On Monday, December 19th, 2022, on its Patronal Feast Day of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, the northernmost parish of the Western American Diocese, Saint Nicholas Cathedral, celebrated its 90th anniversary. The parish members which built the seven-domed cathedral in the Capital Hill area of Seattle, Washington, received the blessing for its founding in 1932 from Archbishop Tikhon, who was at that time the ruling bishop of the San Francisco and Western American Diocese. The founding fathers of the parish, many of whom were former officers in the Royal Imperial Navy of the Russian Empire, had a profound reverence for the last Tsar, the Holy Passion-bearer Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, and they chose to dedicate the parish to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker – the Patron Saint of the Tsar-Martyr. The cathedral is one of the first churches in history to be designated as a memorial to Tsar Nicholas and his family.
The festal services were exceptional due to the presence of the ruling hierarch of the Diocese, His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, and his auxiliary bishop of the Northern Deanery, His Grace Bishop THEODOSY of Seattle, who were accompanied by the Dean of the Cathedral, Archpriest Alexei Kotar and his assistant Priest Paul Volkoff, along with four other priests, Hieromonk Paul (Kilman), Priests Stefan Dragoi, Steven Clark, and Theodore Obrastoff, and five deacons: Archdeacon Peter (Karakozoff), Protodeacon Paul Bilibin, and Deacons Arsenios Blain, Ruslan Kroshko and Allen MacDougall. The presence of the monks from the All-Merciful Savior Monastery of Vashon Island also graced the festivities. The cathedral choir under the direction of Gregory Kotar contributed to the grandeur of the services with the excellent execution of the choral compositions creating an atmosphere of prayerfulness and beauty. The extraordinary floral decorations in the cathedral were the masterwork of Olga Meleshko. The presence of Protodeacon Paul and Tatiana Bilibin (former Head Sister), who had moved away to Arizona, brought joy to the congregation. The services were well attended despite it being a workday and the unusually cold weather which created icy hazardous driving conditions. The approximately one hundred communicants communed from two chalices. Undiscouraged by the freezing temperatures, the Liturgy was concluded by a procession around the church and the presentation of a Synodal Gramota to the cathedral's Dean, Archpriest Alex Kotar, and the parish commemorating this historic date.
Following the liturgy, a formal banquet was arranged by the Head Sister, Matushka Karen Volkoff, and her assistant, Matushka Natalie Kotar. The venue for the banquet was the exquisite Woman’s University Club located in a landmark building decorated in the King George style. The highlight during the meal was a premiere of a film about the parish which was created especially for this event. The film was composed by Daniel Piker and an ambitious group of young parishioners under the guidance of Alena Prudnikov and Matushka Natalie. This 54-minute video expertly reviewed the history of the parish, highlighted some sacred artifacts housed in the cathedral, and featured reflections by veteran members of the parish. These members were awarded icons by Archbishop Kyrill and presented with handmade ceramic plaques with a replica of the cathedral building created by Olga Meleshko. Following the showing of the film, Daniel Piker received a close to five-minute standing ovation from the exuberant audience.
Archpriest Alex Kotar
Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Seattle, WA, marks its 90th Anniversary with Archbishop Kyrill presiding - 12/19/2022
Photographs by Sergei Kalfov