Saturday, July 3, 2010

Kenai Alaska

This town is the largest city on the peninsula. Is sits on a low rise overlooking the mouth of the Kenai River where it empties into Cook Outlet. We spent some time at the flats of the river because we were informed that caribou had been seen there recently. We did not find them but did see two sandhill cranes feeding in the wetlands. Our first stop was the visitor's center where there is also a museum and a special display of the icons of Holy Assumption Orthodox Church. The icons will be displayed there while the church is undergoing renovation. At the visitor's center we were encouraged to visit Veronica's Cafe while touring the town. My brother Wayne was quite anxious for his afternoon coffee so the cafe was our first stop. As you can see in the picture below it is quite quaint. It was built in 1918 and the original log walls can still be seen inside the building. That is a blooming lilac tree at the left corner of the house. It was a very delightful place to stop for afternoon tea.
 Our next stop was Holy Assumption church. The sign in front of it says "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord".  It was built in 1895 and still has an active congregation which numbers about 22 souls.
Archpriest Makarti Targonsky greeted us as we approached the church. He took us inside and gave us a tour. He was quite eager to explain the icons and furnishings of the church. We had questions about the tenets of the Russian Orthodox faith which he was gracious to answer and expound on in great length.We finally learned why the Eastern Orthodox crucifix has three crossbars. Listening to him took me back about sixty years when I was a catechumen in the Lutheran church. The archpriest has served the church in Kenai for around 50 years. He and his wife had moved to the town in the late1950s from the Boston area. One motivating factor for that move was that up until that time they had been unable to have children and were told that there were babies needing to be adopted in Alaska. They moved to Kenai and over the years adopted five children. We could have listened to him talk all afternoon but had the rest of the town yet to see. Below is a picture of Makarti Targonsky.

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