Today on the feast day of St. Konstantine and Helen at the Annunciation Cathedral in San Francisco the Cross was installed at the top of the new Cathedral by helicopter.
Dear members and friends of the cathedral:
Saturday, May 21st, was a historic day for the Cathedral.
Measuring 9 feet high and weighing 470 pounds, the cross over the new Cathedral dome was hoisted up by helicopter yesterday, at approximately 8:20 a.m. Following a safety meeting at 7 a.m., electricians and other workers assembled atop the dome to prepare to guide the wires through the dome (as the cross will be lit at night) and also to secure the cross to the base. After the installation of the large cross, the smaller cross, measuring 4 feet and weighing about 200 pounds, was installed over the entrance to the new Cathedral, above the narthex. Afterwards, Father Stephen led the congregation into the chapel, where the Divine Liturgy was celebrated on this historic day, which also coincided with the Feast of Sts. Constantine & Helen, “Equal to the Apostles.” The Christian Emperor, Constantine is known for having seen the cross in the midday sky, along with the writing, EN TOUTO NIKA (By this, you will conquer). He had the cross placed on his army’s flags, and overcame his opponents. This ushered in the Edict of Milan, in the year 312. Christianity was recognized, putting to an end the persecution against Christians. Constantine’s mother, Helen, found the Cross upon which our Lord was crucified, when she conducted an archeological tour of the Holy Land and built several churches, as Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, and the place of the Nativity, in Bethlehem. Meanwhile, the Cathedral’s crosses are adaptations of the Theodosian crosses found on the columns and other artifacts of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia which was built in 415. (This was the second Haghia Sophia.) An earlier church, said to have been built by the Emperor Constantine, was destroyed by fire and the later, 6th century church, which still stands, was built by Justinian. May 21, 2016 truly was a historic day, for the Greek Orthodox Community, for San Francisco, for the Bay Area and, indeed, for the world, as the cross signifies both the love of God and hope for the world!
We are very fortunate that Kosta Petrakos, Petrakos Films, created a video of the event. petrakosfilms.com