Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral was founded as a church in 1904 to serve the Greek Orthodox residents of the District of Columbia. In 1962, the church was elevated to a cathedral. The building is in the Neo-Byzantine style with a central dome that reaches 24m in height.

The congregation met in temporary quarters for several years, prior to the construction of its own church near 8th and L Streets NW which was dedicated in 1924. This site is currently occupied by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Construction on the current edifice at 2815 36th Street NW, near Massachusetts Avenue and a short distance from the Washington National Cathedral, began in 1951. The congregation began worshipping there in 1955 shortly after major construction was completed. Although the building has been in use for over fifty years, the interior decoration is incomplete. Work began on the interior in 1965 and continues to the present.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1904-1955
Category: Religious sites in United States

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

H. Marketing (5 months ago)
Beautiful.
Evangelos Andros (6 months ago)
My church of worship from my youth when the congregation met at a church structure located where what is now a corner of the Washington Convention Center. The wall icon mosaics inside follow the tradition from Byzantium in 9th and 20th centuries.
Ali Taylor (11 months ago)
Great summer picnic fundraiser
Kalapothakos Efstathia (15 months ago)
The church is breathtaking inside. Giving those that appreciate fine Byzantine mosaics a beautiful exhibit of Greek Orthodox icon mosaics in the DC area. If you come for the liturgy you will hear amazing chanting and learn a great deal about the faith. Tours are done during the festival season and for those interested in renting space for events they also have a hall. The church also has education programs including Bible study and Greek Language on site and online.
Krystal Ramirez (5 years ago)
So, I must preface this review by noting that I've never actually been inside of the cathedral. I only visited Saint Sophia for their Greek Festival, which was kind of neat, but rather small. They had a good number of outdoor vendors, and their indoor cafeteria was open as well. I had spanakopita, and it was rather tasty, but slightly too greasy. I also tried several of their pastries, and I wasn't a huge fan of any of them. All in all, I would probably go back for a tour of the cathedral, but probably not for their food.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.