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Author Topic: Holy Virgin Cathedral - Joy of all Who Sorrow - San Francisco, CA - Russian Orth  (Read 2222 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gypsy
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St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« on: February 16, 2011, 10:55:30 PM »

Hi everyone,

I am very excited to travel from the east coast to San Francisco tomorrow night.
While I am there my son is going to take me to visit the Holy Virgin Cathedral - Joy of all Who Sorrow -

I have visited the website, read the rules for visitors, have attended Vespers before at a Skete, but don't want to make a fool of myself.  My son is not Orthodox either.  Does any one have any tips or insight for us while we are there?  I am hoping they have a nice gift shop so I can take a gift of incense or something back to the Skete for the Monks there - for their kindness to me.  When I asked Father what he would like - he just asked for prayers at the relics of ST John - which of course I am happy to do.
What do Monks like?  Any thoughts here?

Of course I am very interested in the icons.  Are there any other places that you guys can suggest to us as
being of interest?  Thanks ahead of time for your input!
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ialmisry
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 11:12:45 PM »

Hi everyone,

I am very excited to travel from the east coast to San Francisco tomorrow night.
While I am there my son is going to take me to visit the Holy Virgin Cathedral - Joy of all Who Sorrow -

I have visited the website, read the rules for visitors, have attended Vespers before at a Skete, but don't want to make a fool of myself.  My son is not Orthodox either.  Does any one have any tips or insight for us while we are there?  I am hoping they have a nice gift shop so I can take a gift of incense or something back to the Skete for the Monks there - for their kindness to me.  When I asked Father what he would like - he just asked for prayers at the relics of ST John - which of course I am happy to do.
What do Monks like?  Any thoughts here?

Of course I am very interested in the icons.  Are there any other places that you guys can suggest to us as
being of interest?  Thanks ahead of time for your input!

It has a large giftshop, with a lot of things in Russian and some in English.

As for a gift, get icons of St. John and place them on his relics.

If you get a chance, visit Fort Ross, north of SF, if you have access to a car.

Btw, the OCA Cathedral was the cathedral of St. Tikhon. A couple blocks from it is the top of Russian Hill, with a plaque marking the Old Russian Cementry.  St. Innnocent of Alaska visitied the Padres at the Spanish Mission.

If you are into history, Sonoma across the bay is a quaint town, and the site of the Bear Republic.  In Golden Gate Park Academy of Sciences is the stuffed bear which is used as the model for the state flag.
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Gypsy
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St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 11:20:23 PM »

Thank you so much!  I love the thought of placing the icon on the relics.
Is this considered ok?  Really?
Would I be able to take a photo of the icon with the relics?

Thanks for the other tips also, my son does have a car and he will take me wherever...!

I did also read one of the other threads on this cathedral...it seems extra conservative, so I want to be respectful and polite and not invite the ire of Orthodox worshippers...
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 11:41:11 PM »

I've been to Holy Virgin a few times and it's actually not super conservative as Russian churches go.
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ialmisry
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 11:55:45 PM »

Thank you so much!  I love the thought of placing the icon on the relics.
Is this considered ok?  Really?
Would I be able to take a photo of the icon with the relics?

Thanks for the other tips also, my son does have a car and he will take me wherever...!

I did also read one of the other threads on this cathedral...it seems extra conservative, so I want to be respectful and polite and not invite the ire of Orthodox worshippers...
Placing the icons on the reliquary is no problem that I remember, but IIRC phots are.

Fort Ross is about two hours/65 miles north of the Cathedral.  The OCA cathedral is 5miles/15 minutes away from Holy Virigin. Russian Hill summit is half a mile/5 minutes from the OCA Cathedral, at the end fo Vallejo on the top of the hill (past Jones st.). Nearby is Lombard Street, the crookest street in the world.
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 12:13:54 AM »

If you're there Saturday, you can submit names for the moleben to St John that is done before vigil.

The bookstore is a must-see. Note that it is in a separate building from the church, on the corner of Geary and 26th.

Also, be sure to get a vial of oil from St John's vigil lamp. They are available at the counter in the narthex, and they also sell icons and a few books there (with much more in the bookstore).

From what I could ascertain when I was there, photography was okay but not of the relics. There is often a line of people venerating the relics, and it would come off badly and touristy to the locals. Plus the relics are under glass, so it would be hard to get a good photo anyway. Just bless your icons on the relics, say a prayer, and that will be more than adequate. Smiley
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 12:17:55 AM by bogdan » Logged
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St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 12:38:58 AM »

Thanks again!

Good tips on the OCA cathedral and the holy oil..
Appreciate the notes on venerating the relics, I am RC so ok with that, agree that the photo op seems tacky!

On venerating icons and lighting candles....I am hoping to do so...made a note to NOT wear lipstick!
I am so hoping it will be alright to go ahead and do that.
Also - do not see a Vespers service listed for Friday evening...do you think they hold it every day?

