Western American Diocese
Western American Diocese
News: 2020
Jubilee Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad - 11/18/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-11-18 16:44:22

Your Graces Brother-Archpastors, Honorable Fathers,
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord!

I sincerely greet you with the 725th Anniversary of the appearance of the miraculous Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God of the “Sign,” and with the Centennial of the founding of the Higher Church Administration Abroad, which later was transformed into the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad. We are not marking the events that destroyed all the foundations of Pre-Revolutionary Russia, and which hit extremely hard on our dear Mother – the Local Russian Orthodox Church – having pushed Her, together with the whole country, onto a path of great suffering, repression, martyrdom and confession. Rather, we raise up gratitude to God, Who has preserved us under the shelter of our precious Orthodox Faith, in the traditions of the glorious Russian Church. We bow down before the memory of those ascetics,...

Wildfires Rage in Parts of the Northern Deanery, Some Parishes in Oregon at Risk of Evacuation - 09/09/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-09-09 23:37:45

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act as wildfires continue to spread throughout the state.

There are at least 35 active fires, with more than 368,029 acres burning in the state, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Parishes in the Northern Deanery of the Western American Diocese in Oregon are at risk of succumbing to the fires...

Statement by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad on the California Fires - 09/02/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-09-02 16:33:43

It is with pain of heart that I am following the events unfolding in California, which is engulfed in flames, making this the second worst fire season in the history of the state. And I hasten to express my profoundest sympathy to everyone. I prayerfully empathize with His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill, the auxiliary bishops His Grace Bishop Theodosy and His Grace Bishop James, the clergy, monastics and flock of the Western American Diocese, the citizens of California, all who have suffered from the flames and the tens of thousands of firefighters battling them.

Glory to God, the fire did not touch the Church of Our Lady of Kazan on the Russian River...

Cathedral Archpriest Serge Kotar Retires and Departs San Francisco - 08/10/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-08-10 16:41:26

On Saturday, August 1, 2020 longtime cathedral Archpriest Fr. Serge Kotar retired from service at Holy Virgin Cathedral and left the Western American Diocese. Fr. Serge is moving out East and will be living with his son’s family, not far from the Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville, NY).

An Abbot and Psychologist in the USA: America is in a pre-revolutionary situation like Russia was in 1917 - 08/08/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-08-08 17:28:38

The Monastery of the All-Merciful Savior is located in Washington State, which was one of the first epicenters of the coronavirus epidemic, then of the mass protests that have swept throughout most of the country. The head of this monastery, Abbot Tryphon (Parsons), a licensed psychologist before his tonsure, has for many years replaced his clients and patients with spiritual children.  

He not only discussed how to rid ourselves of the pandemic and what consequences we might face. The priest, who in his youth was a radical socialist, shared his thoughts on how faith can help overcome tribulations, and also compared today’s events in the USA with the pre-Revolutionary situation in Russia in 1917.

It is most difficult today for the elderly and youth

- Fr Tryphon, why did you, an American, choose Russian Orthodox Christianity?

- It came from the heart. I love Russian culture, Russian music, the Liturgical music of the Russian Church, her traditions. When I began to seek my path to Orthodox Christianity, it was natural for me to join the Russian Church.

- You live in the State of Washington, which became one of the epicenters of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. What do you think of this situation?

The Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion Of Eastern America & New York First Hierarch of The Russian Church Abroad on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Glorification of Venerable Herman Wonderworker of Alaska - 08/08/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-08-08 15:45:58


Right reverend brother-archpastors, reverend fathers,
beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord!

Pushkin’s chronicler Pimen, passing on his life’s work to his student, said:
"…To thee I hand my task. In hours exempt
From the soul’s exercise, do thou record,
Not subtly reasoning, all things whereto
Thou shalt in life be witness; war and peace,
The sway of kings, the holy miracles
Of saints, all prophecies and heavenly signs; -
For me ‘tis time to rest and quench my lamp…"

"Here is that which is most dear to the Russian people: the holy miracles of saints, prophecies, and heavenly signs. And truly, no celebration in Russia ever saw the coming together of such multitudes in Russia as the opening of new holy relics," said Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who 100 years ago led the Russian Church Abroad, in one of his sermons.

As we know, the stages of the glorification of a saint in Christ’s Church take place gradually. We, the archpastors, pastors, and flock, examine ourselves against the dispositions of our forebears in the Faith, and in this way the canonization of God’s saints matures and takes shape...

OPEN LETTER to the Honourable Gavin Newsom, Governor of California - 07/08/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-07-09 01:13:12

to the Honourable Gavin Newsom, Governor of California
from His Eminence Kyrill Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America 
in light of the decree issued by the Governor of California 
that forbids choral singing in churches.

Your Excellency,

I hereby express my protest against the recent prohibition of liturgical singing in houses of worship, which is an infringement of the rights and religious freedoms of the clergy and faithful of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Diaspora, the other Local Orthodox Churches, performing their ministry in this state, as well as other religious bodies.

