Diocesan Cathedral Celebrates 129th Anniversary with Restoration Project

CHICAGO, IL [DOM Communications] – June 7 marks the 129 anniversary of the established Chicago’s oldest Orthodox community, Holy Trinity Cathedral. In this, the 129 year of bearing witness to the ancient faith, the community of Holy Trinity Cathedral have a lot of projects going on to further preserve their history, while preparing for the future.

St. Vladimir’s Church, the predecessor of Holy Trinity Cathedral, was dedicated on June 7, 1892, with the blessing of His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska. A Russian Orthodox community in honor of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker was in existence before that date, and Father Alexis Toth, now a saint of the Orthodox Church, would come from Minneapolis from time to time to conduct services. These were held at the home of Gregory Feciura on Elston Street in Chicago. The congregation consisted of Russians, Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians, and other Orthodox people.

The first “permanent” priest assigned to St. Vladimir’s Church was Father Nicholas Grinkevich, who served from October 9, 1892, through December 12 of that year. He was followed by Hieromonk Ambrose Vretta, who remained at his post until 1895. The venerable Hieromartyr John Kochurov served first at St. Vladimir’s then at Holy Trinity from 1895 to 1907. These priests, and those who followed them through the 1950s, were Russians. Most of them were trained in Russia and assigned to Holy Trinity by Russian Orthodox bishops.

During this 129 anniversary year, and in anticipation of the community’s 130 anniversary, the faithful of Holy Trinity Cathedral have commenced the restoration of the historical exterior of both the cathedral and rectory buildings. Work on the restoration of the cathedral began in the mid-2000’s with the exterior dome and bell tower being completed in 2009. In the last several years, there has been a renewed commitment to complete the exterior of the cathedral, as well as the exterior of the rectory.

Earlier this year, Holy Trinity Cathedral was awarded a $250,000 “Adopt A Landmark” grant from the Landmarks Department of the City of Chicago for their restoration project. The “Adopt A Landmark” is a competitive grant which is aimed to assist the landmarks in Chicago.

“This grant was a major blessing and helped advance our project timeline another 5 years,” said Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean. “We have been blessed with this grant, but also with many donors both within and outside of the community. Our temple is very important to the fabric of Orthodoxy in this country and it is important that we take care of our holy sites.”

The current restoration project is addressing the metal work that adorns the edges of the windows and gutters, along with removing the cracks in the stucco and repainting both buildings. The price to complete this project is roughly $600,000. “The work that is being completed is very necessary, and when completed, will serve as another beautiful chapter in the history of this sacred treasure,” added Fr. Alexander.

Financial assistance is need and those who are interested in supporting the restoration project are asked to click here. Select “Building and Restoration Fund.” All contributions are tax deductible and go directly to preserving this sacred and historical site.


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