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Updated Numbers - 11/16/18

By now many of you have heard of the "Camp Fire" which has been raging here in Northern California. This fire has now become the deadliest and most devastating wildfire in California history. As of this writing, the death toll is at 71 and is bound to rise considering the number of missing persons. The fire has burnt 146,000 acres, it is currently 50% contained. So far 9,844 residences, 336 commercial, 2,067 other buildings have also been destroyed. Sts. Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Mission, here in Chico, is only 15 minutes from the town of Paradise, the town which has been completely devastated by this fire. The two towns of Chico and Paradise are closely intertwined, as many people live in Paradise and work in Chico. 

Along with thousands of other people, five of our own parishioners have lost their homes as well. Most importantly, we are thankful to God that they all made it out alive! Their stories are harrowing! Many of them drove through flames while evacuating. The fire advanced very quickly and they received no advanced warning from any official source, and fled their homes with very little! We are glad that they are safe and being taken care of by friends, relatives, and fellow parishioners, but they are now left with the task of having to rebuild their lives. 

We look forward to helping our parishioners and others within our local community get back on their feet. It will be a long road, but we know that tragedy also has the capacity to bring us closer together and remind us of what is truly important: our unity in Christ and our love for our neighbor. We are setting up a "fire relief" fund to help our parishioners and others affected. We appreciate your prayers and donations to those suffering in our community.

Donations may be sent to:

So. Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Church
2956 Cohasset Rd
Chico, California 95973-0921

Fr. Ian Shipley

Message from Archbishop BENJAMIN on events in California - 11/09/18

To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West:

The Lord bless!

It seems like it was only yesterday that fire threatened the clergy and faithful in the Napa and Sonoma valleys.  Once again, a fast moving fire has devastated the community of Paradise, CA where some of the faithful from the Chico parish live.  As I write, it has been reported 1,000 homes have been destroyed by fire.  And the fire is moving rapidly towards the city of Chico.  I would ask you all to pray for the victims.  I will most likely ask we take up a collection to benefit the victims.  I am afraid such fires may become a regular feature of life here in California.

I would also ask you to remember the victims in the terrible shooting in Thousand Oaks.  Not only is this a considerable evil, it also appears to reflect the unseen mental wounds that exist in so many of our veterans who have seen and experienced the tragedy of war.  May God give the departed rest and protect us all.

This Sunday's Gospel is the Parable of the Good Samaritan where Christ calls us to care for our neighbors.  Indeed, to paraphrase St. Anthony the Great, salvation rests in our neighbor.


2019 Alaska Pilgrimage Cruise - 09/25/18

2019 Pilgrimage Cruise to Alaska

With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West and the support of His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska, a pilgrimage cruise and conference-at-sea will be held September 7-14, 2019.

A flyer and detailed information, including speakers and topics, costs, etc., are available online at  

Sailing from Seattle to explore Juneau, Sitka, Glacier Bay, and other sites on the Holland America Eurodam, participants will attend a wide variety of daily lectures, liturgical services, visits and social gatherings. Bishop David will host the pilgrims in Sitka, and the lecturers will include Archpriest Michael Oleksa, a recognized authority on Alaskan history and spirituality, and Archpriest Laurent Cleenewerck, Rector of Saint Innocent Church, Eureka, CA, who will lecture on Orthodox apologetics.

Registrations should be made as soon as possible as the 50 slots are allocated on a first-come first-serve basis.

Dome Icons Blessed in SF - 09/11/18

On Sunday, September 9 2018, with the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, the clergy and faithful of Holy Trinity Cathedral celebrated the blessing of the newly completed iconography now adorning the interior of the cathedral dome. We were honored by the presence of Iconographer Dmitri Shkolnik who painted the icons of Christ the High Priest, His Holy Mother, the Forerunner, and the Bodiless Powers of Heaven. Archpriest Kirill Sokolov, Dean, served the rite of blessing holy icons assisted by Protodeacon Brendan Doss. Archpriest James Jorgenson preached the homily at the Divine Liturgy.

Challenge grant: An anonymous donor will generously match gifts in support of this iconography project, up to a total of $20,000. For every pledge made to Holy Trinity for this beautification project, your gift will be doubled! To make your gift or for further information, please contact Fr. Kirill Sokolov,, 1520 Green St., San Francisco CA 94123.

The new icons were prayerfully commissioned in honor of Holy Trinity Cathedral's sesquicentennial anniversary which also marks the foundation of the American Mission south of Alaska. The festive Divine Liturgy and luncheon commemorating this jubilee will be held Saturday, October 20, 2018. More information can be found at

A photograph gallery from the blessing of the icons is available here:

Diocese of the West Video Now Available - 07/30/18

A video highlighting the work going on in the Diocese of the West, prepared for and debuted at the 19th All-American Council held July 23-27 in St. Louis is now available online. If you wish to view the video, click


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