March 17th, 2019
Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon visited Holy Trinity Cathedral for Vespers on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. From the bell tower, the murmurings of spring daylight made the San Francisco sunset a warm gray. The Blagovest rumbled as the service began and the doors opened just before the hour. A triumphant sight entered the cathedral, His Beatitude with Archbishop Benjamin, Archbishop Kyrill (of ROCOR's Western American Diocese) and Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa. The first intoning of the deacon and response of the choir set the stage for the rest of the evening. Somber and powerful, beautiful and heavenly, these are the moments that originally drew me into Orthodoxy.
As we finished singing Vespers with our guests, some of us trickled down to the kitchen to set out food for the reception. All afternoon volunteers were pinching piroshki, chopping veggies, and setting the stage for buffet tables. After kissing the cross, we exited the large front steps to enter the small side door on Green Street. There were so many people laughing and greeting each other as our brothers and sisters from parishes in the Bay Area came to celebrate with us. As you entered the room, pockets of people hovered over almonds and hummus.
Every kind of Lenten appetizer imaginable was in sight — from pickled veggies and nuts to small borscht cups, endives stuffed with beet salad, ground mushrooms and fresh homemade bread for dipping, a cold cranberry punch and a plethora of baked goods. Our kitchen volunteers really outdid themselves; children were running up and down the stairs to refill empty food trays, delicately arranging endives and cups in perfect rows. After a little while the archbishops and His Beatitude settled into a comfortable table nook with a clear view of the spectacle. Seeing them talking and laughing together made all of our preparations worth it.
-Cathedral Parishioner April Marie Warren