Wind, weather, and time are slowly eroding many of Alaska’s most distinctive landmarks – Russian Orthodox Churches. These churches, from Juneau to St. Paul Island and from Karluk to Eklutna, date from the 19th century and hope for their rehabilitation comes from ROSSIA, Incorporated – Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska.
ROSSIA Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to the preservation of Alaska’s Russian Orthodox Churches and iconography. Started in 2002 by preservation-minded Native corporation leaders, Orthodox clergy, government officials, architects, and historians, ROSSIA has helped initiate several restoration projects over the last twelve years. Our mission is to preserve Alaska’s historic Russian Orthodox churches and the historic articles and furnishings therein.
Our Top Priority: Fire Suppression for Kenai’s Holy Assumption Orthodox Church
ROSSIA was the grateful recipient of a 2013 Rasmuson Tier 2 grant and a State of Alaska capital grant in that same year. With grant funds we were able to complete many projects in both Juneau and Kenai, which were on our list of highest priorities.
In Kenai, we used grant funds to build a mechanical outbuilding, blessed by the Bishop and named St. Juvenaly. This important structure is on-site with the Church, and it houses a restroom, gift shop, and mechanical support for the Church, including the “rough-in” of a hi-fog mist fire suppression system.
With the rough-in of our state-of-the-art fire suppression system, and the purchase of its pump, we are ready to purchase the piping and complete the final installation of the system. We are working hard to raise just under $100,000 for the completion of the fire suppression system, which will protect and preserve the many thousands of dollars invested in this restoration project. With the intensive 2015 fire season, this project could not be more timely.
Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, Kenai.
Photo provided by Father Thomas of the Kenai parish.