Sarah Campbell


Building on Faith: St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Minneapolis MN


In the 1870s Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants began arriving from Eastern Europe in search of work in the flour mills of Minneapolis. St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, originally called St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church, provided this group of people a sense of the family and heritage in a world very different from what they had previously experienced. A break with the Catholic Church led St. Mary’s to unite with the Orthodox Church and it was this event that catapulted St. Mary’s into the national spotlight.

The idea of ethnic identity is important to the founding of many churches in Minnesota and perhaps nowhere is this idea more prevalent than in Minneapolis. According to Geoffrey Gyrisco, ethnic identity is changeable. This paper will examine St. Mary’s in light of the role ethnic identity had on both its founding as a parish and the construction of the current edifice. Because ethnic identity is self-determined, the economic and political factors that played a role in the parish choosing a Russian ethnicity must be examined. The identity of the community will also be examined from the standpoint of how other related groups viewed the parish of St. Mary’s.


My name is Sarah Campbell and I am currently a graduate student in the art history at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. While at St. Thomas I have focused largely on architectural history working on topics such as monastery and mosque architecture, conservation communities and moveable bridges. The paper I am presenting at this conference is in preparation for my master’s thesis on the same topic. This fall I also began teaching art appreciation at North Central University in Minneapolis- a job I dearly love. At the end of May I am traveling to Azerbaijan for a fieldwork class on historic preservation.
I live in South St. Paul with my husband, Chris, and our two dogs, Maggie Mae and Quinn. When I am not absorbed with classes, I love reading, hanging out with my three sisters, being outside and traveling.