The idea of establishing an Orthodox Church in the Santa Rosa area began to take shape in the early 1930’s as increasing numbers of Russians were moving north from San Francisco into the small town and rural life of Sonoma County. There were also Orthodox of other nationalities, notably Greeks and Serbs who were part of this movement. These Russians, who came to make up the bulk of the parish, were mostly persons displaced by the Communist Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent turmoil of Russian life.
The movement to build a church was fueled by a group of about twenty families. Under the leadership of Fr. Michael Pelzig, who arrived in Santa Rosa in 1936, the movement to get parish life underway gained momentum. Monies had been collected for the purpose of building a church as early as October 1934. But it was in February 1936, on land donated for the purpose that building began. The temple was rough finished by April 1936.
In 1950 the first church hall was built, which in 1968 was replaced by a second and a third again in 2011. The Rectory was built in 1954. By the early 1990’s the parish had grown enough to necessitate the building of a new church to accommodate the larger congregation. The construction of the new church of St. Seraphim of Sarov was completed in 1996. The magnificent new temple is adorned with numerous icons and fresco paintings.
The parish today is a microcosm of Orthodoxy in America, with her members coming from many different ethnic traditions: Greek, Arabic, Romanian, Serbian, Macedonian, Eritrean, and Americans from all walks of life. The parish has also been blessed with many converts, who find in the one Holy Apostolic Church the fullness and purity of the Christian faith.