Parish History in Photographs

Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Manhattan was founded in 1924, the same year the Russian Metropolia in North America proclaimed its canonical independence at the Council in Detroit.

Both events constituted the response of the Orthodox faithful in America to the violent advances of the so-called "Living Church" in Russia, which was inspired and backed by the Bolshevik Regime. The "Living Church" claimed, rather successfully, the properties of the American Metropolia. Thus in New York City, by a court trial, the "Living Church" gained St. Nicholas' church, the pontifical cathedral of the Metropolia. It is to replace this loss that a group of Russian immigrants led by Metropolitan Platon, the head of the American Metropolia, founded the parish of Christ the Savior. From 1924 to 1970, the church was located in Harlem, where, in the 1930s-40s, it became the biggest Russian church in the city, providing various community services and activities and even lending space for the classes of St. Vladimir Theological Seminary founded in NYC in 1938. In 1948, Metropolitan Theophilus and the Synod of bishops elevated Christ the Savior Church to the status of cathedral.


In 1970, Christ the Savior Church moved to its current location in the Upper East Side. Under Fr. John Meyendorff, the rector in 1977-1984, the English-speaking mission developed in the parish. The Russian congregation also began to grow and rejuvenate with the influx of new immigrants from the Soviet Union. Since 1978 it has been ministered by one of them, Fr. Michael Aksionov Meerson, a graduate from St. Vladimir Seminary. In 1984, when Fr. Meyendorff was elected the dean of St. Vladimir Seminary, Fr. Michael was appointed the rector of the parish. Today the church celebrates liturgy in Slavonic and English; its activities include Bible Study classes in Russian and English, Sunday school, field trips, children shows, free voice lessons and classes conducted by the choir director, etc.