I thought I’d share a photo sent to me by my good friend, Ed Ronco. He a radio reporter in Sitka, Alaska and noticed this shrine one day in the small southeast Alaskan fishing town. Not only is it a gorgeous photo, it shows a type of shrine I’d never seen before.
It’s a Russian Orthodox memorial. Russian Orthodox crosses differ from the crosses typically seen on roadside memorials (which have the two perpendicular beams) as they have an additional top beam (symbolizing the sign reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”) and bottom beam (a footrest). While spontaneous shrines are predominantly Catholic and Protestant crosses/crucifixes, there is the occasional shrine that features a different symbol (including the Orthodox cross or Star of David).
I find this shrine beautiful in its simplicity. There are not many objects around it–just a bunny and the angels. It is a simple cross, but it is personalized with the small red heart in the center. This shrine was obviously built to last a long time as it is made of sturdy material and has a plaque that will weather well. Especially in a place like Sitka, Alaska where the weather can be harsh and the ever-present damp takes its toll on even the most resilient materials, a shrine must be constructed with durability in mind.
Thanks, Ed, for sharing this photo of the shrine for Christine Beth Howard.