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Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church

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1925. Lake Ave.

Saint Michael the Archangel Church retains its simplicity and scale, despite changes to its vestibule and side walls. The gable-roofed church, measuring approximately 23 feet by 44 feet, incorporates the sanctuary within the main block of the nave. The vestibule, a separate element on the front, has changed in form over the years. In the early 1970s, the side walls of the nave and sanctuary were brought in about 2 feet, changing the original proportions of the church.

This small church is the third church for this congregation of self-described Aleuts. The Eyak Indians, now nearly extinct, originally occupied the Cordova area. In the twentieth century, Pacific Eskimos and Aleuts migrated here from nearby villages. Some of the migrations have been caused by natural disasters such as the 1964 earthquake, which obliterated whole villages in Prince William Sound. Other Natives have been attracted by Cordova's fishing industry and other opportunities.

Many of the icons came from the village of Nuchek in 1914–1915 and may have originated in Russia. The congregation, aided by members of the village of Chenega, built the church, using surplus lumber from the concrete forms of the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Cordova.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church", [Cordova, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 145-145.

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