Beginning September 2009 and continuing through Pentecost 2010, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral will be celebrating 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 wishes to take the opportunity over the coming 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 will offer during the coming months a retrospective of its life and work, its failures and accomplishments as it struggled to pass the light of Christ to future generations. As it celebrates and assesses its past, the Cathedral centennial will also provide the opportunity for both personal and communal introspection which will hopefully enable the parish to better understand its missionary vocation in a culture yearning to experience the uncreated and transfiguring light of our Lord.
Father Robert M. Arida
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.
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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.
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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.
Oral history panel discussion
Talk by Father Alexis Vinogradov
Church Singing in America
HOLY PENTECOST and CENTENNIAL GALA
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On Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23, 2010 Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston celebrated its altar feast of Pentecost. The weekend marked the high point in the events of the HTOC Centennial year. Hierarchs of the OCA and many guest clergy and faithful celebrated the divine services and attended the festal dinner.
His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania presided over festal Vigil on Saturday evening. At the end of the service His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Boston, New England and the Albanian Archdiocese presented Gramotas (Commendations) to the HTOC parishioners for their many years of service to the Holy Trinity Cathedral: Rosa Romanowski, Mary Hetman, Alice Carter, Nicholas Carter, Paul Andruchow, Stephanie Stroyen, Wanda Maksymowicz, Subdeacon Peter Robert Kotiuga, and Nevine Nassif.
At the reception following Vigil Bishop Melchisedek shared memories of his time as a parishioner of the Cathedral.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah presided over the celebration of Divine Liturgy of Pentecost and Kneeling Vespers on Sunday, with Bishop Nikon and Bishop Melchisedek. Con-celebrating clergy at the divine services included Archpriest Robert Arida, Rector and Dean of the Cathedral; Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, Chancellor of the OCA; Archpriest John Kreta, Chancellor of the Diocese of New England; Archpriest Vasily Lickwar, Priest Robert Dick, Priest John Teague, Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, Deacon Theodore Feldman, and Deacon Christopher Westrate.
At the banquet following Divine Liturgy, Fr. Robert Arida offered welcoming remarks, followed by the singing of O Heavenly King, and blessing by Metropolitan Jonah. The program included remarks by Bishop Nikon and reflections by Walter Obleschuk, HTOC choir director, and parishioners Zhanna Stalbo, Katia Arida, and Lillian Lelles.
Centennial program included the following message from Father Robert Arida:
“ 'Today the grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.'
These words embrace the history and legacy of what we have been celebrating during the course of the past year. Our centennial is a unifying event of the Holy Spirit who draws together our past, present and future.
"Looking towards the past, we remember those humble and courageous men and women who, through the Holy Spirit, enabled the parish to face and resolve its own internal struggles while navigating through the uncharted waters of American life and culture. Assessing the present, the Spirit compels us to prepare for the future in order to bring the uncreated light of Christ to new generations.
"In and through the Holy Spirit the Cathedral extends the ministry of Christ. Like our venerable predecessors, we are called to discern the times as we acknowledge, with humility and courage, that we and our successors will face challenges and opportunities never imagined in the past. Guided by the Spirit, nurtured by the Word and embraced by the Father we will pass on our great legacy to others who will continue to draw the world into the net of salvation."