Judges quietly strip St. Jude Church’s historic status

St. Jude Church (credit: Marice Cohn Band)
St. Jude Church (credit: Marice Cohn Band)

The City of Miami Commission’s decision to designate St. Jude Melkite Catholic Church in Brickell as a historic site has been overturned.

A panel of 11th Circuit Court judges quietly overruled the city’s historic designation of the institution, saying commissioners used faulty reasoning, according to the Miami Herald.

Advocates who petitioned the city to protect the 68-year-old Romanesque chapel argued that it isn’t historic just because of its architecture, but also because it ran an academy that housed and fed children who fled from Cuba.

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Yet the Greek Melkite institution worried that a historic designation would keep them from altering the building, which was designed by Roman Catholics.

Attorneys also argued commissioners failed to properly establish that the church’s secular history, and not its religious use, was the primary reason it qualified for historic designation. And the panel agreed.

“The record before us is devoid of any comparative analysis of St. Jude’s religious importance versus its historical and architectural importance,” Judge Miguel de la O wrote. “This failure is fatal under the [city’s] Ordinance and compels us to conclude that the City did not follow the essential requirements of the law.” [Miami Herald] – Christopher Cameron