Sunday, October 18, 2015

                                                                                                               October 18, 2015

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

St. Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church
Juneau, Alaska

Inside Passage Cruise
Skagway, Juneau, Ketchican (north to south)
(Link 2.)

"The Inside Passage is a coastal route for oceangoing vessels along a network of passages which weave through the islands on the Pacific coast of North America. The route extends from southeastern Alaska, in the United States, through westernBritish Columbia, in Canada, to northwestern Washington state, in the United States. Ships using the route can avoid some of the bad weather in the open ocean and may visit some of the many isolated communities along the route. The Inside Passage is heavily travelled by cruise ships, freighters, tugs with tows, fishing craft and ships of the Alaska Marine Highway,BC Ferries, and Washington State Ferries systems.
The term "Inside Passage" is also often used to refer to the ocean and islands around the passage itself. The Inside Passage is also sometimes referred to as the "Inland Passage" which is in turn a reference to early explorers' quests to locate the Northwest Passage between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean." (Link 2.)
"The City and Borough of Juneau  is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, and it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was then the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900. The municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality,[2] which is larger by area than both Rhode Islandand Delaware.
"In 2014, the population estimate from the United States Census Bureau was 32,406, making it the second most populous city in Alaska after Anchorage. Juneau's daily population can increase by roughly 6,000 people from visiting cruise ships between the months of May and September.
"The city is named after gold prospector Joe Juneau...
"Juneau is rather unusual among U.S. capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America...
(Link 3.)

School, Church, Rectory before 1917
St Nicholas, May 1945
St. Nicolas, 1945
(Link 1.)

The Dome, Dec 2010
                                                                                  The Dome, Dec 2010
                                                                        (Link 1.)
Juneau was the first stop of the Sept. 14-21st cruise ship Norwegian Sun.  And it is  here that sits the  "oldest, continual use Orthodox structure in Southeast Alaska" (Link 1.)  St. Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church.

"Although there were no Russians in Juneau at that time and Alaska had been under United States control since 1867, the Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas was established there in 1894... it was the native Tlingit people who were the catalyst for the establishment of our church, " (Link 1.) (because services were in their own language.)
"After word reached Moscow that the work in Juneau had been established, the (Orthodox Missionary) Society sent architectural drawings and two thousand silver rubles to build and equip the church.  Another significant donation of 400 dollars came from Rev. Ivan Il’ich Sergiyev, known better to us as St. John of Kronstadt. The Iconostasis was constructed and provided by Ivan A. Zheverzheev’s Factory and Store of Church Utensils....In October 1893, a fundraising event was sponsored by a local Juneau physician. A total of $400 was raised at a "fancy dress ball" at the Court House where participants sought to win prizes, dance to an orchestra, and eat ice cream.
"Also included in the shipment were articles of interior church furnishings - candle stands, chalice set, censer, banners, a full icon screen and festal icons. Many of these items can still be seen (and some are still in use) at the church today." (Link 1.)
Interior Church Furnishings from Russia

Original Candelabra from Russia
"This building was constructed in 1893-1894 in Juneau with local timber, local labor, and under the supervision of Ellingen and Rudolph, a local contractor....(It was the last of the Orthodox churches made in this shape.-REF.) The (seven bay) iconostasis (icon screen) is the only part of this building that was made in Russia and assembled here.

St. Nicolas
Center Painting on Iconoctasis

Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary
Painting to Left of Center on Iconostasis

St. Methodios
Far Right Painting on Iconostasis

"At the time of the consecration, there was no dome or belfry in place on the building. The characteristic "onion" dome was constructed and placed in 1895. The bell and belfry were constructed and placed in 1905 or 1906.  Inscriptions on the bell indicate that it was cast (or at least sponsored) in St. Petersburg, Russia." (Link 1.)

Painting Above Sanctuary Entrance From Narthex
(Painted by local artist Charles Rohrbacker)
The octagonal shaped church consists basically of two rooms, the sanctuary and the narthex.  The congregation stands in the sanctuary during Sunday worship services.

On the walls of the sanctuary are groupings of liturgical paintings, many of which are enhanced gold leaf backgrounds or details.

Liturgical Painting Groupings On Side Walls of Sanctuary

In the narthex is a glass case of objects used in church services. Plaques describing the churches history line the walls.

19th Century Wedding Crowns
(In Case In Narthex)

A $120,000 restoration project was completed in 1979.  And in recent years parts of the church have again been restored.  "In 1990 the parishioners repainted the church inside and out..." "A $5000 grant...(paid for a) dome restoration in 1992." "The belfry was removed in... 2007, stored on the lawn, restored as part of the narthex restoration,  and replaced... (in) 2012." The roof of the old rectory was replaced in 2013.  Foundation work was done on the church in 2014. (REF.)

In 1974 St. Nicolas Orthodox Church in Juneau, Alaska was elected to the National Register of Historic Places. (REF.)

Thank you: To Patrick and Julia for guiding me around the church and gift
                 shop-in the original rectory next to the church.
Reference : The First Hundred Years 1984-1994 page 12, available at the
                 church gift shop.
Photos: Taken in Sept. 2015 by SW.
Link 1:
Link 2:
Link 3:,_Alaska
Link 4:

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