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Slideshow of historical photos

Images used by permission of the Seattle Museum of History and Industry © MOHAI Seattle 2009-2015
Founding and Consecration

Saint Nicholas Cathedral is one of the oldest parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the United States.

The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, as it was then called, was founded in 1932 by Russian immigrants, many of whom were naval officers under the tsar, who fled the scourge of Bolshevism. With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Tikhon of San Francisco and Western American, they formed a Russian Orthodox community, bought land and built a church.

The community was first served by visiting priests from San Francisco and Los Angeles and later by the first rector Very Reverend Archpriest Michael Nikolaevsky. After the untimely death of Fr. Michael, the Very Reverend Archpriest Michael Danilchik was appointed as rector. It was during the tenure of Fr. Michael Danilchik that the church was built.

The newly constructed church was consecrated by Archbishop Tikhon of Western America on December 19, 1937, dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia and designated as a memorial to the martyred Tsar Nicholas II, his Royal Family and all the Russian soldiers and people who died defending their faith, tsar and country.

Growth Through The Years

More Russian Orthodox faithful settled in Seattle after escaping turmoil and persecution abroad. Many Russians fled Asia and Europe as a result of World War II and the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.

In addition, after Communism spread to China in 1947, many Russians who had resettled in Shanghai, Harbin, and other Chinese cities, were forced again to flee economic and political hardships. Many were rescued from refugee camps on the island of Tubabao in the Philippines by the efforts of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco and re-settled in various locations including the Western American Diocese and Seattle (Please see the St. John Chapel section).

Vicar Bishops

In the early 1960's, Bishop Nektary was decreed the first vicar bishop of Seattle and the church now became designated as a cathedral. From 1992 Bishop Kyrill held this position until 2001 when he became the Archbishop of San Francisco and the Western American Diocese. In 2008, the parish was once again blessed with the appointment of a vicar bishop, Bishop Theodosy. On January 6-9 2009, Bishop Theodosy visited our Cathedral for the first time. He serves at our parish several times a year, most notably on the parish feastday, Christmas and Pascha.

St. John Chapel

St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco served at St. Nicholas Cathedral often. In 1966, St. John reposed here in Seattle. The room where he reposed is now a small chapel dedicated to his memory. English language liturgies are held in the chapel on a bi-weekly basis. Please refer to our schedule located on our Home page for the next service. Visit to see photos of Archbishop John (Maximovitch) of Western America and San Francisco.

Memorable Events

The parish has hosted several significant church wide events over its history including: the annual Russian Orthodox Choir Musician's Conference (twice in the past ten years), the semi-annual clergy conference of the Western American Diocese and co-hosted the newly established St. Herman's West Youth Conference. The Cathedral has been blessedn by the visit and service of many Russian Orthodox dignitaries such as Metropolitans Anastassy and Philaret, Bishop Savva of Edmonton, Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco, our recently deceased first hierarch - Metropolitan Laurus, and our current first hierarch - Metropolitan Hilarion, among many others.

Assigned Clergy

Our Cathedral has been blessed by the service of many wonderful priests including the following:

  • Archpriest Michael Nikolaevsky
  • Archpriest Michael Danilchik
  • Protopresbyter Elias Wen (Interim)
  • Mitred Archpriest Andrew Nachonetchny
  • Protopresbyter Konstantin Tivetsky
  • Priest Serafim Gascoigne
  • Archimandrite Anastassy (Interim)
  • Archpriest Alexei Kotar (current dean)

From Our Past to Our Present

St. Nicholas is one of the oldest parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the United States and we try to keep the spirit of our founding fathers of our church, alive. Although they were a political emigration, the raison d'etre of their work was clearly specified in the by-laws of the parish where they identified the purpose of the parish as:

Mutual help among the members united in the common faith in Jesus Christ in reaching a common Christian goal of Salvation through the medium of community prayers, rituals, and rules established by the Church. (Parish By-laws dated 1/24/35)

May their memory be eternal and through their prayers and the intercessions of St. Nicholas, St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, the Holy Royal Martyrs and Russian and of St Spiridon of Tremithous (whom we consider the patron saint of this city) may the Cathedral flourish as a beacon of Orthodoxy for many years to come.