Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (New York, New York)

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The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord is a cathedral church of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America. The cathedral is located in Brooklyn at 228 N. 12th Street in New York, New York. The cathedral is the only example of Byzantine Revival architecture in New York and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


The parish of the Transfiguration Cathedral had its beginning in the 1880s when a group of immigrants from Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, wanted to build a church in which they could practice their Orthodox Christian faith. Initially, they began holding liturgical service in a private home in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York.

After raising sufficient funds the group purchased in 1908 a vacant wooden Methodist church that they remodeled for Orthodox services. The church was dedicated to St. Vladimir. The first services in the new church were Vespers on April 5 and Divine Liturgy on April 6, 1908, both celebrated by Archpriest, now Saint, Alexander Hotovitzky from St. Nicholas Cathedral. The first rector was Fr. Theophan Buketoff from Montreal, Canada.

The parish grew quickly and was soon inadequate to hold the congregation. A set of five building lots were found and purchased between Williamsburg and Greenpoint for the new, larger church. An architect, Louis Allmendiger, won the commission to design the new church based on the design of the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. The construction contract was awarded to the The Schneider Company. Work began in 1916.

Delays caused by material and funding shortages slowed the pace of construction of the new church. The old church was sold to raise funds and services were held in the partially complete new construction. Additional costs came from an expansion of the design, adding two more apses for addition altars. Of the three altars, the north one was dedicated to St. Vladimir, the central altar to the Transfiguration of Our Lord, and the south altar to the Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary.

Construction was completed and the new church was consecrated by Metropolitan Platon on September 3, 1922. The Holy Icon of the Mother of God of Pochaev was given to the parish by Patriarch, now Saint, Tikhon and hangs over the Royal Doors.

The Depression of 1929, placed the parish in difficult fiscal position as funds became insufficient to pay off the many loans made to pay for the construction, raising fears of loosing the church. With the arrival of Fr. Constantine Buketoff from Bayonne, New Jersey in February 1932 the payments on the loans were steadily made through the efforts of the parishioners' "nickels and dimes" contributions, finally making the parish debt free. In October 1950, Metr. Leonty ceremonially "burned the mortgage".

Also, in 1932, Transfiguration Church was designated a cathedral by the Holy Synod of the Russian Metropolia.

On November 19, 1969, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord a landmark of New York City. In recognition of its historical and architectural significance, the Cathedral was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior, April 16, 1980.

In 2003, the cathedral parish began the first of a series of renovation and restoration projects on the cathedral structure that will continue as funds become available.

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