The Cathedral’s pastors and deans number among them a distinguished procession of Orthodox clergymen who have served devoutly from the modest beginnings in 1908 through years of difficulty and years of glory. Serving in the multifarious capacity as leader of the faithful and guardian of our ethnic heritage, the Cathedral Pastor aspired to serve his holy calling in the Lord and minister to his flock in the manifold way of required of him, keeping the keel balanced despite the varying whims of the community's interests of the moment.
Theofan Noli was of course our first pastor and around him gathered some of the leading and most influential leaders of the community. His guidance bridged the years of intense nationalism and awakening through the times of “Americanization” and he is widely considered a prophet of an Orthodox Church in America which would be truly indigenous to our continent. He traversed the period when the need for literature--liturgical and secular--in the Albanian language was needed and he provided it. He saw newer generations raised with English as their mother tongue, and he provided for us also with a treasure-trove of Orthodox Church books widely used by every Orthodox Church around the country.
The Reverend Father Naum Cere, our pastor in the days when Fan Noli was traveling the globe on Albania's behalf, was a noted iconographer in his own right.
The Reverend Damian Angeli was ordained a priest in 1883, one year after Fan Noli’s birth, and served our community during the period when Boston's lofts four flights up served as gathering places for the earliest immigrants.
Some of our pastors served not only us, but also were instrumental in forming the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania. At.Stathi Melani journeyed from Boston to Albania in 1918 and in that year was martyred for attempting to serve the Divine Liturgy in the Albanian language. His martyrdom prompted many heroic, popular ballads during the 1920’s which are still sung to this day; and his children and grandchildren are now part of a newer generation of Orthodox Christians still worshiping at Saint George Cathedral.
The Very Reverend Nikolla Christopher holds the honor of being the very first Albaian immigrant to settle in America in 1886. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren still play an active role in community affairs.
While a priest, Bishop Agathangel Camce served as the right hand to Father Theophan during the formative years. Later, he travelled to Albania and together with Father Vasil Marko attended the Congress of Berat in 1922 which proclaimed the Autocephaly of our Church in the homeland.
Later in 1929, he was consecrated Bishop of Berat in Albania and continued to maintain an active correspondence with Theofan Noli through the 1930’s, and 40’s. He was in fact the primary liaison between Archbishop Kristofor Kissi, Primate of the Church of Albania in the 1930’s and Metropolitan Theofan in the United States.
The Reverend Father Dhosi Katundi served devotedly and in 1935 was called to form our daughter parish of Saint John the Baptist.
Some of our pastors were not ordained by Metropolitan Theofan. While Fan Noli was in Europe for example, our continuing links with the Russian Church sustained the community with the essential elements which only the episcopate may provide. The Very Reverend Vani Chani was ordained by Archbishop Alexander in New York and served faithfully at Saint George Cathedral until his death. His wife, Prifteresha Efsevi Chani was among the founders of the Daughters of Saint George.
The venerable Archimandrite Thimi Theodos is usually associated with our parish of the Assumption in Worcester. However, he was devoted to Metropolitan Theophan and served in the period of transition between our church on Emerald Street and the acquisition of our Cathedral on East Broadway in South Boston. Father Thimi was credited by Fan Noli with the successful introductory drive for funds in this endeavor.
The first first five decades were not easy ones; clergy lived in simple dwellings from day to day on very modest stipends. Often they became, willingly or unwillingly, the subjects of internal controversy or pawns in ethnic political struggles which blighted the community from time to time. But most of all they served steadfastly as servants of God, attempting to teach without condescension, pointing to the Kingdom not of this world.
Visitors to the Cathedral are often struck by the fact that our House of Worship evokes a comforting feeling of warmth as well as majesty. This is in part due to the extraordinary beauty of its icons, murals, and the sculptured quality of the Sanctuary. These elements were carved by craftsmen from within our community. The iconostasis was carved by Usta Dhimitri in 1922, and is considered one of the most evocative altar pieces in the Western Hemisphere. The large icons were painted by the iconographer Nicholas Zengo, and the smaller ones by Thomaidha Kiatos.