Celebration of the Feast of St. John Kochurov at Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral
CHICAGO, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — The early years of the 20th century witnessed the rise of a unique Chicago ecclesiastical landmark — Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, designed by noted architect Louis Henry Sullivan. Collaborating with Sullivan in the cathedral’s construction was the parish’s rector, Father John Kochurov, who had been assigned to serve Chicago’s Orthodox Christian community in 1895. Consecrated in 1903, the completed edifice drew much attention at the time, being the first example of Byzantine and Russian architecture and iconography in the US Heartland.
Father Kochurov faithfully served the cathedral until he and his family returned to Russia in 1907. Ten years later — on October 31, 1917 — he became the first clergyman to be martyred for his faith at the outset of the Revolution. Canonized as a saint in December 1994 — the bi-centennial year of Orthodox Christianity’s arrival in North America — he is lovingly remembered to this day as “Saint John of Chicago.”
The Feast of Saint John Kochurov was celebrated at Holy Trinity Cathedral on the last weekend of October 2016. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, joined His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago in welcoming Grace, Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin, Russia, to the celebration, which opened on Saturday afternoon, October 29 with the singing of the Akathistos Hymn in honor of Saint John Kochurov. The three hierarchs, together with His Grace, Bishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, served at the Vigil on Saturday evening. An exact reproduction of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God — the gift of Bishop Mstislav — was to have been blessed and enshrined in the cathedral, but it unfortunately had been delayed in transit from Russia. A special presentation and blessing of the icon will be celebrated in November. Ascribed to the hand of the Evangelist Luke and enshrined for centuries in Jerusalem, Constantinople and since the 1400s, northern Russia, the Tikhvin Icon had been brought to Chicago after World War II by the late Bishop [later Archbishop] John [Garklavs] and enshrined in the cathedral. In 2004, the icon was returned to Tikhvin and once again placed in the monastery there. The reproduction will be permanently enshrined in the cathedral.
On Sunday morning, Metropolitan Tikhon and Bishops Paul and Mstislav concelebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Serving with the hierarchs were Hieromonk Onufrii, who accompanied Bishop Mstislav; Archpriest John Adamcio, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral; Archpriests John Baker, Alexander Garklavs, and Elijah Mueller; Archimandrite Vladimir [Wendling]; Archpriest John Zdinak, Chancellor of the Diocese of the Midwest; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak; and Deacons Thomas Keith and Alexander Koranda. Philip Sokolov directed the choir, which included singers from a number of Chicago-area parishes.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, an Icon of the Synaxis of Saints of Holy Trinity Cathedral, the work of Chicago iconographer Arlene Tilghman, was blessed and carried in procession around the cathedral. The icon, which depicts several 20th century Orthodox Christian saints associated with the cathedral, anticipates the celebration of 125th anniversary of the establishment of the cathedral community which, according to Father Adamcio, will be celebrated in 2017.
Bishop Paul presented a Diocesan Gramota honoring the members of the cathedral’s Saint John Kochurov Society, Senior “O” Club and Saints Martha and Mary for their dedicated ministries.
A festive banquet followed the Divine Liturgy at Pizano’s Restaurant.