Solemn and Imposing Rites at the Greek Chapel.
To-day being Christmas according to the Russian calendar, the services of the Russian-Greek Church were held at the Greek Chapel, 911 Jackson street, being conducted by His Grace Johannes, Bishop of Alaska.
The small edifice was crowded to its utmost capacity, every available inch of standing room being occupied. Much more than usual interest was manifested, the preserve of many of the officers and crew of the Russian corvette Bayarin seeming to draw many attendants. There were also present M. Klenkofstrom, Russian Consul, Judge George Fisher, Greek Consul. A goodly number of Americans, were also drawn thither out of curiosity to observe the (to them) novel form of worship. The ceremonies were commenced at 11 A.M.
The rooms were tastefully decorated with the religious emblems peculiar to the faith of the worshipers. There were displayed the Greek, the American, the Russian and the Slavonian flags. The American and the Russian flags were placed at the right and left hand respectively of the portrait of the Virgin Mary. The American flag is displayed to represent the adherents to the faith of the Russian Greek church which have become American citizens by the purchase of Alaska, and also those who have been born since the purchase. Paintings of the Saviour, the Virgin Mary and various saints and apostles were displayed at the sides of the room, each one with a large burning taper in front of it. Over the head of the officiating priest was a painting of Christ and his disciples partaking of the Lords supper. This was surmounted by a cross. On the left of these was an emblematic triangular transparency, having words in the ecclesiastical Slavonic language, which translated are, "Christ if born." On the other side was a similar emblem with the words, "glorify Him."
were chiefly conducted in the Ecclesiastic Slavonic language, which is to the Greek church what the Latin language is to the Catholic church throughout the world. The adherents to the faith of the former church are versed in this language sufficiently for purposes of intelligible worship.
The chants were rendered by the officiating priests and deacons, and responses by the choir. The general tenor of the services bear a strong resemblance to those of the Catholic Church, embracing mass, litany, vespers and communion service, being a mixture of the Anglican, the Catholic, and other Greek services. The sermon was rendered in the English language. The services were continued until after two oclock.
Next Friday will be the Russian New Year, which will be observed by similar religious rites.
Daily Evening Bulletin, [San Francisco], Friday Evening, January 6, 1871.
Reprinted in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, January 1997.