Glenn Beckmann of Rainproof Roofing inspects a weathered and tilting cross atop Kenai’sHoly Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church before removing it on Friday, May 4, 2018. Dorothy Gray , a Holy Assumption member and treasurer of the preservation nonprofit Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska, said the church is now looking for local craftspeople interested in making replacements for the three old crosses. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Glenn Beckmann of Rainproof Roofing inspects a weathered and tilting cross atop Kenai’sHoly Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church before removing it on Friday, May 4, 2018. Dorothy Gray , a Holy Assumption member and treasurer of the preservation nonprofit Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska, said the church is now looking for local craftspeople interested in making replacements for the three old crosses. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Orthodox church to get new crosses

One of the triple-armed Russian Orthodox crosses atop Kenai’s Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church was taken down by a boom-lift crew from Rainproof Roofing on Friday, and will eventually be replaced with a new one.

Dorothy Gray, a Holy Assumption member and treasurer of the nonprofit preservation group Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska, said the church is looking for a local craftsperson to make a replacement for the worn and weathered cross, as well as the two others on Holy Assumption’s roof, one of which has a broken arm.

Gray said the church may approach local woodworking groups with the project. One possibility has already been ruled out, though.

“We thought about metal crosses, but then we’re thinking about lightning,” she said. “There isn’t that much lightning in Alaska, but it happens.”

The onion dome where the cross formerly stood is now sealed with plastic to prevent rain from damaging the paintings, documents, and other historical and religious objects inside. In addition to the cross’ wear, Gray said the post that supported it had tilted and was letting rain into the church.

“After the restoration work that’s been on the church after the last decade, we don’t want to have any water damage on the interior,” Gray said. “There’s a tiny bit of water damage that has leaked through, but at this point it’s hardly noticeable.”

While Gray didn’t think the present crosses are original to Holy Assumption’s 1896 construction, the roof is, she said. Holy Assumption and the U.S Park Service — which designated the church as a National Historic Landmark in 1970 — plan to finish their long-running restoration of the building with a complete roof replacement.

The church indirectly paid for part of the cross’ removal with frybread. Gray said the Kenaitze Indian Tribe challenged members of the church to make 1,000 pieces of the traditional snack — a crisp fried dough spread with berries, fireweed honey, or other sweeteners — for their Opening of the Net youth fishery event. After church members gathered for marathon frying sessions this weekend, Gray estimated their proceeds from the tribe could almost cover the cost of hiring the lift.

Reach Ben Boettger at bboettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

Shortly before its removal, an aged and weathered cross tops an onion dome of the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church on Friday, May 4 in Kenai. Replacing the church’s shingle roof, which is original to its construction in 1896, is the next and final major project of Holy Assumption’s decade-long effort to restore the historic building. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Shortly before its removal, an aged and weathered cross tops an onion dome of the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church on Friday, May 4 in Kenai. Replacing the church’s shingle roof, which is original to its construction in 1896, is the next and final major project of Holy Assumption’s decade-long effort to restore the historic building. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Jos&

Jos&

More in News

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer speaks during a press conference announcing the administration’s push for changes to the state’s election system on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kevin Goodman, State of Alaska)
Just 2 Alaska lieutenant governor candidates say 2020 presidential vote was fair

Alaska’s lieutenant governor will oversee the 2024 presidential election

Kenai Peninsula School District Superintendent Clayton Holland stand near the entrance to the district’s Soldotna offices on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Academics, staff recruitment among district priorities for upcoming school year

The superintendent is ready to see KPBSD return to the district’s pre-COVID-19 academic performance

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Personal use harvest reports due Monday

Northern Kenai fishing report

Evelyn Cooley competes in the barrel race at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Aug. 12, 2022, in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Music, magic, daredevils and pigs

Kenai Peninsula Fair brings an assortment of activities to Ninilchik

Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Signs direct voters at the Kenai No. 3 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Local candidates report support from state PACs

Labor unions and the National Education Association are among the groups putting money into Kenai Peninsula state election races

Signs and examples on the recycling super sack at the Cook Inletkeeper Community Action Studio show which plastics are desired as part of the project in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 11, 2022. Plastics from types 1, 2, 4 and 5 can be deposited.(Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local nonprofit accepting plastics for synthetic lumber project

The super sack receptacles can be found on either side of Soldotna

This July 28, 2022, photo shows drag queen Dela Rosa performing in a mock election at Cafecito Bonito in Anchorage, Alaska, where people ranked the performances by drag performers. Several organizations are using different methods to teach Alaskans about ranked choice voting, which will be used in the upcoming special U.S. House election. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Groups get creative to help Alaska voters with ranked voting

Organizations have gotten creative in trying to help voters understand how to cast their ballot, as the mock election featuring drag performers shows

A school bus outside of Kenai Central High School advertises driver positions on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Staff shortage, gas prices change school bus routes

The changes do not apply to the district’s special education students

The cast of “Tarzan” rides the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Independence Day parade in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
The show goes on as Triumvirate seeks funding for new theater

The troupe has staged shows and events and is looking to debut a documentary as it raise funds for new playhouse

Most Read