Video Presentation from the Symposium “Saint John and His Legacy” - 07/02/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-07-03 12:21:03

On July 1st, 2016, Archpriest Sergei Kotar, a cleric of Holy Virgin Cathedral and founder of Saint John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy, shares his recollections of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker and many of the latter's miracles wrought in the school.

This presentation was one of many given at the Symposium sponsored by the Saints Athanasius and Cyril Institute for Orthodox Studies, which was entitled “Saint John and His Legacy”, and was dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of his repose (1966-2016).

“We Wake Up Hoping That It Was All A Nightmare” – The Lessons of the Pandemic - 06/18/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-06-19 00:41:59

In other words, saying precisely when our lives will return to normal is very difficult. Like, on the other hand, answering the question will that life essentially be normal, i.e. as before. But we might, and I believe we should, take a different approach. That is to say we should try to understand the effect this ordeal has had on our thinking and what we have learned from it. Or otherwise on what should we have reflected and what should we have learned. Or still alternatively what insight can we obtain from it, how can our minds become enriched, disregarding the tragedy and incredible complexity of what has occurred.

I will attempt to share what I have come to understand.

1. It seems to me that it is worth placing first the obvious necessity of being prepared for anything in life. We often feel...

Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-06-13 18:03:41

The COVID-19 epidemic is gaining force and spares nothing in its path. In Kiev, some of the brothers of the Kiev Caves Lavra fell sick, as did the vicar archbishop of Obukhov, Jonah [who is now recovered.—OC]. We talked with Archbishop Theodosy (Snigirev), a vicar of Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, about the situation in Kiev, the future of the Orthodox Church, and its liturgical heritage.

Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-06-13 17:45:54

I would like to share my thoughts in connection with the discussion that has unfolded around the decoration of the mosaics of the main Church of the Armed Forces of Russia, recently built in Moscow.

Since ancient times, temples and entire monasteries dedicated to various historical events have always been erected on Russian soil. Such churches and monasteries include the following: the Church of the Protection on the Nerl, the Sretensky Monastery, the Kazan Cathedral on Red Square, the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir in Sevastopol, which is called the "Admiral's Cathedral" of the Russian fleet, where Admirals Lazarev, Kornilov, Nakhimov and Istomin are buried. The names of all naval officers who fell during the defense of Sevastopol are engraved on marble slabs in the upper church of this temple. The churches listed above include the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, built in 1883 in honor of the victory over Napoleon in the Patriotic War of 1812, and the St. Nicholas Cathedral, dedicated to the Russian fleet and all reposed sailors, built from 1903-1913 in Kronstadt. Even now those temples that belonged to a particular military regiment in tsarist times have also been preserved.

As a rule, in addition to icon painting, these temples were also decorated with memorable statues depicting certain historical events, and military paraphernalia, and, of course, with the awards that fallen soldiers received during the war. The naves of such temples usually had marble slabs on which the names of the fallen defenders of the fatherland were engraved. Most of these churches and monasteries were built, as a rule, on donations of ordinary Orthodox people. And this was done primarily so that everyone, making his contribution, would feel this temple, erected with his help, would be a house of prayer: “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13).

All Orthodox Christians, regardless of their country of residence, ...

The Governor of the State of California Announces the Opening of Churches - 05/25/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-05-26 00:41:50

Today, May 25, 2020, the Governor of the State of California, Gavin Newsome, has declared that churches and all houses of worship are now open.

The monasteries and parishes of the Western American Diocese within the State of California may enter into this new phase of reduced social distancing. However, all are required to observe the guidelines found in...

The Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Fort Ross is Cancelled - 05/23/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-05-24 03:21:42

It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the cancellation of our the annual diocesan pilgrimage to Fort Ross on Memorial Day. It is always a joyous day with the concelebration of the Divine Liturgy led by our hieararchs and surrounded by many the faithful. The procession to the cemetery across the canyon is refreshing as prayers are raised up for the departed and the graves are blessed.

Response to the Latest News about Opening Churches - 05/23/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-05-23 23:55:16

On Friday May 22, 2020, the opening of churches within the United States, after  their closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was announced by President Donald Trump; the opening of houses of worship beginning this weekend.

The President’s statement is welcome as the faithful look forward to the possibility of returning to the usual rhythm of Church life through attendance at the Divine Services and participating in other parish activities.

However, for now the practices for the ministry of the faithful that have been worked out successfully and maintained...

Quarantine is a Commandment of God - 05/21/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-05-21 15:33:09

Below are listed several thoughts and quotes from the Holy Scriptures:

“Christianity is not a religion of a church-made-by-hands (like the Jews have). We are able to serve all Sacraments outside of a church building. During the first four centuries Christians existed without material temples. We read: “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (II Cor. 6:16).  And again: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies“ (I Cor. 6:19-20).

Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-05-18 15:38:12

On April 9th, 2020, Deacon Alexander Gousev, a cleric and founder of Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia Church in Sparks, NV, reposed in the Lord.

