120 Years Later: The Great Missionary Saint of America and Martyr Commemorated in the Cathedral He Built

CHICAGO, IL [DOM] – Hieromartyr John of Chicago, a feast of great importance to the Diocese of the Midwest and locally in Chicago, was celebrated on Monday, October 30 and Tuesday, October 31. The celebration took place at the very temple that he built in the city of Chicago, Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Diocesan Cathedral of the diocese. Services for the feast were led by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest and ended the Cathedral’s month long celebration honoring the saint.

The All Night Vigil was served on Monday evening welcoming Orthodox Christians from all over the Chicago area. Serving with the Archbishop were, Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean, Archpriest Mykola Bodnarchuk, Archpriest Athanasios Chulakov of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Hieromonk Ephraim of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Priest Leonty Naidzions of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Archpriest Herman Kincaide, Priest John Kennerk, Priest Nikolai Lochmatow, Protodeacon Thomas Keith and Deacon Paul Garklavs. The choir was directed by Olga Garklavs.

On the next day, Tuesday, October 31, Archbishop Daniel served as the main celebrant for the Divine Liturgy and joining the Archbishop were Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean, Mitered Archpriest Vladimir Kovalchuk, Priest Antony Alekseyenko and Priest Leonty Naidzions of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Priest Jacob Van Sickle, Priest John Kennerk, Priest Anthony Saunders, Priest Nikolai Lochmatow, Priest Joseph Whittaker, Protodeacon Thomas Keith, Protodeacon Dionisiy Lvov, and Deacon Paul Garklavs. Priest Esteban Vázquez, Diocesan Vice-Chancellor, was in prayerful attendance. The choir was directed by Olga Garklavs.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence offered words of praise to St. John and reminding those gathered of the great joy that it is to be able to serve and worship in the historic temple that the saint built. Fr. Alexander welcomed his brother clergy on this “feast of priests”, asking St. John to help and protect them in their priestly ministry. Following the Prayers of Thanksgiving, a festive meal was held in the cathedral hall.

It was in 1899 that Father John Kochurov commissioned noted architect Louis Sullivan to construct what is today Holy Trinity Cathedral. The new church was consecrated by Saint Tikhon of Moscow in 1903 and designated a cathedral in 1922. After his return to Russia, Father John became the first clergyman to be martyred at the outset of the Bolshevik Revolution. He was glorified as Saint John of Chicago and Tsarskoye Tselo in December 1994.

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