Right worship in the Russian orthodox tradition in Washington, D.C.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (4001 17th Street NW) isn't actually on 16th Street proper, but I'm including it in The Churches of 16th Street series because you can glimpse its onion dome from 16th Street as you're headed northbound. By turning onto Shepherd Street NW, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful churches in the city! (Click on images to enlarge.)
Founded in 1949, the congregation met in the Resurrection Chapel at Washington National Cathedral. In 1956, the church acquired a piece of land at 17th and Shepherd Streets NW and, by 1958, had built and dedicated this cathedral. According to the church's website, "The building is executed in the 17th-century Muscovite-Yaroslav-style. Gilded onion domes, each crowned with a traditional Russian three-barred cross, a belfry, and icons of scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist above the three doors adorn the exterior. Murals and numerous centuries-old icons and an imposing four-tiered iconostasis make up the interior." I haven't been inside this church yet, but one of these days, I'm going in. You can see photos of the interior here.
You might be wondering, "Russian Orthodox? Is there really an audience for that in the D.C. area?" Apparently, yes. This congregation has more than 400 members. Over on Embassy Row is the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas. St. John the Baptist belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and is part of a long-standing tradition of church growth outside Russia since 863 A.D./C.E. when two brothers, Cyrus and Methodius set out for Constantinople and began establishing churches in Bulgaria and Serbia.
Interestingly, St. John the Baptist also maintains a section in the city's oldest cemetery, Rock Creek Cemetery, which includes a parish chapel dedicated to the Montreal Iveron Myrrh-Streaming Icon of the Mother of God.
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 2/08