It is a Holy Week now by Russian Orthodox calendar. I decided to show you some Russian Orthodox churches on Alaska.
It was a calm sunny evening. We returned from Tracy Arm and walked around the city. We’ve found a small charming Orthodox church on the steep street close to downtown.
This Church was named for St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, a saint known as the protector of sailors, fishermen and travelers. Although this unique octagonal building was constructed with funds donated from Russia, and the six large panels in the front (called the iconostas or icon screen) were painted in Russia, there were no Russians in Juneau, and this has been an Alaska Native, mostly Tlingit Indian, parish since its founding in 1893.
Sitka was the capital of Russian America, and there were two churches: the Cathedral where Russians, Siberians and Aleuts worshipped, and a Tlingit church near the native village. The city of Juneau did not exist during the Russian era, which ended in 1867. Most of Alaska’s 87 Orthodox churches were founded by Aleuts or Aleut missionaries, but no Aleut or Russian missionaries came to Juneau.
It was the Tlingit Chiefs in the Juneau area who took the initiative, inviting the Orthodox bishop in Sitka to visit, instruct and baptize them about a hundred years ago. After Juneau’s founding as a Gold Rush town, American missionaries introduced Protestant Christianity in the region, but, following government policies of the time, refused to allow the use of Tlingit language in the services or schools, but the Orthodox allowed people to worship in Tlingit and to continue more of their own customs. Bishop Innocent Veniaminov had translated sacred texts into Tlingit 50 years earlier when the Russians were still in Sitka. Since the Indians were still the great majority of the population, they saw no reason to adopt the new, “foreign” language and customs of the newcomers, and asked to be received into the Eastern Orthodox. Church, knowing this religion had been using the Tlingit language for fifty years or longer at Sitka.
Today, Alaska Natives make up the bulk of Russian Orthodox congregations in Alaska, and St. Nicholas still has an active Tlingit parish.
Critiques | Translate
kclai (2267) 2005-04-28 1:37
such a unique church and wonderful color. Angle shot is nice, too. Whereas the unique color of the church makes this photo quite a viewable shot.
jrj (34843) 2005-04-28 5:40
Interesting shot and not least notes in this one Nikolay. Great details and a good compo of the little church here.
danyy (0) 2005-04-28 7:30
L'angle de prise de vue montre un peu le paysage dans lequel cette petite église a été construite.
La note explique bien aussi tout son contexte.
Bien vu et bien écrit.
devimeuxbe (58557) 2005-04-28 17:42
Very nice picture. It's so pleasant that you can post beautifull pictures from your country. Very interesting for us.
singuanti (15250) 2005-04-28 22:47
Hello Nikolay. Wow you sure had a nice light for this shot! The image quality seems very high. The framing is fantastic as I love how small the church feels against the big mountain towering over it. I love the colors too. Keep shooting Nikolay!
ianmcall (1213) 2005-05-04 1:02
I think the almost square frame suits the rather squat building; I might take it a bit further and crop the bottom to eliminate the partial car windshield.
Thanks for the very interesting historical note.
jemaflor (103135) 2005-05-10 7:07
Nice shot, lovely colors. Well framed. Thanks.
Steft (5975) 2005-05-18 7:19
It looks a bit Austrian, Russian or maybe Scandinavian or something. Very lovely church. Nice blue tones and good details. Thanks for sharing.
mumek (20202) 2005-05-21 19:30
The beautiful view of the St.Nicholas Church.Very good colours, and the details. Thanks for very interesting and informative note.
yevhen (0) 2006-01-19 11:13
Wonderful combination of the cross above the mountains. And the blue violet colours are stunning as well.
- Copyright: Nikolay Murenets (Kolyamour) (1760)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2003-07-01
- Categories: Architecture
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Alaska. Russian Orthodox Churches, 100 Churches, 80 Countries [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-04-27 23:59
- Favorites: 1 [view]