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Saint Herman Russian Orthodox Chapel

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  • Saint Herman Russian Orthodox Chapel (Jet Lowe)

Although the church building is undistinguished—a gable-roofed rectangle covered with T1–11 textured plywood siding and a three-stage bell tower—Saint Herman's now contains the iconostas and icons from Belkofski.

Belkofski, founded in 1823 by sea otter-hunting Russians, is located 12 miles southeast of King Cove. When the church was built in 1887, the community was obviously prospering, as the church was particularly ornate, featuring three cupolas, pedimented window surrounds, and a Classical entrance portico. The village has been abandoned, as has the church.

The iconostas features horseshoe-arch openings, like the iconostas at Unalaska. The frame of the iconostas has moldings, incising, and carved grapes and leaves above the royal doors; the bottom 6 inches of the iconostas were cut off to fit it into the King Cove church. The iconostas holds large oil-on-canvas paintings, imported from Russia. The church also has four bells from Belkofski, marked “W. T. Garratt, S.F. Cal.” and dated 1870 and 1881.

Although this splendid, nineteenth-century iconostas is somewhat incongruously placed in a 1984 church, the moving of iconostases follows a long tradition.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland



Alison K. Hoagland, "Saint Herman Russian Orthodox Chapel", [King Cove, 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, 290-290.

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