Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist: Sanctuary

Interior of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Russian Orthodox

Several weeks ago, I posted photos of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Russian Orthodox. I wondered what it looked like inside, so I went to the church's website, located a contact name, and emailed a request. Much to my delight, I received a response from a lovely cleric named Fr. Leonid Mickle. He offered to give me a personal tour and so off I went about a week ago to see the inside of this church.

Main panels at the front of the sanctuary featuring the apostles,
the Holy Mother, and Jesus Christ

Following are pictures of the interior of this beautiful orthodox cathedral. Fr. Mickle was most gracious and informative, educating me about the meaning of colors in iconography, providing a lesson in Russian religious history, showing me a glimpse of the inner sanctum of the sanctuary--called The Holy of Holies--where the high altar resides, and imparting anecdotes regarding the church's many relics and miracles. It was a wonderful, well-spent few hours and I learned a great deal.

Detail of the door to the high altar concealing The Holy of Holies

My personal thanks to Fr. Mickle and Fr. Potapov for their time and graciousness in allowing me to partake of the beauty of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Please note, these pictures don't do justice to the color and vibrancy of this sanctuary, but click on the images to enlarge and see some of the stunning detail.

The choir loft of the sanctuary

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 5/08


The Artful Eye said...

I've visited many churches in my life some quite magnificent like St. John the Divine and St. Patrick's Cathedral in N.Y. and many throughout Italy, Greece, France but from what I can see this one is possibly one of the most beautiful church interiors I've seen and I'm not even seeing it first hand. Wow..what a gift meeting Fr. Mickle. Thank-you for sharing.

b.c. said...

these are beautiful interiors, really nice series of photos, it's awesome how you got such a great tour of the church

D.C. Confidential said...

Andrea: I've seen some pretty spectacular churches, too, but this one is by far the most beautiful I've ever seen. I think I like the simplicity of it all. Simple colors, straightforward iconography, very little pretense. I really enjoyed this. The next time you visit your sister, you'll have to make a stop at this wonderful little sanctuary.

B.C. I loved this tour! Fr. Mickle warned me that he's a talker, but the time flew. In fact, I remember looking at my clock when I got in the car and exclaiming, "Holy Shrines, Batman! Three hours! Wow!" It was the best time I've spent in a long time.

USelaine said...

What a wonderful experience to share! The art found in places of worship seems to represent the very best that a culture can offer. Thank you for posting all of these.

D.C. Confidential said...

USElaine: I agree! And my pleasure.

Jennifer said...

Hi D.C. Confidential! Thank you again for writing about our church. It is a D.C. treasure. We just wanted to remind you that St. John the Baptist's Annual Russian Bazaar is coming up again, October 3 & 4, 2009. We've recently updated our Web site: This year we're also on Facebook, Twitter ( and Flickr. Stop by and check it out. We're looking forward to seeing you there.

Janet Kincaid said...

Hi Jennifer:

Thanks for the information! Wish I was going to be there for this year's bazaar. (I'm working in Switzerland this year.) I'll let a few friends know, though, and hopefully they'll take advantage of the opportunity to see this beautiful church.

All the best,

D.C. Confidential