On Monday evening a Parish Meeting took place in the Serbian Club. Only five Russians and five Serbs were present. The meeting was opened by M. Baranov, the president. After discussing the problem of saving the church property, it was decided to publish an appeal in the "Serbian Herald". The main obstacle are the local old timers, who do not want the church property to be registered to the Bishop but only to the parish without his Grace's name.
The majority of the Serbs have pledged their $50-100 to redeem the church, but we don't expect success, because they will give the money only under the aforementioned conditions. And so almost a year has passed since the organization of the subscription to save the church, but apparently the spirit of nationalism is stronger than any religious convictions.
I received notification from the Italian American Bank that the church will be auctioned on 13 April. I was thunderstruck by this news. So to this we've come: by their lukewarm, or more accurately, indifferent attitude they have brought the church to this predicament. Is it possible that everything is lost? Is it possible that the cradle of Orthodoxy in America will disappear? Where the bell now rings, calling us to prayer, a garage will be built to the mockery of the Russian people and the derision of our enemies. Let this cup pass. May the mercy of the Lord be with us!
Saturday, March 27
After Vespers an extraordinary meeting of active local Russian parishioners was held, at which the announcement of the auction was made. The bank is asking for a partial repayment of the debt in the sum of $2000 plus $600 interest for the past year. It was decided by means of contributions and a loan to collect the requested funds, to notify the Archbishop by telegraph and to send out letters with an appeal for aid. The editor of the Call, Mr. F[remont] Older, promises his cooperation by means of a subscription through the newspaper among local Americans.
Sunday, March 28
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. The thought of the auction is depressing. Prayer at the altar strengthens the spirit. I was unable to give a sermon. After "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" I came out and said, "The church is lost. The auction is set for April 13."
April 7/March 25. Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos. Great Wednesday.
Vigil was celebrated on the eve. The service was according to the rubrics. Homily: "The Mother of God does not deny her mercy to those who have recourse to her." We received good news today. Mr. Older, editor of the Call, notified me by telephone, that the sum required by the bank would be paid. He has already collected $1100 by subscription. Glory and thanks be to God.
April 9/March 27. Great Friday.
Vespers of the Deposition (Epitaphion service) at 12 noon. Around the tomb were 4 large palms brought from a greenhouse. The usual grotto of live roses was missing today: the present situation in the church requires that money be saved in order to repay the bank.
Matins. The Burial Service. Procession around the Church with the Epitaphion. Homily in Serbian: The Golgotha of Jerusalem reminds us of the Golgotha of the Slavic people, especially of Mother Russia.
At 10 p.m. an extraordinary meeting about the coming auction was held. The lack of any answer from New York, in spite of the number of telegrams and reports sent special delivery, compels the Parish Council at the insistence of the bank and the lawyer, C. Humphrey, to buy the church from the auction and register it in the name of the Parish. The entire sum required by the bank has been collected - $2600, donated in part by Americans: J. Lynan $300, J. Smith $250, W. Crocker $125, H. Fleishacker $125, M. Fleishacker $125, S. Berger $75, J. Drum $50, A. Dohrman $50. In all the Americans contributed $1100, and among the Russians $225 was donated and $1280 was borrowed.
13 April. Bright Tuesday.
I served in a practically empty temple. It is difficult here in America to preserve the ancient customs. This land of business molds people in its own way, and the spiritual side of life is stifled by earthly cares.
At 12 noon the Church was auctioned. In attendance at the offices of Buckbee Thorne & Co. were M. Baranov, B. M. Gordenev, M[ikhail Nikanorovich] Krinoff, N[ikolai Ivanovich] Cooznesoff, E[lena Ivanovna] M. Goutt, C. Humphrey, the lawyer, and myself. And for the bank - A. Sharboro, bank manager and lawyer. A price of $10,775.00 dollars was set, for which the church was purchased. In this way the church property was transferred to the possession of the parish, but with the obligatory submission to the Archbishop in all things as the head of the Mission, as is recorded in the charter solicited from Sacramento.
May 16, Sunday
Divine liturgy. Since the Serbs composed the majority in the temple, I addressed them in Serbian with a sermon on their spiritual blindness.
In the evening at the house of Mr. Older in Woodland Ranch our choir gave a concert. First part - church hymns, which Americans, gathered there, liked very much. 2nd - solo performances and folk songs. 3rd - balalaika, mandolins and guitar music. All people present volubly expressed their delight and thanked singers for the pleasure of hearing Russian music.
November 7, Sunday
Divine liturgy. Some petitions and prayers were said in English. At one of the council meetings it was decided every first Sunday of the month to celebrate divine services in English and to notify the public through local press beforehand.
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