The Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church has raised enough funds to begin much needed renovations within the next two weeks.
Holy Assumption's secretary, Dorothy Gray, said that the church is set to close while crews make repairs to the building.
Gray said that the church need to match federal funding to receive a Save America's Treasures grant of $129,000. The parish will move services to Fort Kenai while crews reinforce the foundation, add a handicap access ramp and install fire and anti-theft alarm systems, Gray said.
"The plans are in [Washington] D.C. for approval," she said.
The Church is a registered National Historic Landmark. In order to keep the status, Holy Assumption must maintain a certain amount of the original building's material and structure. The Church was constructed in 1894, making it one of the oldest Russian Orthodox Churches in Alaska.
Gray made the announcement before a lecture at Kenai's Visitor and Culture Center about the history of the Russian community.
During the lecture she said that in 1894 Kenai's head Russian priest received a $400 grant from the head of the Orthodox Church to replace the original building. The previous church had fallen into a state of disrepair. According to Gray, the priest, Father Alexander Yaroshevich, transferred to Juneau after the current building was constructed in 1896.
Tony Cella can be reached at 335-1242
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