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St Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church and Cemetery - Mark Yancey Photo
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St Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church and Cemetery

We had an early flight from Fairbanks to Anchorage. We rented a car and headed to Eklutna and the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church and Cemetery.  Unfortunately, the site is closed for the season, but we could still wander around the grounds and cemetery.  The graveyard is filled with over 100 colorful spirit houses over the graves, a combination of traditions from the Russian Orthodox church and the Native American (Athabascan Indian) practices.  For more info, see this website.

This newer church was built in 1962.  This site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

St. Nicolas Orthodox Church
St. Nicolas Orthodox Church

The spirit houses are directly above the grave

Spirit Houses
Spirit Houses

 

 

 

Details of Spirit House
Details of Spirit House

This is the old St Nicolas church, built in 1894.

Old St. Nicolas Orthodox Church
Old St. Nicolas Orthodox Church

 

Door to Old St. Nicolas Orthodox Church
Door to Old St. Nicolas Orthodox Church

The newer church is filled with painted icons.  I wish we could have gone inside to see them, but these photos through the windows will have to do.

Interior of St Nicolas Orthodox Church
Interior of St Nicolas Orthodox Church

 

Interior of St Nicolas Orthodox Church
Interior of St Nicolas Orthodox Church

 

Welcome Sign
Welcome Sign

Unfortunately, many of the spirit houses have fallen into disrepair.  I’ve not show those here.  Many of those that remain are beautiful works of art and a tribute to a blending of cultures.

Mark

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