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Author Topic: Best Orthodox Church Buildings in North America  (Read 19036 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 10, 2007, 12:46:48 AM »

I was in Borders the other night and looked through a coffee table book on church buildings in America. It gave me the idea to put together a coffee table book on Orthodox church buildings in the New World. This seems like a fun summer road trip to take and I have been putting together a list of buildings I would like to include but I thought I might ask for some recommendations from all of you.

I have made a set of rules of what I am looking for and will list some of the church buildings I want to include to give you a sense of what I am looking for.

The Rules:
1. It must be done in traditional Orthodox style

2. If not traditional Orthodox style it must be historically relevant to American/ Canadian History (my St. Mary Cambridge, MA rule)

3. It must have a good looking Iconographic program on the inside (this allows me to not go to St. Mary's in Livonia, MI)

4. It must be a canonical Orthodox Church, so no Byzantine Catholic church buildings.

Good churches are ones like St. Michael Louisville, KY, St Paul Hempstead, NY, or Holy Nativity Convent in New Carlise, IN

Borderline churches are The Frank Lloyd Wright in WI or Annunciation Cathedral in Denver.

Bad Churches are 90% of the church buildings in America and yes I am talking about that one.

If I get this book published I plan on donating part of the profits to IOCC and OCMC. Looking forward to hearing your recommendation and if you have a web address for the church please post it.
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 02:29:37 AM »

Fwiw, I like the St. Innocent Mission Church in Macon, Georgia. Fittingly, it is based on architecture in the country Georgia.

Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3

(The photos on the St. Innocent site don't seem to be working, though I'd imagine that the webmaster could send you some pics if you're interested).
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 02:30:45 AM by Asteriktos » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 03:03:05 AM »

Saint Sophia - Los Angeles, CA
Holy Trinity Cathedral - Salt Lake City, UT
Saint Nicholas Cathedral - Washington, DC
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 08:21:27 AM »

Annunciation Orthodox Church--Dayton, OH

http://www.daytonannunciation.org/

St. Nicholas Cathedral--Tarpon Springs, FL

http://www.epiphanycity.org/

St. George--Schererville, IN

http://www.stgeorge.in.goarch.org/

UNder the 'interesting' fielr would be St. Constantine & Helen--Merrillville, IN (if you're going to Schererville, you may as well drive 15 more minutes to see this one). Their website address listed isn't functioning.

St. Constantine and Helen Cathedral--Cleveland Heights, OH

http://www.stsconstantine.com/

St. Sava Cathedral--Cleveland, OH

http://www.stsavacathedral.org/

Annunciation Cathedral--Columbus, OH

http://www.greekcathedral.com/index.cfm?page=OurCathedral

Holy Trinity Cathedral--Toledo, OH

http://www.holytrinitytoledo.com/pictures.htm

I have always thought of doing what you have proposed here. It's a very worthwhile project!

Sounds like a great road trip!

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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 08:44:07 AM »

Someone has already actually done something similar, although with a more limited scope.

http://www.greekchurchbook.com/

I would nominate the following:

Holy Trinity Cathedral Chicago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Trinity_Cathedral,_Chicago

Annunciation Wauwatosa

http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/wisconsin/milwaukee/wrightgrkortho/grkortho.html

St. Simeon Mirotocivi Chicago

http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=streetsimeonmiroticivichurch-chicago-il-usa
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 08:45:58 AM »

Someone has already actually done something similar, although with a more limited scope.

http://www.greekchurchbook.com/


There's talk about doing a similiar project for the Atlanta Metropolis too!
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 10:52:35 AM »

Someone has already actually done something similar, although with a more limited scope.

http://www.greekchurchbook.com/

Part of my idea behind this book is to only show the best of the best in terms of Orthodox architecture. I also want to make sure there is a good cross section of different jurisdictions, geography and size. My thought is that I will profile between 75 to 100 churches in a large format book. Thank you all for your suggestions and please keep them coming. 
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2007, 11:59:28 AM »

My church:  Saint Seraphim of Sarov.  Santa Rosa, CA  We have have REAL frescoes.  Can't get more traditional then that.

www.saintseraphim.com
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2007, 12:59:55 PM »

St Nicholas Moscow Cathderal in NYC, is very nice with a Classical Russian influence.

If you want to be avant-grade in one point, well St Peter's WR Church in Fort Worth, TX is a great example of a blend of Anglican and Orthodox architecture.  I would not say it's the best I've ever seen (in all churches), but they did pull off a pretty good job.
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2007, 05:42:55 PM »

Holy Transfiguration Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Milton, Ontario.

