OPENING OF THE GRÆCO-RUSSIAN CHRISTMASTIDE

_______

Vesper Services in the Cathedral.

_______

BISHOP TIKHON OFFICIATES.

_______

CZAR’S RELIGIOUS REPRESENTATIVE BLESSES HIS FLOCK.

_______

Morning and Evening Programme to Commemorate the Anniversary of Christ’s Birth Arranged for To-Day.

_______

To-day is the anniversary of the birth of the Savior, according to the teachings of the Græco-Russian church, and as such will be commemorated in a fitting manner by the followers of that faith in this city.

Special Christmas vesper services were celebrated in the Russian Cathedral on Powell street, near Filbert, last night by Bishop Tikhon, who recently arrived in San Francisco to succeed Bishop Nicholas. The Bishop and attendant priests were arrayed in their full robes of office, that of the Bishop being purple, and the effect produced when the head of the church in this section of the world appeared from behind the gorgeous screenlike partition at the head of his richly attired assistants and marched down the center of the room to the little raised platform, which served as an altar, was very impressive.

Arriving at the altar the priests grouped themselves about the Czar’s spiritual representative, chanting a prayer, at the conclusion of which priests and congregation knelt while the Bishop blessed them in the name of Christ. This solemn proceeding formally inaugurated the services, which were of considerable length.

The atmosphere was heavy with burning incense, and the singing of the choir, the solemn chanting of the priests, combined with the pictures of martyrs and scriptural quotations which adored the walls of the cathedral, produced a strange feeling of mingled awe and curiosity to the uninitiated stranger.

At the conclusion of the services the Bishop pronounced a benediction and dismissed the congregation.

Special Christmas services will be held at 10 o’clock this morning and at 7 in the evening.

The congregation of the Græco-Russian church in this city includes Russians, Slavonians, Croations and Greeks, a few Roumanians and a scattering of other nationalities or races.

The San Francisco Call, Friday, January 6, 1899.

Reprinted in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol. 6, No. 5, January 1999.