Subscribe: Posts | Comments

The oldest church in continuous operation in any diocese is considered the “Mother Church.” In the Diocese of Oregon, Trinity Cathedral in Portland resoundingly meets that qualification. It was organized on May 18, 1851 by the Rev. St. Micharl Fackler and the Rev. Henry Richmond and was the first Episcopal parish to be established in the geographic area that now comprises the Dioceses of Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Olympia, Spokane, and Idaho.

On August 2, 1853, the First Convocation of Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church in the Oregon and Washington Territories was held at Oregon City. The House of Bishops created the vast Missionary District of the Oregon and Washington Territories and elected Thomas Fielding Scott as first Missionary Bishop. On January 8, 1854, Bishop Scott was consecrated at Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia. He arrived in Portland on April 22, 1854. His episcopate covered what is today Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana. Because the English Church had no Bishop in British Columbia, he also assisted there. His clergy consisted of Father Fackler at Oregon City; Father McCarty, an Army Chaplain, at Vancouver Barracks; and Father Cridge, the Hudson Bay Company Chaplain, at Victoria, Vancouver Island. 

Trinity Church 1872

The Second Convocation was held at Trinity, Portland, on June 17, 1854. The Bishop’s first consecration of a church was Trinity Church, Portland, September 24, 1854. It was replaced with a much larger facility in 1873, which was eventually destroyed by fire in 1902. The third and current Trinity Church, Portland, was consecrated on October 14, 1906. However, in all this time, although being the largest parish in the diocese, Trinity was always a parish church. 

Trinity Church today

St. Stephen’s, Portland, even though a much smaller parish, was the cathedral and remained so for 120 years, until 1973. Then, from 1973 to 1993, St. John the Divine, Portland, served as the diocese cathedral. St. John’s is located at what is now the Oregon Episcopal School. The “politics” of this transition was long and involved. Not until November 19, 1993, was Trinity Church finally recognized and consecrated as Trinity Cathedral.

Thanks to Diocese of Oregon Historian Richard Van Orman and the Diocesan website

Comments are closed.