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2007, 07:11:24 PM »

St. Nicholaos Church in Toronto. I don't have a pic of the outside right now but it looks like a Greek Temple with pillars and slanted roof topped with a byzantine dome, sort of like St. Demetrios in Saloniki.

Its not that big but for its size the interior seems to be huge and every centimeter is covered in Athonite iconography.



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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2007, 08:33:50 PM »

Perhaps not the most beautiful Church in North America, but Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA is pretty interesting.

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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2007, 10:54:42 PM »

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (OCA) - Portland, Oregon
http://stnicholaspdx.org/aboutus.php

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church - Portland, Oregon
http://www.stgeorgeportland.org/xtras.html
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2007, 11:06:06 PM »

St. Nicholaos Church in Toronto.
This one was on my list. I was there when my friend Theo was ordained a Deacon.

Thanks all for the great suggestion! Some of these are ones that I had forgotten about. Next weekend I will be heading out to the Pittsburgh area. Here is my list that I am going to shoot while I am out there...

St. Ignatius Church (Antiochian Village)
Holy Transfiguration Monastery
St. Michael Church in Greensburg

I know that in the area there are a number of nice looking churches on the outside but there is a lot left to desire in the iconographic programs on the inside. So if you have suggestions for the Pittsburgh area please don't suggest buildings who have bad icons on the inside.
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2007, 12:15:28 AM »

St. Michaels in Greensburg is a pretty nice Church, and the priest (Fr. John) is nice as well. Smiley  The funny thing is that I live 7 miles from Ligonier, and I've never been to the Antiochian Village.
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2007, 06:06:23 AM »

Church of the Annunciation in Lowell, Mass. Be careful, there's about 4 churches in that one town, several of them with gold domes.

It's filled from floor to ceiling ENTIRELY with mosaics that took 40 years to finish.

http://www.transchurch.org/mosaics/mosaic.asp
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2007, 03:27:27 PM »

One thing that always gets me is the crowded space of a church building. A general consensus of Byzantine architecture could only fit 140 to a maximum of 250 people. Then during Pascha or special events these churches get filled all the way out to the front entrance reaching the parking lot. I'm referring to the small architectural gem of St. John the Baptist ROCOR in Washington D.C. it probably can only fit less than 200 people there.

http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/events/photogallery030707/entry.jpg
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2007, 06:37:33 PM »

As long as we are speaking about Churches with mosaics: You should certainly think about photographing St. Paul Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hempstead, Long Island. It has an extensive program of unusually high quality mosaics, which are especially brilliant because of their use of gold. It also has nice stained-glass windows, a wonder-working Icon of the Theotokos in the chapel area to the north of the solea, an impressive Baldachinum over the altar and a beautiful ambon/carved Iconostasion. Here are a few pictures (none of which does the interior justice).

General Solea

http://photos.stpaulhempstead.org/main.php?g2_itemId=3443

Solea with ambon

http://photos.stpaulhempstead.org/main.php?g2_itemId=1403

Beautiful Gates

http://photos.stpaulhempstead.org/main.php?g2_itemId=1406
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2007, 09:38:17 PM »

Cathedrals of Washington, DC:
Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral (GOA), Washington, DC:
http://www.saintsophiawashington.org/
Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral (OCA), Washington, DC:
http://www.stnicholasdc.org/
Saint Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral (UOC), Silver Spring, MD - my former parish:
http://www.standrewuoc.org/
Saint John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral (ROCOR), Washington, DC
http://www.stnicholasdc.org/

Also in the area:
Holy Resurection Orthodox Church (ACROD), Potomac, MD
http://www.holyresurrection.com/
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church (AOA), Potomac, MD:
http://www.peterpaul.net/

Here in Boston and MA in general, Orthodox parishes are so beautiful. I just cannot consider what I can exclude from the list. The aforementioned Church of Annunciation in Lowell, MA is a must to see.
What else can be mentioned:
Sacred and Stavropegial Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovolantou (Stavropegial of EP), Astoria, NY:
http://www.stirene.org/
Saint Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral (UOC), Philadelphia, PA:
http://www.stvladimirsphila.org/
Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation (GOA), Baltimore, MD:
http://www.goannun.org/
St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church (GOA), Annapolis, MD:
http://www.schgochurch.org/
Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Clement of Ohrid (MOC), Toronto, Ont.:
http://www.stclementofohrid.com/


The only one thing - web sites listed inlcude different levels of depiction of exterior and interior views of the churches.
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2007, 09:44:10 PM »

Wow. Sounds like an incredibly ambitious project photographing churches and
assembling a book. Have you started yet?
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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2007, 05:22:19 PM »

I'm not sure what the etiquette rules are for reviving old threads, but I thought some might be interested in viewing these photographs of St. John Orthodox Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska (which is right outside of Anchorage).

