Hide It Under A Bushel? NO - I'm gonna let it shine

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lazarus Realty

Yesterday morning I decided to do something out of the ordinary, the ordinary being that Sunday mornings I usually attend liturgy at St. Peter the Apostle Orthodox Church here in Fresno Ca.  I packed up my camera and went downtown thinking to shoot the city hall (and did just that) and then went a block or so east over to one Fresno's landmark churches: St Johns Cathedral.  The church is listed in Fresno's Historical Registry
and is over 100 years old.


St John's Cathedral - Fresno CA

I arrived during one of the later morning services and it could tell immediately that the church was well attended because the nearest parking spot was two blocks away on the corner of Mariposa and T street.  I grabbed my camera, and not wanting to carry my bag, just took a wide-angle lens.  There was a rather large crowd gathered on the church steps and it didnt take me long to figure out that the service was packed and it was "standing room only" all the way out through the narthex and onto the steps.

I really wanted to see the crowd inside so I proceeded to tap folks on the shoulder and ask permission to move forward and did so until I got into the center of the narthex.  Then I set my camera and carefully placed it on top of my head and took this shot. 

St Johns

The people in the narthex and on the steps were fully participating in the service: reciting the creed, antiphonal responses, etc. No one seemed disturbed by the fact that they were having to stand or were outside.  I didn't hear a single complaint from the crowd. Well, I wasn't entirely pleased with the shots I was getting off the top of my head so I tapped some more shoulders and weaseled my way forward until I got inside.  The people were actually very gracious.  They saw that I had a camera and were happy to let me through (I think).  So finally I made to the back of the church.

Mass at St Johns.

You cant see them in these pictures but up in the front on the right side there was a band.  Once the band starts playing and the people get to singing, its get pretty lively!  We all know that many churches attract large numbers of people and hence have to have multiple services on Sunday mornings, but at St. John's Cathedral they have SIX consecutive services on Sunday with the first service starting at 7:00 a.m and the last one starting at 1:15 p.m.!  I don't really know a lot about Fresno church life, other than my own, but my guess is that there arent many churches out there with that kind of schedule.

From what I could tell the majority of the attendees were Hispanic. I love the Hispanic people and find them unpretentious and easy to be around.  Fresno's population is 40% Hispanic and for the most part they are hard working, family oriented, God-fearing people.  For years the Hispanic population has been the backbone of the Central Valley's agricultural life.  The wealth of many in Fresno has been built by the sweat of Hispanic workers.  If it wasn't for their willingness to harvest the abundance of the fruits of our fields, they would likely rot rot before others could be found to do the job.

When the service ended the parishioner departed and to my surprise -- ANOTHER group of people began to enter the church.

Mass ending


While this second group of people began filling the church I went in and was able to get this shot from the west side of the sanctuary:

inside the sanctuary

I was amazed how fast the church began to fill and I wanted to get some more shots only I was tired of the wide angle lens so I walked 2 blocks back to my vehicle to switch lenses.  I put on the 18-200 vr - wished later that I put on the 85 1.4 instead -  and headed back to the church.  By the time I got there the church was full and when I say full I mean it was standing room only AGAIN!  The the priest was entering so I asked him  for a blessing to take pictures in the church, which he gave me, and that's when I lamented my choice of lenses. Anyway, here is a shot of the priest who gave me the blessing

Priest at St Johns

Inside St Johns

Well, by now I was getting tired and had to leave.  The priest began preaching and he had a thundering loud voice.  I just dont recall anything like it from the former service.  I mean this priest was PREACHING!  I was amazed.  I could STILL HEAR HIM when I got to my vehicle a FULL TWO BLOCKS AWAY!

Crucifix - St John's Cathedral - Fresno CA



© Randy "Lazarus" McAtee
Owner/Broker  Lazarus Realty






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Debbie Creech
ERA Team IV Homes - Poughkeepsie, NY


Wonderful photos!  The Cathedral is beautiful.  Thank you for sharing you wonderful photos.