Alexander Gousev (Sasha) was born in the former Soviet Union on May 10th, 1962. He came to Holy Ascension Church in Sacramento, CA, in 1989. Sasha lived for some time in San Francisco and eventually settled in Reno, NV.

Paschal Epistle from His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, 2020 - 04/13/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-16 19:41:39

Reverend Fathers, Venerable Monastics, and Pious Faithful
of the Western American Diocese ROCOR:
Precious Children of the Church, my beloved flock:


The voice of the Angel who proclaimed “He is risen!” has never been more longed-for than today, nor has our joy been deeper in hearing it.

Paschal Message of Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia - 04/13/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-16 19:41:39

Paschal Message of
Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia
to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics
and All the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church

Your Graces the archpastors, venerable fathers,
all-honourable monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters:


By the grace of the All-Generous God, we have been vouchsafed to come to the radiant Paschal night and once again rejoice in the glorious Resurrection of Christ. From the depths of my heart I greet all of you, my beloved, with this great holiday and “feast of feasts.”

Lazarus Saturday at Bethany Community of the Resurrection of the Lord - 04/11/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-16 19:41:39

During these holy days of Great Lent and Passion Week throughout the world, churches have been closed. By Divine allowance, government officials of many nations have, from fear of the spread of COVID-19, announced general quarantines, including in the Holy Land. Christians have limited access to holy sites, deprived of spiritual support, common prayer and the partaking of the Holy Gifts of Christ in their churches.

A Personal Directive from the President of the Synod of Bishops concerning the Proposed Visit fo the "Kursk-Root" Icon - 04/08/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-14 15:02:14

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia issues a  Personal Directive as the President of the Synod of Bishops concerning the Proposed Visit fo the "Kursk-Root" Icon.

Encyclical from Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia - 04/05/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-14 14:38:11

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion issues an Encyclical about the Coronavirus and the State mandated quarantine.

St. John (Maximovitch): Nothing is Fearful for the Person Whose Hope is in God - 04/04/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-14 14:38:11

"Where can I go from Thy Spirit, and where can I escape from Thy presence? If I go up into heaven, Thou art there; if I go down into hades, Thou art present there. If I take up my wings toward the dawn, and make mine abode in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand guide me, and Thy right hand shall hold me." (Psalm 138: 7-10).

These divinely inspired words of the Psalmist David should be particularly in our thoughts during these days, when the entire world is literally quaking, and from every direction comes news of all kinds of distress, shocks and calamities.

Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-14 14:38:11

Dear in the Lord fathers, brothers, and sisters!

I sincerely greet you with the very warmest well-wishes for the blessings of God, good health, spiritual calm, and the patience so needed in this trying time! I especially greet the doctors, nurses, and all who work in the hospitals, sincerely wishing them increased strength and Heavenly aid! I wish for those who are sick - and for their friends and relatives - comfort in the hope of God’s will, which always directs man toward the good. Our prayers are with all of you.

His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill issues a Decree for Liturgical Practices in Regions where Quarantine Restrictions are Mandated - 03/18/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-03-18 19:39:01

His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Franciso and Western America has issued Decree 6E/2020 in which he provides a directive for liturgical practices to be followed at all parishes, monsteries and missions of the Diocese in regions where new government quarantine restrictions relating to the coronavirus have made it impossible / illegal to serve public services for a time. 

Archbishop Kyrill issues a Decree Pertaining to the Coronavirus - 03/13/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-03-13 21:09:42

Instructional Notice Concering Reception of Post-Communion and other Pracitices during the Spread of the Coronavirus:

On Friday March 6, 2020, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill gave instruction to all of the clery of the Western American Diocese that zapivka (wine after communion) be served to the communicants from individual disposable cups until the Coronavirus ends. There is to be placed a paper bag for cup disposal next to the zapivka table.

Radiant Events Added to the Joyous Patronal Feast Day of the Church of Saint Herman of Alaska in Sunnyvale, California - 01/03/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-13 17:23:41

On December 12/25, the St Herman of Alaska Church in Sunnyvale, CA celebrated their parish feast day. This was an especially joyful event for the members of the parish as both our ruling hierarch, His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America and our new diocesan vicar, His Grace JAMES Bishop of Sonora presided together at the Divine Services.

The parish’s joy was multiplied as long time parishioner...

The XIII Annual Saint Herman’s West Youth Conference was Held in Los Angeles, CA - 01/03/2020
Category: Recent Events
Last updated: 2020-04-13 17:23:41

The XIII Annual Saint Herman’s West Youth Conference was held at Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, CA, from December 26th to 30th, 2019.

Under the grace-filled protection of Most Holy Theotokos through Her miraculous myrrh-streaming “Hawaiian-Iveron” Icon and in the spiritual care of His Grace James Bishop of Sonora and diocesan clergy, approximately 50 youth and counselors, gathered together from the far reaches of the Western American Diocese – Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington -- being joined by more centrally located participants from the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento and Los Angeles itself. Among the attendees participants even came from Vancouver, BC and Russia.

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