Pic 1 (beautiful exterior)
Pic 2 (of interior. very large photograph. prepare to wait)
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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2007, 05:24:12 PM »

Old is good (says OC.net's resident grumpy old man). If it's not locked, it's an open topic.
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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2007, 05:47:57 PM »

Does this giant barrel count?  Wink I discovered it while walking through the Fens last winter:


Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral (OCA), Boston, MA
Also this angle:
https://businessphotosusa.com/imagedb/img/US/02215/2005/US-02215-107695082_2005-08-26-15-22-3312314.jpg
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2007, 05:50:02 PM »

Interior view?
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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2007, 09:58:23 PM »

Does this giant barrel count?  Wink I discovered it while walking through the Fens last winter:


Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral (OCA), Boston, MA
Also this angle:
https://businessphotosusa.com/imagedb/img/US/02215/2005/US-02215-107695082_2005-08-26-15-22-3312314.jpg
This is an example of a badly designed church.
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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2007, 10:48:54 PM »

Church of the Annunciation in Lowell, Mass. Be careful, there's about 4 churches in that one town, several of them with gold domes.

It's filled from floor to ceiling ENTIRELY with mosaics that took 40 years to finish. 

I love the Lowell Church....

As long as we are speaking about Churches with mosaics: You should certainly think about photographing St. Paul Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hempstead, Long Island. It has an extensive program of unusually high quality mosaics, which are especially brilliant because of their use of gold. It also has nice stained-glass windows, a wonder-working Icon of the Theotokos in the chapel area to the north of the solea, an impressive Baldachinum over the altar and a beautiful ambon/carved Iconostasion. Here are a few pictures (none of which does the interior justice). 

... but I like the Hempstead church even more.  Just a magnificent edifice.


I don't know if anyone has pics of the in-progress St. Nektarios in Charlotte, but it will be a masterpiece when it is done (Agia Sofia, only smaller).
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« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2007, 11:01:28 PM »

Russian Orthodox Church of Three Saints

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« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2007, 11:02:29 PM »

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church (where I was married) and my son Christened.

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« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2007, 11:05:57 PM »

St. Lazarus SOC (in Detroit - where my folks were married).

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« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2007, 11:08:40 PM »

St. Petka SOC (Detroit - newly built by Serbs from FYROM).

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« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2007, 11:28:50 PM »

Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Clement of Ohrid (MOC), Toronto, Ont.:
http://www.stclementofohrid.com/

Non-Canonical Church and not very nice from the outside, but gorgeous on the inside.  I watched as it was being painted (over a period of nearly 2 years) they brought a young man from Skopje to paint it. Just marvelous to see him work his magic.  Very similar inside to St. Nicholas (Timos' pic).
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« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2007, 11:55:52 PM »

St. Lazarus SOC (in Detroit - where my folks were married).




My boyfriend's church, aka my second church, is one of the most beautiful Orthodox churches I've ever been in. I love Ravanica.

St. Petka SOC (Detroit - newly built by Serbs from FYROM).




This church is one mile from me and my uncle Guss built it. He is a nationally renowned Orthodox church architecht. Constantine George Pappas, AIA. Have not been in Vratnica yet.

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« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2007, 12:03:06 AM »

Russian Orthodox Church of Three Saints


Oh, yes, it is great! Very nice style.

I would love to see personally those, that I have not seen yet...

St. Andrew's Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church, South Bound Brook, NJ.
http://www.uocofusa.org/center/church.shtml
Exterior and interior pictures show up there. Designed by Edward Kodak, who led a number of architectural projects for Orthodox churches in USA.
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« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2007, 03:52:17 PM »

St. Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Anchorage, AK.

Exterior
Interior
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« Reply #34 on: August 05, 2007, 02:07:52 AM »

Joseph,

That sounds like a wonderfull project.  Having been an architecture major as an undergarduate (which I later changed to a more financially practical profession), I had many times considered doing such a book.  One of the angles of this topis that fascinated me is how the various Orthodox communities adapted to local North Anerican design traditions, as well as those efforst which trully tried to rrcreate the glory of Constantinople.

As such my top seven list (and reasons) is:

St.Pauls Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Long Island; Hempstead NY:
By far the most stunning mosacics in North America, not to mention the qaulty of the iconostasio.  The fact that the Ressurection is depited on the apse dome sends a stunning message to the central point of the Orthodox church.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocesian Cathedral, Manhattan NY
This jewel of a edifice not only displays its Byazntine heritage with the exterior brick work, the inetrior has well done mosaics and iconography.  It should also be studied for the unique way it merges its community/school need with the naos space, which is a necessity of Manhattan worship spaces.

Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Buffalo, NY
Although the edifice is not Byzantine in structural design, it's thematic layout, color palate, and windows layout are within the Byzantine tradition.
Built as a Presbyterian church in 1901, on Buffalo's boulevard of mansions, the church features Gothic arches carved from oak.  The iconstasio, erected when the Greek community bought the property in the early 1950's, follows the Gothic tradition with intracately carved oak detail. 

http://www4.bfn.org/bah/a/del/1000/int/source/1.html

St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church, Broomall PA
This church is a masterpiece in the making. The round nave concept is ready for more decoration over the years.

St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA
A very historic building for American history, Greek history, as well as the history of the Greek community of Philadelphia.  Built in the 1810's as St. Andrews Episcopalian church, it was one of the leading centers in the Philhelene movement in the US that raised funds for the 1821 Greek revolution.  Built in the Greek Temple style, the church is the only remaining structure of the originial two churches of Philadelphia (the other being Annunciation now located in Elkins Park).

St. Constantine and Helen Cathedral, Brooklyn NY.
A relatively small church, with a wonderfull scale and impressively iconography. This edifice, built in the early 1900's is the First Greek Orthox church built on Long Island proper.







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« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2007, 05:45:21 AM »

Welcome to the forum, NYrByChoice.
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« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2007, 12:27:39 AM »

St. Sophia GOA, Los Angeles.
http://www.stsophia.org/stsophiasitemap.htm

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« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2007, 08:38:59 AM »

^^^^ Gorgeous.
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« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2007, 10:02:42 AM »

St. Sophia has to be one of the most gorgeous church interiors I have ever seen!

 :oJuliana
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« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2007, 11:14:30 AM »

St. Sophia has to be one of the most gorgeous church interiors I have ever seen!

 :oJuliana

It looks like some European palace.
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« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2008, 02:54:36 AM »

I know it's been a while, but how is the church photo book going?  I have a serious interest.  Our parish is starting to plan for a building program, and we are starting to educate ourselves about the process.  A collection of the best would be an asset while we are looking into the possible. I picked up on the Greek book and I will be checking that out, but I was hoping to find something reflecting other jurisdictions as well. Our parish is OCA, half-convert, half-cradle, with backgrounds of Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Antiochian, and Russian. So far, we're all sure we want a temple that is obviously Orthodox, conducive to worship, and inviting.  In addition to photos and examples of existing structures, we would appreciate any other constructive input.
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« Reply #41 on: December 09, 2008, 08:43:37 AM »

I know it's been a while, but how is the church photo book going?  I have a serious interest.  Our parish is starting to plan for a building program, and we are starting to educate ourselves about the process.  A collection of the best would be an asset while we are looking into the possible. I picked up on the Greek book and I will be checking that out, but I was hoping to find something reflecting other jurisdictions as well. Our parish is OCA, half-convert, half-cradle, with backgrounds of Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Antiochian, and Russian. So far, we're all sure we want a temple that is obviously Orthodox, conducive to worship, and inviting.  In addition to photos and examples of existing structures, we would appreciate any other constructive input.

Are you building from scratch, or modifying a previous (Western) church building?  If the latter, I would recommend a look at St. George Antiochean in Cicero IL (Chicago).  It was a baptist church, but the traditional Orthodox program has been adopted (Pantocrator moved from non-existent dome to apse, etc.) much like the Eastern churches in Sicily did to keep their Western exteriors.

If building from scratch.  Look at the Serbian monestary of the Theotokos in Libertyville.  Heaven on earth.

Oh, and there's SS Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church, the most beautiful Orthodox Church that isn't (the iconography was done by the ROCOR bishop, however).
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 08:46:12 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: December 09, 2008, 09:18:28 AM »

The aforementioned St. Paul Church of Hempstead. NY can be seen in a few sections of their Parish Website's Photo Album:

- Pictures from the ordination to the Deaconate of Fr. Anastasios (Ernie) Pourakis: http://stpaulhempstead.org/j/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=27&g2_itemId=1922

- Pictures of their weeping icons: http://stpaulhempstead.org/j/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=27&g2_itemId=2510
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« Reply #43 on: December 09, 2008, 10:44:05 AM »

Fwiw, St. Michaels Antiochian Orthodox Church was mentioned earlier, and a pic of it can be seen here.
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« Reply #44 on: December 09, 2008, 11:37:57 AM »

Fwiw, St. Michaels Antiochian Orthodox Church was mentioned earlier, and a pic of it can be seen here.

Beautiful pics!
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