All events of the 2018 Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium will take place at St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral, 1629 NE 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55413 unless otherwise noted.
But did you know the cathedral has a long and storied history within the Orthodox Church in North America, especially within the early days of Orthodox Christianity in the Lower 48?
The parish of St. Mary's was founded in 1887 by eastern-rite Catholics from the villages of Becherov, Komlosa, Stebnik, Regetovka in an area north of Prešov in eastern Slovakia. When it was founded, the community took the Mother of God as their patron and protectress, selecting the Protection of the Mother of God, commemorated annually on October 1 as their patronal feast. The first church building was constructed and dedicated in 1889.
About St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral
The first St. Mary's Orthodox Church, built in Minneapolis in 1887.
St. Alexis (Toth), the first rector of St. Mary's Church.
St. Sebastian (Dabovich), the second rector of St. Mary's Church.
The Elevation of the Cross Cathedral in Omsk, Russia, built in 1870 was the basis for the design of St. Mary's in 1905.
The new St. Mary's Church shortly after its consecration.
St. Tikhon of Moscow, who consecrated the present church in June 1906.
Today, St. Mary's Cathedral is a spiritual and historic landmark
in the Northeast Minneapolis community.
A major restoration campaign was recently completed with the addition of new iconography and other improvements to ensure the cathedral is ready for the next generation of faithful.
Later that same year, Saint Alexis (Toth) arrived to be the community’s first pastor, and the coming years resulted in the growing parish to eventually be restored to Orthodoxy through the labors of Saint Alexis.
On March 25, 1891, Bishop Vladimir of San Francisco travelled to Minneapolis to receive the entire parish into the Orthodox Faith.
As the parish grew and became established in northeast Minneapolis, a school was established, and a formal choir program, with Professor Paul Zaichenko being appointed by Bishop Nicholas of San Francisco (later Archbishop of Warsaw) to lead efforts to develop the musical capacities beyond the unison chant of the early members.
At first, an all-male octet was formed, and later a mixed choir to lead services. Zaichenko was also instrumental in beginning the process to educate the faithful in the teachings of Orthodoxy.
The Archbishop, who was once rector of the Moscow Theological Academy, strongly believed in education and soon a Mission School was established, which later became the first Orthodox Seminary in North America.
After Saint Alexis left Minneapolis and moved to Pennsylvania, helping other eastern-rite communities return to Orthodoxy, another future saint served the community, Father Sebastian (Dabovich), who was born in San Francisco to Serbian immigrants but served the North American Mission in various capacities, including teaching at the Mission School in Minneapolis.
With the steady growth of the community and educational programs, parishioners began to discuss the need to build a larger church. Their plans became more real when a fire destroyed the original wooden church in January 1904.
Soon, the cornerstone for a much larger church, based on the style of the Elevation of the Cross Cathedral in Omsk, Russia, was laid, and in due time the new building was completed. In June 1906 Saint Tikhon of Moscow, who was then serving as the archbishop of the North American Mission, came to Minneapolis and consecrated the new church, dedicating it to the Protection of the Theotokos.
In 1912, the seminary was transferred to Tenafly, NJ and eventually New York City before becoming St. Vladimir’s Seminary in the 1930s. Yet the community continued to support and encourage the teaching of its members through educational programs and a strong musical program.
Over the coming decades, St. Mary’s continued to grow as more immigrants arrived from Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, and other parts of Eastern Europe. As members began to see themselves more as Americans instead of immigrants, the use of English became more prevalent in divine services, and necessary as more and more converts joined the church.
The strength of the educational program inspired some to attend seminary, dedicating their lives in service to God and His holy church as clergy, choir directors, and educators.
Today, St Mary's Orthodox Cathedral is a dynamic community of Orthodox Christians from all walks of life across the Twin Cities, who participate in a full cycle of services throughout the liturgical year, celebrating the feasts and fasts with friends and family.
As a parish of the Orthodox Church in America, the cathedral community strives to uphold the teachings of the church and serve those in need throughout the Twin Cities. The cathedral has a variety of programs and service resources to help those in need, including prision ministry, supporting local food banks, outreach to homebound parishioners, and an extensive church school program.
The parish library features thousands of publications and resources to educate members and seekers who desire to know more about the teachings of Orthodoxy.
The parish choir continues to lead the faithful in worship and under the direction of Dn Gregory Ealy, a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, strives to sing a diverse selection of music from traditional court chant settings to new compositions by American composers including members of the cathedral.
While members of the cathedral enjoy the fruits of the labors from past generations, they understand the importance of caring for the gifts received from God, and building up what they have received, so that future generations will be able to worship, sing, and grow together as a community for many years to come.
To learn more about St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral,
please visit www.stmarysoca.org