Russian Orthodox Church Palo Alto

russian orthodox church palo alto

Amid the high-tech whirlwind of Silicon Valley, a small Russian Orthodox church has emerged to become a focal point for a community of immigrants. Its distinctive architecture and ancient worship rituals form a touchstone for its members.

The Protection of the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church on Ross Road serves mainly recent immigrants. Its services are held in a language known as “church Slavonic,” which is familiar in East European countries but not spoken in daily conversation.


The russian orthodox church palo alto is one of only a few Orthodox churches in the United States where Russian services are still held. Immigrants from East Europe, some of them non-ethnic Russians, flock to the tiny chapel on Crane Street to worship in “church Slavonic,” an ancient tongue familiar in places of worship throughout the region though not commonly used in everyday conversation.

During the 1970s and 1980s, as the Soviet Union crumbled and Silicon Valley became a magnet for new immigrants, this church saw a dramatic rise in membership. In 1977 the parish council began serious discussions about building a new church structure.

The original chapel was too small to accommodate the congregation. The community raised funds for construction, and a new church was erected in 1980. It is now one of the most beautiful and historic churches in the city.


The russian orthodox church palo alto serves many different ethnic groups and is a great place to experience traditional Russian Orthodox worship. It is located on Ross Road and has a large congregation, drawing both Russian immigrants and other people from the surrounding areas.

The church consists of four separate buildings and serves the entire community. It offers Sunday school, SOYO and a youth group.

During the Christmas season, the church offers an all-night vigil on the eve of Christmas, followed by the Divine Liturgy in which the relics of St. John of Shanghai, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, and a church icon of the Ascension of Christ are prayed over.

In addition to the all-night vigil, the church holds regular services on Saturdays and Sundays. During the service, the congregation chants and sings in church Slavonic. They also perform a traditional processional around the church. These rituals are a way of celebrating and sharing the faith with others.


In the 19th and 20th centuries, many Orthodox Christians came to the United States with a love of the Church that was deeply rooted in their heritage. They were part of a great wave of immigration from Greece, Russia and the Balkans that brought with them the ancient faith of the Orthodox Church.

In many ways, they were the first Christian communities to come to this country. Like the Apostles, they carried with them the rich spiritual treasures of their native lands and cultures.

Today, most Orthodox in the United States trace their ancestry to Europe and Asia. While these lands are the source of much of Orthodox Christianity, the Church does not limit herself to these traditions and accepts all who seek the truth.

The Russian orthodox church palo alto is proud to offer the opportunity for its members and the wider community to experience a variety of music that represents this rich tradition. Our musicians and singers share a deep commitment to sharing the beautiful music of the Orthodox Church with the world.


The Russian Orthodox Church of Palo Alto offers outreach programs that are designed to help people discover their spiritual roots. These programs include Russian lessons, adult education classes in English and Russian and Sunday school.

The church also hosts an annual International Food Festival. The event is a popular fundraiser for the church, which was originally built as an Episcopal chapel and moved to Palo Alto in 1957.

One of the highlights of the festival is a procession. The parishioners carry icons and banners through the crowd as they pass the church, and they also hold a luncheon afterward.

Another popular event is the Balkan Night, which features jazz, dancing and authentic Balkan grilled meats. The event is held at the church on Sept. 28.

The priest of the church, Father Holste, has organized adult education classes in English and Russian and has a Russian-speaking youth group. He has drawn a young congregation to the church. The congregation consists mostly of Russian-speaking residents, many of whom came to Palo Alto after the Soviet Union collapsed and found work in the computer industry.

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