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Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church

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  • Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church (Jet Lowe)

The 1953 Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church illustrates the persistence of the form of Russian Orthodox churches in Alaska. Although its proportions are somewhat wider and lower than earlier churches, it maintains the separate nave, sanctuary, and narthex/ bell tower. Three onion domes supporting Orthodox crosses and the bright blue roof and trim further distinguish the building.

The gable roofs of the sanctuary, nave, and narthex are at different levels but share the same pitch. Out of the one-story narthex rises a square bell tower, which is only slightly higher than the ridge of the roof of the nave. The nave has a hexagonal cupola, and the sanctuary a square one; neither has windows. On the interior, the nave has a false dome under the cupola; octagonal in shape, it rises about 3 feet to a flat ceiling. Despite the linoleum floors and plyboard walls of the nave, there are some features worth noting. Windows are topped with curlicued pediments, reminiscent of Chinoiserie—an unlikely find in an Aleut village. Two new large icons decorate the iconostas, which is divided into seven bays.

Located at the southwestern end of the village, the church is nestled among steeply rising hills. Shrines throughout the village are dedicated to each of the three saints—Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland



Alison K. Hoagland, "Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church", [Old Harbor, 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, 287-288.

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