St Nicholas Cathedral in Seattle celebrates its 90th anniversary

The northernmost parish in the Western American Diocese celebrated its 90th anniversary on the week of the feast day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia, December 19, 2022. The parish members which built the seven-domed cathedral in the Capital Hill area of Seattle, Washington received the blessing for its founding from Archbishop Tikhon of San Francisco and Northern America in 1932. The founding fathers of the parish, many of whom were former officers in the Royal Imperial Navy of the Russian Empire, had a profound reverence for the last Tsar, Tsar-martyr Nicholas II and they chose to dedicate the parish to St Nicholas – the patron saint the Tsar. The cathedral was one of the first churches to be designated as a memorial to the Tsar and his family.

The festal services were exceptional due to the presence of the ruling hierarchs of the diocese and deanery, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America and His Grace Bishop Theodosy of Seattle, accompanied by the Cathedral Dean, Archpriest Alexei Kotar and his assistant Priest Paul Volkoff, along with four other priests, Hieromonk Paul (Kilman), Priests Stefan Dragoi, Steven Clark, and Theodore Obrastoff, and five deacons: Archdeacon Peter (Karakozoff), Protodeacon Paul Bilibin, and Deacons Arsenios Blain, Ruslan Kroshko and Allen MacDougall. The presence of the monks from the All-Merciful Savior Monastery of Vashon Island also graced the festivities. The cathedral choir under the direction of Gregory Kotar contributed to the grandeur of the services with the excellent execution of the choral compositions creating an atmosphere of prayerfulness and beauty. The extraordinaire floral decorations in the cathedral were the masterwork of Olga Meleshko. The presence of Protodeacon Paul and Tatiana Bilibin (former Head Sister), who had moved away to Arizona brought joy to the congregation. The services were well attended despite it being a workday and the unusually cold weather which created icy hazardous driving conditions. Two chalices were needed to Commune the approximately one hundred communicants. Undiscouraged by the freezing temperatures, the liturgy was concluded by a procession around the church and the presentation of a Synodal Gramota to the dean and the parish commemorating this historic date. 

Following the liturgy, a common meal was arranged by the Head Sister, Matushka Karen Volkoff, and her assistant, Matushka Natalie Kotar. The venue for the meal was the exquisite Woman’s University Club located in a landmark building decorated in the King George style. The highlight during the meal was a premiere of a film about the parish which was created especially for this event. The film was composed by Daniel Piker and an ambitious group of young parishioners under the guidance of Alena Prudnikov and Matushka Natalie. This 54-minute video expertly reviewed the history of the parish, highlighted some sacred artifacts housed in the cathedral, and featured reflections by veteran members of the parish. These members were awarded icons by Archbishop Kyrill and presented with handmade ceramic plaques with a replica of the cathedral building created by Olga Meleshko. Following the showing of the film, Daniel Piker received a close to five-minute standing ovation from the exuberant audience.



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