About the Church in Honor of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco

We made a video about the construction of the Church in honor of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco in the fall of 2015. Three years later, a lot of tasks have been done. You could have followed all construction stages on a dedicated page in the Ministry section of our blog. Now, let us share the good news!

The construction of the church is over. A carved wooden cross has been erected. Interior finishing works are coming to an end. The iconostasis has been set up, with some icons already painted. The choir loft has been equipped. Heating and ventilation systems have been checked. Sound amplifiers have been mounted. Adjacent territory has been improved. An access ramp leading to the entrance of the church has been built; combined with low threshold, it makes the church accessible for the less able. Currently, we at St. Elisabeth Convent are getting ready for the Great Consecration of the church. We celebrate some divine offices in St. John of Shanghai Church and hold meetings with the faithful in its basement.

Let us talk about the construction in a greater detail. Initially, the church was planned to be built in a Belarusian style but then God sent us an opportunity to use timber, which led our architects to change their plans. Why did they decide to build the church in a different style? Probably, because many people, especially Christians, are always keen on finding a connection with the ancient time-honored tradition. We wanted this church to bring to mind some of the best architectural masterpieces of the Russian North, that is, Kizhi churches. A lot has been written about that amazing place. The churches of Kizhi architectural ensemble (which is a UNESCO world heritage site, by the way) combine awe-inspiring magnificence, ascetic look, and immanent thrust toward God, which doesn’t tolerate anything excessive or meaningless.

The sill of the church is made of oak, the beams that support the spiked roof are made of larch. The walls are made of our Belarusian pine wood. Some of the logs are as thick as 17 inches! Oak dowels were pushed into the logs in a chequered pattern. The logs are secured with grooves cut in both ends of each log, providing tightly-sealed corners. The art of the roofers is equally impressive: the cylindrical and onion-like shapes are decorated with curved diamond-shaped copper tiles of various shapes. The inclines are covered with corrugated metal sheets. All places where the roof abuts against the wooden walls are thoroughly trimmed.

All interior details have unique design: the workshops of our Convent and private contractors did a really great job! For instance, the woodwork shop of St. Elisabeth Convent made the exterior decorations of the church, the iconostasis frame, and the furniture. Our blacksmith’s shop made the choros (the church chandelier) and all other forged items. Our glass workshop made stained glass windows for this church. Our gilders decorated the domes and the crosses. Our icon painting workshop designed and painted the icons.

The construction of a church has always been a serious and very challenging endeavor. The faithful from all walks of life have always joined their efforts to assist in this good cause. Thank God, we now have another place where the greatest Mystery of the Eucharist occurs. We’ve finally built another church where people will have communion with God, thanks to your ongoing support and prayers. We are immensely grateful to you. May God bless you! We will be happy to meet you in St. John of Shanghai Church!

By Sergey Losev

The Senior Brother 
at  the Catalog of Good Deeds

The Catalog Of Good Deeds, 2018