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Saint Alexander of Nevsky Russian Orthodox Chapel

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The fishing village of Akutan sits in the shadow of volcanic Mount Akutan on one of the northern islands of the Aleutian chain. This small chapel is modest in size and exterior decoration. The sanctuary is incorporated into the gable-roofed main block, rather than being in a separate element; the main block measures 18 feet by 31 feet and is three bays long. A gable-roofed vestibule on the front is nearly as tall as the nave; it was widened by about 6 feet in the 1980s.

The interior is more elaborate than the exterior would suggest. The amvon, or dais before the iconostas, extends along both walls in a U shape, culminating in balustraded projecting ends. The iconostas, although a simple structure, has icons in three tiers; some of the icons appear to be quite old, perhaps by an Aleut artist. In the center of the nave ceiling is a square, flat recess, evocative of a dome.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland



Alison K. Hoagland, "Saint Alexander of Nevsky Russian Orthodox Chapel", [Akutan, 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, 291-291.

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