the
histories of these churches are not available. More newly established churches,
founded by more recent groups of newcomers to the community, have also
been omitted because materials about their history are lacking. The Southeast
Historical Museum continues to acquire materials related to community and
church histories. Church anniversary books are particularly important and
needed to enhance the museum collection. Should any reader have access
to church anniversary books or other historical materials from Southeast
Side churches and congregations, please contact the Southeast Historical
Museum located in the Calumet Park Field House at 9801 S. Avenue G in Chicago.
Regular hours of the museum are 1:00 to 4:00 PM on Thursdays and from 12:00
to 3:00PM on the first Sunday of the month. Materials may be donated to
the museum or they can be copied and returned to their owner. Please help
us to fill in the gaps in the history of our community.
Cultural Pluralism or Assimilation?
The remaining pages of this booklet briefly pose the question whether ethnic
groups maintain separate identities or lose their ties to the "old world"
and become Americans. Is America a "melting pot" where ethnic differences
diminish over time (assimilation) or, as some suggest, a "salad bowl" or
"cultural mosaic" made up of different entities which retain their individual
characteristics while creating a composite which is different from its
component parts (cultural pluralism)? You be the judge.
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