On Friday and Saturday, October 19-20, 2018. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, presided at services marking the 150th Anniversary of San Francisco’s historic Holy Trinity Cathedral. Concelebrating with Metropolitan Tikhon at Saturday’s Divine Liturgy were His Eminence, Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Kholm of the Orthodox Church of Poland; His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, Rector of Holy Trinity Cathedral; His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska; and His Grace, Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Archpriest Kirill Sokolov, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral; and many clergy from across the Diocese of the West.
One hundred and fifty years ago, during Holy Week in 1868, an Orthodox missionary had been sent to San Francisco from Alaska to conduct Paschal services. This marked the beginning of the fledgling community’s regular liturgical life. Since then, the cathedral’s faithful have traced their jubilees from that year, although the seeds of parish life were planted even earlier. It was on December 2, 1857, that the first Orthodox Society was founded in San Francisco. Ten years later, on September 2, 1867, it was incorporated as the Greek Russian Slavonian Orthodox Eastern Church and Benevolent Society. During these years, the Orthodox population of the Bay Area was spiritually and sacramentally served by chaplains from Russian Navy ships that frequented San Francisco Bay.
The cathedral faithful give thanks to God for the efforts of the pioneering Orthodox parishioners in San Francisco, including young Saint Sebastian [Dabovich] and his family. As they gathered to praise and thank God for preserving and building up Church life in San Francisco, they also celebrated how the beginnings of Holy Trinity Cathedral marked the establishment of the Orthodox mission throughout what is now the Diocese of the West—and indeed all of North America south of Alaska.
In marking this Sesquicentennial, the faithful of Holy Trinity Cathedral ask God to strengthen and preserve them for the next 150 years as they seek to proclaim the good news of our Lord, and God, and Savior Jesus Christ in our time and place.
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Photo credit: Subdeacon Roman Ostash