Holy Virgin Cathedral

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Holy Virgin Cathedral
Holy Virgin Cathedral San Francisco2.jpg
Holy Virgin Cathedral is located in San Francisco
Holy Virgin Cathedral
Location of Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco
Basic information
Geographic coordinates 37°46′49.53″N 122°29′10.45″W / 37.7804250°N 122.4862361°W / 37.7804250; -122.4862361Coordinates: 37°46′49.53″N 122°29′10.45″W / 37.7804250°N 122.4862361°W / 37.7804250; -122.4862361
Affiliation Russian Orthodox
District Richmond
State California
Region United States
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Status Active
Architect(s) Oleg N. Ivanitsky
Founder John of Shanghai and San Francisco
Groundbreaking 1961
Completed 1965
Direction of façade South

The Holy Virgin Cathedral, also known as Joy of All Who Sorrow, is a Russian Orthodox cathedral in the Richmond District of San Francisco. It is the largest of the six cathedrals of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.[1] which has over 400 parishes worldwide.


Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco founded the Holy Virgin Cathedral in 1961.

Russian settlement in California began at Fort Ross in 1812. The original San Francisco parish of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia was founded in 1927. An earlier Holy Virgin Cathedral was located on Fulton Street in San Francisco.[2] The current cathedral at 6210 Geary Boulevard in the Richmond District was founded by Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, born Mikhail Maximovitch. The neighborhood is known for its Russian restaurants and shops, and the "most visible Russian presence is the magnificent Holy Virgin Cathedral".[3]

Groundbreaking took place in June 1961, construction was completed in 1965,[4] and the cathedral was consecrated in January 1977. Saint John, who died in 1966, is buried within the cathedral.[5]


The cathedral was designed by Oleg N. Ivanitsky, and features five onion domes covered in 24 carat gold leaf.[4] The "incredible beauty" of the interior, which is "lined by icons, religious paintings, and mosaics, and lit by a voluminous chandelier" can be seen only by those who attend religious services.[5]

The building is a San Francisco Designated Landmark.

Clergy and programs[edit]

The Rector of the cathedral is Kyrill (Dmitrieff), Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The archbishop is a San Francisco native and a graduate of the University of San Francisco. The Cathedral operates a K–12 school, The Saint John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy, as well as a bookstore and housing for senior citizens.


  1. ^ Steeves, Paul D. (1988). The Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and the Soviet Union. Volume 5. Academic International Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-87569-106-0. 
  2. ^ Zaverukha, Lydia B; Bogdan, Nina; Ershova, Ludmila (2009). Russian San Francisco. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-7167-6. 
  3. ^ Nolte, Carl (June 20, 2010). "Russian emigres find history, community in S.F.". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco. Retrieved December 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Craig, Christopher; Penn, Elan (2006). San Francisco: A Pictorial Celebration. Sterling Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-4027-2388-9. 
  5. ^ a b Sinclair, Mick (2004). San Francisco: A Cultural and Literary History. Interlink Books. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-56656-489-2. 

External links[edit]