St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Our Church Building

Exterior DrawingSt. Mary's acquired the church house of the First Universalist Church in 1954. It is the second oldest church building in Cambridge, having been built in 1821. St. Mary's Parish is located at 8 Inman Street, however, the church building originally graced the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Main Street, approximately one half-mile from its current location. The Universalist congregation had moved the entire building from its original location in the latter decades of the 19th century (the reason for this move is lost in the mists of history). The process was quite extraordinary for the time, drawing reporters from far and wide. The original building was cut into two pieces, front and back. These pieces were levered onto huge flat-bed carts and hitched to a long train of draft horses. The caravan proceeded at a slow pace up Massachusetts Avenue (newly strung telegraph cables had to be cut to allow for the passage of the tall structures) to the current location on Inman Street. A level-and-a-half basement foundation was excavated and the church was reassembled atop the stone preparations. Most of the present Inman Street block was part of the lot that surrounded the newly placed edifice. Hurricane winds toppled the landmark steeple (sometime before St. Mary's acquisition). The cost of its replacement was prohibitive. In 1954, the Universalist congregation had dwindled to a few individuals. This misfortune provided the opportunity for the parish of St. Mary to put this beautiful edifice to service in the Orthodox worship of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.