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Preservation of American Hellenic History

85th Anniversary Gala of the Cathedral's Founding
San Francisco , California

A (black-tie optional) anniversary celebration, to which the Bay Area Greek community is invited, will take place in the Rotunda of San Francisco's City Hall on Sunday, November 12, 2006.

Program with Distinguished Guests

The festivities will begin with a reception in the South Light Court at 6 p.m., with live Greek music. A gala dinner will follow in the magnificently refurbished rotunda, where guests will dine to the music of Starlight Strings. The brief program will feature local television and entertainment personalities and will include a special presentation to Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is the official host for the evening, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and Archbishop Demetrios of America, who is our special guest of honor.

While in San Francisco, Archbishop Demetrios will deliver the Paul Manolis Distinguished Lectures at the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (PAOI) (Thursday, November 9 and Friday, November 10) and will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Annunciation Cathedral,Sunday morning, November 12.

Historical Insights

The significance of the anniversary is that, in 1921, under the presidency of His Eminence Meletios Metaxakis (the former Archbishop of Greece, who shortly thereafter became Ecumenical Patriarch), the Cathedral was established, with the added premise that San Francisco be designated as the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church for the Western States. This decision was fortuitous, both for the City of San Francisco and for the Greek-American community, which gave the City two Mayors — Mayor George Christopher and Mayor Art Agnos — as well as a number of distinguished politicians and civic leaders. In acknowledgement of this, Mayor Gavin Newsom, granted the use of City Hall for this purpose, through the efforts of Commissioner Victor Makras.

As a matter of historical interest, Meletios Metaxakis presided over the first nineteen meetings of the Administrative or Governing Council of the then nascent Cahedral, oversaw the building of a temporary church and school at Hayes and Pierce Streets, consecrated the church, composed its charter and regulations, and named it "the Greek Orthodox Church, St. Sophia, in San Francisco". In 1936, the Cathedral reincorporated, as the "United Greek Orthodox Community of San Francisco, The Annunciation".

Metaxakis also signed the minutes of each of the first nineteen meetings, as did His Eminence Metropolitan Germanos Polyzoides, another pioneer in the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The minutes discuss not only the founding of the Cathedral and the Diocese of San Francisco, but also refer to the establishment of the Archdiocese (which was incorporated the following year, in 1922) and Metaxakis' vision for the role of the Archbishop, particularly in the procurement and disposition of parish property. A facsimile edition of these historic early minutes, together with an English translation, set in letterpress by Nektarios (Norman L.) McKnight, will be presented to Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Gerasimos, and Mayor Newsom. A fourth copy will reside in the archives of the Cathedral.


For further information and for reservations, please call the Cathedral at (415) 864-8000.


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