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Starting in 1918 wave after wave of refugees from Russia started arriving in North America, escaping from the Bolsheviks. By 1924 over 100 families reached the Canadian city of Vancouver. The arrival of archimandrite Fr. Antonin Pokrovsky was a great blessing; on 14 September 1924 he served the first Divine Liturgy in the history of Vancouver and of British Columbia. After the service the people who prayed held a meeting and decided to create an Orthodox parish and dedicate the temple to the feast of the Renovation of the Church of our Lord’s Resurrection in Jerusalem.

Many local Greeks attended the church. On 15 November 1925 the Greek-Russian Orthodox Brotherhood was founded for the purpose of “establishing Orthodox churches, spiritual enlightenment and general assistance to all people of the Orthodox Christian Faith”. The first archpastoral visit was paid by bishop Theophil of Chicago on 7-11 November 1925. In 1926-1928 the Pontifical Divine Liturgy was served several more times by bishop Theophil and by bishop Arseny (Chahovtsev) of Winnipeg and Canada. Thus the new parish received the Divine grace through the original Russian Orthodox mission established in Alaska in the late 18th century, from which Orthodoxy spread throughout the North American continent. The early enlighteners of America include St. Innocent, metropolitan of Moscow; St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia; St. Herman of Alaska and other holy missionaries.

Our Sobor is a parish in the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) which used to be an organic part of the Russian Orthodox Church – its American Metropolia. In 1970 the Russian Orthodox Church granted autocephaly to the Metropolia. The OCA is governed by its Holy Synod and is headed by its primate – Metropolitan JONAH (since 2008) who resides in New York.

The Archdiocese of Canada is ruled by His Eminence SERAPHIM, Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada. The Archdiocesan Centre and the Archbishop’s residence are in Spencerville, Ontario.

During the Great Depression the parish hadn’t yet paid off the mortgage for the land and for the church building. More and more parishioners became jobless. In order to save the church, on 1 July 1935 the Russian Orthodox Society of Vancouver was formed. The Society became the owner and trustee of the church and the organizer of the parish life.

Alongside the Society’s positive role, there emerged and stayed over many decades tensions between the Society’s Council and a number of rectors. The Society was legally a commercial entity. It started making decisions on many issues with no regard for Orthodox spirituality and tolerance.

After several years of serious work with the parishioners, rector Fr. Michael Fourik succeeded in 2004 in disbanding the Society and obtaining for the parish the status of a religious organization. Bishop SERAPHIM provided great help, spiritual and legal support in that period.

God’s grace and mutual understanding have reigned in the parish ever since. Every year more and more children are born, more families arrive.

Praise be to you, Lord, for all!