About Our Parish
Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral is a parish of the Diocese of San Francisco and the West, Orthodox Church in America (OCA), which received its autocephaly from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1971. The Cathedral is dedicated to the icon of the Holy Virgin Mary “Rescue of the Perishing” with its yearly Parish Feast celebrated on February 5th or the closest Sunday. The parish was founded by the tsarist Russia’s emigres in 1923, making it the first Russian parish in Southern California. In 1928 Metropolitan Platon and Bishop Alexei consecrated this temple to continuously attend to the spiritual needs of Russian immigrants, and starting in the 1960s, to the American population seeking salvation within the Orthodox Church.
Sanctity and Decorum of our Temple
The Cathedral is built according to the 14th century Pskov Orthodox architectural tradition which does not assume the presence of any musical instruments or pews. The faithful gather here to worship and glorify the Lord, therefore any immodest or inappropriate attire, ill-mannered conduct, ringing cell phones and conversations are unacceptable during the services.
A Note to a Pilgrim
Upon your visit to Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral an Orthodox pilgrim may venerate the relics of Holy Greatmartyr Panteleimon, Holy Princes of Russia Alexander Nevsky and Daniel of Moscow; Venerable Seraphim of Sarov and Ambrose of Optina; Holy Hierarchs Innocent of Irkutsk, Joasaph of Belgorod, Innocent of Alaska, Theophan the Recluse, and Tikhon of Moscow; Holy New-Martyrs of Russia Grand Duchess Elizabeth and nun Barbara, as well as of a saint who recently shone forth in California, St. John of Shanghai and San Francissco. Among other sacred relics one may find here an icon of St. John of Krostadt with a piece of his priestly vestment, an icon of Archangel Michael with the stones from Gargano Cave, and an icon of Blessed Matrona of Moscow with a piece of her tomb.
Since the 1960s there are two priests (Rector and Sacristan) and a Deacon serving at the cathedral. The parish office is usually open every day from 10am-4pm and the church e-mail is checked daily. In case of urgent matters it is advisable to call the clergy directly.
At the Candlestand one may purchase candles and prosphora, complete the commemoration slips and request Molebens and Panikhidas. Here it is possible to pick up a schedule of church services and other printed material on the Orthodox faith. One may also sign up to receive our parish’s Monthly Bulletin discussing the vital news, events and life of the parish in general.
Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral hosts two schools for our young generation’s religious and cultural education. Saturday School is open on Saturdays during the entire academic year and in addition to spiritual discipline, trains its students in the knowledge of Russian language, literature, history, and culture. Sunday School is geared toward religious education, and instruction is held in English.
Our bookstore boasts an inventory of 3000 titles in spiritual literature (in English and Russian), icons and other church items. The Sisterhood serves the lunches in the parish hall throughout the year, takes care of the vestments and other church utensils. L.O.V.E.S. helps the aged and infirm parishioners, visiting them at home and at the hospital, as well as providing transportation to them and others who do not drive. The parish library consists of Russian books on theology, history, church art and classical fiction.
Every year Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral organizes various events and fund-raising luncheons. Next to our main Parish Feast marked by the arrival of our ruling Bishop, the parish hosts a Slavic Festival of food, culture and folklore every October. In December there is a Christmas Bazaar with the sale of homemade baked goods. The students and teachers of our Parish Schools arrange folk art concerts and performances, as well as religious plays every Nativity and Pascha. In addition, the parish invites everyone to the following fund-raisers: Blini (Maslenitsa) Luncheon, Christmas Eve dinner, Verba bouquet and Koulich sale (Lazarus Saturday), Paschal meal etc. (see schedule of events). We welcome you to join us!