Beginning September 2009 and continuing through Pentecost 2010, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral celebrated its centennial. Founded in 1910 by immigrants from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires, the Cathedral was the spiritual and cultural haven of those facing the risks, challenges and opportunities of the American experience.
Within a broader historical context, the Cathedral is also part of a rich missionary legacy stemming back to Russian Alaska where in 1794 the first organized Orthodox mission arrived on Kodiak Island. From this humble beginning, 8 monks and 2 novices began the foundation upon which a missionary vision would gradually be articulated and implemented not only for Alaska but also for the “lower 48,” Canada and Mexico.
As part of this missionary legacy, the Cathedral bears witness to a century in which its identity as an ethnic parish was radically transformed into a community opened to all seeking the life in Christ. This transformation was by no means easy. Inner tensions and disputes relative to the Cathedral’s identity and mission helped to weaken and divide the parish. Yet, the Cathedral continued to exist.
Sustaining internal controversies, the Cathedral was also impacted by events which reshaped the politics and demographics of the world. The Russian revolution of 1918 and the subsequent break with its Mother Church, two world wars, waves of immigrants from Eastern Europe, and the collapse of the Soviet Union provide some of the historical contours in which the Cathedral lived and functioned.
Within these contours the profile of world Orthodoxy was also undergoing its own changes including the establishment, in 1970, of a local, self ruling (autocephalous) Orthodox Church in America. This courageous, and for many controversial, act involving the Orthodox Church in Russia and the North American Metropolia (or Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America) provides the missionary rudder for the Cathedral.
Given this history, the Cathedral parish took the opportunity over its centennial year to offer gratitude to those ever memorable departed clergy and laity who enabled the parish to sojourn through difficult and often uncharted waters. In celebrating its centennial, the Cathedral parish offered a retrospective of its life and work, its failures and accomplishments as it struggled to pass the light of Christ to future generations.
letter of abp. dmitri
Letter of His Eminence Archbishop Dmitri (formerly of Dallas) on occasion of the HTOC Centennial, preceded by the invitation by Father Robert on behalf of Bishop Nikon and the Cathedral community.
installation of a high place icon
On Sunday, September 6, 2009 a new high place icon of the Theotokos Enthroned was blessed after the Divine Liturgy. The icon was painted by Mirra Meylakh and donated by the Gnatovich family in memory of Clara Muskin and all the mothers of the Holy Trinity Cathedral Parish.
On Thursday, October 8 Holy Trinity Cathedral Parish held an Open House for the friends and neighbors of the Cathedral.
The evening began with the Vespers service followed by a presentation on sacred space by Father Robert, and a Mediterranean and Slavic buffet in the parish hall. His Grace, Bishop Nikon announced the official opening of the HTOC centennial year celebrations. Nearly 200 parishioners and guests of various confessions attended the Open House.
On Saturday and Sunday, January 23 & 24 we celebrated a homecoming weekend with the current and former parishioners of the Cathedral and our friends. The theme of this event was "Reflections: Past, Present and Future"
Saturday morning began with the introduction of HTOC Oral History project. A moderated panel of Holy Trinity parishioners shared stories of their lives, with many others joining in the sharing of memories and reflections on the life of the Cathedral community.
After luncheon, our guest speaker Father Alexis Vinogradov, rector of St. Gregory the Theologian church in Wappinger Falls, NY spoke about the legacy of Father Alexander Schmemann and the future of Orthodox Church in America.
At the final session of the program, a presentation of Orthodox Church singing in America was given by HTOC Choir Director Walter Obleschuk and members of the Cathedral Choir.
The day was concluded with the Vigil service.
On Sunday a slide show of the 100 years of parish history was shown after the Divine Liturgy.