[November 5, 2015] Exactly 50 years ago, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the
great wonderworker of the XX century, St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco,
celebrated the first Divine Liturgy in the beautiful newly constructed Holy
Virgin "Joy of All Who Sorrow" cathedral in San Francisco, the
diocesan see of the Western American Diocese. The parish had no wealthy
sponsors, no subsidies, no help from the state and thus is truly a cathedral of
the Orthodox community, built by it's parishioners.
Many historical events, important not only for the Western
American Diocese, but for both the Russian Orthodox Church at large and for
Orthodoxy worldwide, took place here: the canonizations of the heavenly
protector of North America, St. Herman of Alaska, and of the great universal
saint, Hierarch John (Maximovitch); three All-Diaspora Youth Conferences
convened here; the cathedral hosted a number of Bishop's Councils and meetings
of the Synod of Bishops; the IV All-Diaspora Council, where the decision
proceed with the restoration of Russian Church unity, took place here; the
cathedral parish hosted and underwrote the visit of numerous miraculous icons
to the diocese – the wonderworking Kursk-Root, Vladimir, Iveron-Myrrhstreamig,
Reighning, Sitka and "Softening of Hearts " icons of the
Our cathedral is the only parish church in North America
where evening services and Divine Liturgy are celebrated daily, uninterruptedly
for the last 50 years.
Undoubtedly no other church in North America is visited as often as Holy Virgin
Cathedral because of the presence of the incorrupt and miraculous relics of St.
John, the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco. There is a constant flow
of pilgrims from Russia, Mt. Athos, Romania, Georgia, Europe, Greece, Ukraine,
Belarus, as well as from different provinces and states of Canada and the US.
The cathedral parish is well known for it's benevolence.
In the nineties it was extremely active in sending both humanitarian aid and
religious literature to Russia; the parish has provided and continues to
provide substantial aid not only for general church needs of the Russian Church
Abroad, but for needy parishes and communities worldwide. Annually around
10,000 bottles of St. John oil are mailed and given out (for free) and the
parish feeds hundreds of faithful on St. John's and cathedral feastdays. Two
schools function under the auspicies of the cathedral: Saints Kyrill and
Methodius Russian High School and St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy.
The Holy Virgin Cathedral parish used to be the biggest parish of
ROCOR, but now many people, especially families, cannot afford to live in such
an expensive city as San Francisco. Over the last 20 years many have moved away
and the number of parishioners has dwindled notably, although the number of
pilgrims and visitors has increased (our cathedral is now open from dawn to
dusk 7 days a week).
years after the cathedral’s first service the church building is in need of
- Restoration of the crosses – estimated cost approximately $50,000.00
- Repair of roof cracks, cleaning sealing/painting –
- Repair and re-construction of entry stairs and re-modelling of facade –
The roof repairs and sealing/painting are priority items
and work is under way. The roof repair is absolutely mandatory to prevent
deterioration and leakage.
In light of the above the clergy and parish council of
Holy Virgin Cathedral appeal to the faithful worldwide, to everyone for whom
the cathedral is dear, who love St. John and who acknowledge and support the
cathedral's Orthodox witness in North America, to help us fix and bring our
church into proper order, both for the present generation and for future ones,
unto the glory of God and Orthodoxy in America.
We ask for your holy prayers and hope in your generosity.
The Clergy & Parish Council of Holy Virgin «Joy of All Who Sorrow» Cathedral
Checks should be made out to HOLY VIRGIN CATHEDRAL with memo: 50th
Renovation and mailed to:
Francisco, CA 94121
Contact e-mail address:
can also be made via PayPal