Friends of St. Nicholas & Historic Preservation

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, 1894 Club. A 1948 image of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. the dome is blue and not gold.
St Nicholas Orthodox Church, 1894 Club. A modern image of St. Nicholas' exterior. taken about 2004
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, 1894 Club. Black and white image of St. Nicholas after 1905 (the belltower is present)

We need your help!  In 1894, a diverse yet single-minded group of people joined together to build our Church. Native Alaskans, Serbian miners, a few Orthodox townspeople from other cultural heritages, and even some non-Orthodox Christians took up a call for the building of a Russian Orthodox Church in our young but energetic town.  The Church was named after St. Nicholas of Myra, the Wonderworker.  In the last century most other buildings of the Russian period have collapsed or been replaced, leaving St. Nicholas as not only the oldest continually-functioning Orthodox Church building in Southeast Alaska, but also one of the oldest standing structures from the Russian period in the state.  The unique status of this building has made St. Nicholas a Juneau landmark and many friends among history lovers throughout the world.

Our historic building is now showing the signs of its more than 125 years of continuous use.  The foundations of the Old Rectory need serious work, the artwork on teh iconostasis are covered with soot and faded from their continuous use since 1894, and historic artifacts such as the 127-year-old hand-stitched epitaphion/plashchanitsa are dangerously unprotected.  The Church was built in a unique octagon style with an original iconostasis, icon set, brasswork, and banners shipped from Russia.  We continue to use these in our worship.  Our Church responded to the needs of the native Tlingit people by providing an Orthodox church which conducted services in their language, and we currently have the only icons of Christ and St. Nicholas in the world which feature titles written in Tlingit.

Your donation is sincerely appreciated and crucial to preserving this unique piece of Juneau’s history!  

Or Mail a Donation:

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
Attn: Preservation/Maintenance Fund
P.O. Box 20130 
Juneau, Alaska 99802-0130.

Preservation: Phase One

Phase  one of our preservation and renovation began in 2007 when the bell-tower was removed to prevent its collapse.  This phase included, stabilizing the entryway to properly support the bell-tower, rebuilding and reinstalling the bell-tower, repair and regilding the Church dome, drainage work, and stabilizing the foundations of the building.

The belltower was reinstalled in September 2012 and the foundation on the church was completed in 2015.

Preservation: Phase Two

Phase two will begin as soon as we have funds to complete the project. 

Phase two will include construction of a new foundation for the Original Rectory, backing the building up from the sidewalk to allow us to restore it’s original street facing facade, and full restoration of the interior. The new foundation for the Old Rectory will include a mechanical room where we will install a contemporary fire-suppression system to protect both the church and the Old Rectory.

Phase two will also include an upgrade of the landscaping and walkways throughout the site.

The Old Rectory in July 2010.

St. Nicholas’ Old Rectory as it appeared in July of 2010.
The dormer was removed in 2013.

Close up of the damage to the Epitaphion, manufactured around 1892

This close up photo of the Epitaphion/Plaschanitsa shows the damage of continuous use from 1894 until 2011, when it was retired until funds could be raised for proper conservation of this gorgeous item.

Preservation: Phase Three

Phase three will include a complete restoration of the interior (including lead removal), museum quality conservation of the original icons, museum quality conservation of the epitaphion, full conservation and restoration of the iconostasis, the purchase of museum quality display cases to preserve and display some of the museum quality artifacts that we have accumulated over the years.

Our Lady of Sitka - The 1894 club

1894 Club Members

With Grateful Thanks to:
  • Karen B. Nichols – Chevy Chase, MD
  • Ronald J. Brotzman, PC – Boulder, CO
  • Robert and Anna Csernica – Huntington, WV
  • Georgeanna Feltman – Seattle, WA
  • David T. Malmstrom – Juneau, AK
  • Stephen and Christina Christodulis – Turlock, CA
  • John Pavelchak – Hudson, PA
  • William J. Malleris – Naperville, IL
  • John Mark Lemmel and the Lemmel Family – Ketchikan, AK
  • Thomas and Mary Conroy – Denver, CO

Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska (ROSSIA) has been instrumental in Phase I of our preservation project.

LOGO for Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska
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