WEST TOWN — The historic Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral is set for a double celebration this weekend: its 125th year as a parish along with the 125th anniversary of Orthodox Christianity in Chicago.
The celebration will kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday with a tour of the cathedral, 1121 N. Leavitt St., followed by a vigil at 4 p.m. A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday followed by a banquet at The Carlisle in suburban Lombard.
"This is a momentous occasion, worthy of giving thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for the blessings He has bestowed on us, we well as strengthening us for the challenges we face in the 21st Century!" Holy Trinity organizers said on the cathedral website.
The cathedral was originally established in 1892 as St. Vladimir's Church, which is believed to have been the first Orthodox Christian parish in Chicago. It began by holding services in a house on Noble Street then moved to another home on Armitage avenue.
Architect Louis H. Sullivan, "the father of modern American Architecture," designed the present cathedral, constructed in 1903 after a $4,000 donation was given from Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Inspired by one particular church in the village of Tatarskaya in Siberia, Sullivan's design resembles traditional country churches in Russia.
The inside of the church also includes paintings by Russian artist V.N. Vasnetoff. Its main piece, the iconsistas, a screen decorated with church icons, was brought from Russia and donated to the cathedral in 1912. Sullivan hoped that the church would become one of "the most unique and poetic buildings in the country."
Holy Trinity helped spark other Orthodox churches in the Midwest. It now serves as a center of religious life for the Orthodox faithful as the See Cathedral of the Diocese of the Midwest of the Orthodox Church in America.
In 1976, the cathedral was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was later named an official City of Chicago Landmark in 1979.
For more information on tickets visit Holy Trinity's website.