This beautiful chapel, built in the Russian style with graceful golden domes, sits high on a wooded bluff on a 50-acre tract of land adjacent to the St. John’s community. The chapel is dedicated to St. Sergius of Radonezh (1319-1392) who, from his youth, committed his life to God and is the father of Russian monasticism. He is remembered in the Orthodox Church on September 25.
St. Sergius Chapel was designed by iconographer Yuri Sidorenko, who, with wife Vera and their children, moved to Alaska from Moscow and were members of St. John Cathedral from 1990 to 1994. The foundation was poured in 1990 and walls of solid concrete were pinned to an outcropping of bedrock. The chapel was constructed and decorated by St. John’s parishioners and the icons are by the hand of Yuri Sidorenko.
The Deisis icon (Christ with his Mother and John the Baptist) and the large icons in the chapel were blessed by His Holiness ALEKSEY II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, on September 17, 1993, when he visited St. John Cathedral. Patriarch ALEKSEY said, “This chapel will be a spiritual bridge between our two countries.” The completed chapel was blessed by Bishop BASIL on September 25, 1994.
St. Sergius Chapel is visited frequently by parishioners and visitors alike. Prayer services are held there on Thanksgiving morning and on St. Sergius day. The chapel was built with the intent that the land on which it sits will be used for the work of God, and with the conviction that whatever else God may lead us or others to build here, it will always be a place of solitude and contemplation for all who journey to it.
“Let there always be quiet, dark churches in which man can take refuge. Places where they can kneel in silence. Houses of God filled with His silent presence.”
Thomas Merton New Seeds of Contemplation