Holy Trinity Cathedral – Chicago, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Orthodox church partially financed by Tsar Nicolas II. 


As the name suggests, Ukrainian Village has been home to many Eastern Europeans, and historically this has been reflected in the numerous churches. Many of these Orthodox churches are large and elaborate, such as the enormous St. Hedwig’s at 2226 N. Hoyne.  Yet one of the most historically significant is smaller and deceptively humble in appearance, and thus easy to miss.

Located just south of Division Street, Holy Trinity Cathedral was designed by the famed architect Louis Sullivan in 1901, specifically as a spiritual home for the growing Orthodox Christian community, many of whom were Russian immigrants; indeed, the project was partially financed by Tsar Nicolas II.

Sullivan’s design clearly reflects this theme, in such features as the steepled Byzantine windows and the gold-leaf “onion dome” topped with the traditional Orthodox cross; he was supposedly influenced by a small Siberian village church.  However his design also reflects the nascent American “Arts & Crafts” movement. The cathedral was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and to this day, it projects an eye-catching quiet elegance.  

Docents give regular tours of the property. Tour dates are updated on the church’s website.

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July 25, 2010

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