I Took My Heart … to San Francisco

The wife and I touched down in the City by the Bay at lunchtime on Saturday, November 20th.

It was a long shot — but, as it was only a week away from our 23rd wedding anniversary [today], I’d asked our host to forgo the speaking stipend in lieu of extra plane fare and a hotel room.

We landed here.

The Hotel Griffon (highly recommended).

The view of the Bay Bridge from our hotel room!

After an anniversary lunch at Scoma’s, we ventured out in torrential rain on Saturday evening for Vespers at the Cathedral of Our Lady the Joy of All Who Sorrow (ROCOR).

The following morning we went to Liturgy for the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos in the Temple at Holy Trinity Cathedral (OCA).

Where friend, former co-worker and parishioner, Huw Raphael sings in the choir (hair on bottom, less on top).

That evening, November 21st, we attended Vespers at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church — where the mosaics are phenomenal (not to mention the ha-uge peacock doors!).

The recently installed icon of Christ the Pantocrator, the largest dome mosaic in the Western Hemisphere, reigns.

I was blessed to speak a the first ever Gala for St John’s Academy.

The highlight, for me, was the performance by the St John of San Francisco Men’s Chorale.

The following day, “Matushka” and I ventured with Hieromonk Irenei (Steenberg) to the apartment of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco and the Chapel of St Tikhon of Zadonsk.

The chapel where St John held daily services.

Vestments of St Tikhon of Zadonsk.

St John’s desk, much as he left it (save, of course, the photo of him typing at his desk).

We had a red-eye flight, after midnight on Tuesday; so after touring the holy sites, it was time to be tourists.

Yet, it was just another work day for the Humming Bird by the Bridge (can you find her?).

These Russian gals were “facebooking” a pic with a sample of the Golden Bridge’s cable.

What’s that you say? We look young for 23 years of marriage?
Awww. You’re sweet.

“Cut the nonsense, Huneycutt!” (Alcatraz in the background.)

So we headed toward Sonoma / Napa area.

My son said that these mountains don’t look real; “they look like studio cut-outs.” I didn’t venture to tell: there’s a lot about California that seems unreal. There’s even a big ol’ “unreal” story about my relationship with St John. But that’ll have to wait. For now …

An appropriate finale: the portrait/icon of St John in his apartment.

St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, pray to God for us!

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