History of Our Lady of Kazan

Russian Patriarchal Orthodox Church


Construction of the present church building of Our Lady of Kazan began in 1939 and was completed several years later. This church was the first Russian Orthodox Church founded in San Diego County.  It was founded by Russian immigrants, many who were the Russian wives of American sailors.  These ladies had resided in China (Harbin), met and married the American sailors who were then assigned to service in San Diego.  They wished to worship and celebrate their faith in their own language and tradition.  Some of the founding families were:  Sema Cotten and her daughter Nellie (married name, Nellie Young), Mrs. Vera Graff, Mrs. Olga Snyder, Mrs. Olga Masalski, Mr. and Mrs. Tuesky (sic), the opera singer who lived in Julian, Mrs. Tania Hiland, and Mrs. Mary Saylor.  The American husbands of these women helped to build the church, especially Ray Saylor.

Our Lady of Kazan circa 1980

The Clergy: The first priest was Fr. Kutlerroff, followed by Fr. And Matushka Kochetoff. They lived on 33rd Place, between El Cajon Boulevard and Meade Avenue. The first rector was Very Reverend Hegumen Macarius (Kravchenko, b. 11/3/1868, d. 6/10/1965), followed by Priest Ambrose, Priest Andre Urosov and then by Archpriest Ramon Merlos, from 1975 to present.


The parish when Fr. Ramon Merlos arrived in 1975


The church is a single small building (approximately 2,000 square feet), which includes the Sanctuary, Temple, and the hall and kitchen, which lie to the northern side of the temple and are attached. There was originally a small rectory, which had to be sold to pay for the construction of the hall.  The contractor stole the money paid to him in advance and the parish had no option but to sell the rectory in order to pay for the unfinished hall construction.  No rectory currently exists.



Our Lady of Kazan Church today