The three missing bells were a gift of Tsar Alexander III to the then-fledgling American mission of the Russian Church in 1888. Bells of this era and style are unique to the oldest Cathedral community in the contiguous United States.
It was even more fitting that the bells, that play a key part in the worship services of the Orthodox Church, were returned at the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year.
"We were overwhelmed with the expressions of concern and sympathy offered to the Cathedral community following the disappearance of the bells," said Rev. Victor Sokolov, Rector of the Cathedral. "It was deeply moving to receive calls from around the country and world from Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike." The bells demonstrate the close bond that existed between Russia and San Francisco in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
"Perhaps most moving of all," Father Victor explained, "were the notes and calls from our close neighbors who identify the neighborhood with the ancient bells."
The bells had been stolen as the Cathedral is undergoing major renovation following a devastating fire that occurred in the early hours of Pascha (Easter) morning, 1998.
The Cathedral expects to re-consecrate the bells at a special ceremony and thanksgiving prayer service today at 12:00 NOON.
Holy Trinity Cathedral, the oldest Orthodox Cathedral community in the contiguous United States, is the seat of Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West, Orthodox Church in America. The Reverend Victor Sokolov has been Pastor of the Cathedral since 1991.