Jan 21, 2008 05:33 AM #1
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC
Randy - that is a gorgeous church!  And the attendance!?!  That's incredible.  Thanks for sharing.  It's always refreshing to see how other areas live.
Jan 21, 2008 05:42 AM #2
Leslie Bloss, Bellevue Real Estate Professional
Bellevue, WA

Hi Randy,

Very nice post.  Isn't it great to see that churches are starting to fill up again!  After I was divorced I did an exploration of different churches to see where the best fit would be.  One day, I took my daughter to a Catholic church that had a service with gospel music.  She said to me "are we supposed to be here?"

Jan 21, 2008 05:45 AM #3
Randy "Lazarus" McAtee
Lazarus Realty - Fresno, CA
Owner/Broker, Lazarus Realty, Fresno California
Thanks for the comments - and Leslie- I will assume you said "yes".
Jan 21, 2008 05:55 AM #4
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production
This is almost..."reality photograpy" at its best.  Nice words and nice photos.  Great inspiration.
Jan 21, 2008 05:56 AM #5
Randy "Lazarus" McAtee
Lazarus Realty - Fresno, CA
Owner/Broker, Lazarus Realty, Fresno California
Larry - really appreciate the comment, because taking the pictures, processing them, posting them to the internet, and then writing the  blog actually ends up consuming hours of time, which God only knows, might be better spent on other matters, except that I so fully enjoy what I'm doing!
Jan 21, 2008 06:08 AM #6
Tammy Carpenter
Home Team Realty, llc - Del City, OK

The pictures are wonderful.  It is a beautiful church, when I was a kid my Dad brought pictures of a church home, I think they were in Venice (I'm not sure), this is the first time I've ever seen pictures that compared.

Tammy Carpenter   www.OklahomaHomesInfo.com


Jan 21, 2008 06:13 AM #7
Randy "Lazarus" McAtee
Lazarus Realty - Fresno, CA
Owner/Broker, Lazarus Realty, Fresno California

Tammy - I would think that there are some beautiful Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches in your area.  Here is a pic of one in Harrah.  Take a look around - you may be surprised at what you discover.



Jan 21, 2008 07:56 AM #8
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC
Randy,  Beautiful pictures thank you for sharing them.
Jan 22, 2008 08:11 AM #9
Margaret Hokkanen
SurfTheTurf.com, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
→ Carlsbad Real Estate
Man, those interior shots are great!  Very nice.  Possible suggestion....Having worked with the pole cameras, that outdoor picture would look really cool at about 20 ft up, especially the people filing in.  If you know someone who has a polecam, you might give it a try.  Also, you'd probably get a little less of the perspective thing on the tall spires. 
Jan 22, 2008 11:04 AM #10
Randy "Lazarus" McAtee
Lazarus Realty - Fresno, CA
Owner/Broker, Lazarus Realty, Fresno California
Margaret, the pole idea sounds great but I have never used one and dont know anybody that has one.  Sounds to me like if the camera is up on a pole taking the pic would be little tricky.
Jan 22, 2008 12:53 PM #11
Lowell Schroeder
Maloof Realty - Morton, IL
Maloof Agent

I agree with Margaret's comment about a pole camera.  I have tried pole shots, but try as I might I just can't reach high enough to trip the shutter. Then there was the time I tried to climb the pole....... I still walk with a little limp!

Lowell Schroeder, Broker, Jim Maloof Realty

Cold and snowy Morton, IL   

Jan 22, 2008 03:37 PM #12
Jeff Rivera
My name is Jeff Rivera. I am an author and motivational speaker. I've also created a an online spiritual community website called, www.PrayerCircleOnline.com.

I'd like to submit a great article which could easily be turned into a syndicated column for your site.  The article is called, "What are you telling the Universe?" Can you tell me what email address I should send it to?

Warm Regards,
Jeff Rivera
Apr 22, 2008 08:15 AM #13
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Randy "Lazarus" McAtee

Owner/Broker, Lazarus Realty, Fresno California
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