‘Irreplaceable’ Alaskan Orthodox Church to Undergo $400,000 Restoration

WASHINGTON, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian Orthodox church considered among the most important in Alaska will undergo a $400,000 restoration starting next month, the Peninsula Clarion newspaper reported this week.

The Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church, located in the town of Kenai, is 118 years old and is regarded as “as among the top and most lasting icons of Russian Alaska in Alaska today” according to the Clarion.

Among other historical artifacts, the church contains a 17th century copy of the 400-year-old icon “Our Lady of Kazan,” the original of which disappeared in Russia in 1904. The icon is the oldest piece of non-Native art in Alaska.

A spokesman for Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska (ROSSIA), the organization that spearheaded a $400,000 fundraising effort for the restoration, told the Clarion Tuesday that Holy Assumption was the first of many churches on ROSSIA’s restoration list.

The church is one of 49 Alaska locations designated as a National Historic Landmark, of which 35 are Russian Orthodox Churches.