I am more likely to fit that in than getting to their liturgy.

Many thanks for all the tips...
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 11:25:16 AM »

There's usually someone behind the counter in the narthex who mans the bookstore and gets people holy oil. Might be worthwhile introducing yourselves, explaining you're there to see St. John, but have not been in an Orthodox church before (or, if you have, that you're not familiar with how things are done). St. John receives many non-Orthodox visitors, too.
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St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2011, 02:59:16 PM »

Many thanks for the replies...I am reporting back in!

Well, the book store was absolutely marvelous but I simply would have loved more time in it!
Son got me there later than I hoped for, it was a pouring wet day, and the young man behind the counter wanted to close early...so I feasted as quickly as I could and left with goodies.  The books on icons were few- but the ones they had were amazing.

The cathedral is not open to the public until around an hour before the services start, so you can't just go anytime.  I had to hang around for a couple of hours so it was off to a coffee shop for a bit....I got back in time for the beginning of the Moleban by ST John's relics, which is what I wanted.  Thanks for the tip on the holy oil. 

I tried to explain that I was a visitor to the gentleman behind the counter....he did not understand me, so I gave up and just got the oil.  No one spoke or said hello.....strange......

Since I have only attended services in a small chapel with large windows...I was not prepared for how dark and large the interior of the cathedral would be especially when just lighted by the candles, it was quite overpoweringly beautiful.  The darkness made it seem very holy, the chanting was beautiful.  I am used to seeing my monks in their black robes...but here here were many priests in beautiful vestments.  I lit candles and venerated the relics of St John clutching my small gifts just laying them on the glass case while I prayed.  It was a very moving and respectful Moleban (what is the meaning/significance of that word...?).
Then I moved around to venerate and light some candles at the icons of Theotokos and others...

I was not prepared at all for what happened next.    They turned the lights up!

Gold and Glory - heaven on earth indeed!  There are just no words to describe that glorious interior!
It is still shining in my mind....oh the Beauty of it!

Sadly I could not stay for the Vespers service....as my son and girlfriend had my Birthday dinner reservations and I had to go.  Of course you all know this was the HIGHLIGHT of my day!
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ialmisry
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2011, 04:55:43 PM »

Moleban (what is the meaning/significance of that word...?).
Supplication, in contrast to a Panakhida (Memorial) service. The one directs prayer to a departed, the other for.  Part of the gloficiation/canonization of a saint is the switch from the memorial to the supplication service.

Glad you had a good time. Thanks for reporting back.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 04:56:07 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2011, 05:14:17 PM »

I tried to explain that I was a visitor to the gentleman behind the counter....he did not understand me, so I gave up and just got the oil.  No one spoke or said hello.....strange......

Aww, I remember that guy! He is really sweet though ... he is a migrant from Romania about 38 years old been in SF for about 2 years! Can not speak English hardly at all and is looking for a wife Smiley



LOL.
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 06:21:19 PM »

Do you go to the Holy relics at the Shrine during the Moleben?  I have been under the impression that during the other services people are free to go up to the Holy relics.  And That the priest would pray the Moleben right before the the Holy relics.
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 08:17:36 PM »

I'm so excited for you! I wish to hear more, perhaps in person when you return! Smiley
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St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 10:50:22 PM »

You are correct IXOYE...the priests were standing around the relics by the candles during the Moleban, we all faced the relics.  No one went up to them until the reading of all the names and everything was done.  Then those of us there lined up to go and venerate.  The case is on a raised platform with a step or two up.  Some kneeled on the steps and prostrated themselves.  Most bowed and signed the cross as I did.  Some did that other thing...not sure what it's called...but it's a cross, bow and right arm sweep to the floor....

As I am RC I found it very familiar as veneration of Saints is very important to me.
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St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2011, 10:58:25 PM »

Myrrh bear you would have loved it - the frescoes and icons were amazing.  I am so happy Father told me to go there.  Yes - I am going to have to take a Tuesday off so we can study together! 
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ialmisry
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2011, 11:49:11 PM »

You are correct IXOYE...the priests were standing around the relics by the candles during the Moleban, we all faced the relics.  No one went up to them until the reading of all the names and everything was done.  Then those of us there lined up to go and venerate.  The case is on a raised platform with a step or two up.  Some kneeled on the steps and prostrated themselves.  Most bowed and signed the cross as I did.  Some did that other thing...not sure what it's called...but it's a cross, bow and right arm sweep to the floor....
Metonoia (i.e. "repentance"), or metanya or metony or little prostration.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Worship#Metania
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A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2011, 04:30:06 AM »

Thank you Ialmisry...are these words Greek?

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ialmisry
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« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2011, 09:41:25 AM »

Thank you Ialmisry...are these words Greek?
The first is, the second the Greek borrowed into Slavonic, the third the Greek borrowed into English.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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