My head turned as I drove past the striking St. Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Arden Hills when I was out showing houses yesterday. One of only two Ukranian Orthodox parishes in Minnesota according to the website of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, St. Katherine's celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. Its current structure was built in 1996.
Although I know it's there, it always surprises me when I see this distinctive Russian church in Minnesota where this style of church architecture is rare... after all, the Twin Cities have been jokingly called the Vatican of the Lutheran Church so our dominant style of church architecture is very different.
With 36.7% of Minnesotans of German ancestry, 17.2% Norwegian and 9.9% Swedish it isn't surprising that 6 of 10 Minnesotans are Lutheran. Worldwide, the Eastern Orthodox religious tradition is second only to that of the Roman Catholic Church. In the Ukraine, 80% are of the Eastern Orthodox faith.
While the long narrow style basilica style of public buildings became the church building style of Western Christianity, the Eastern Orthodox religion adopted the more compact style of pagan tombs. My understanding is that five domes, as in this church, symbolize Jesus Christ and the four evangelists, and the distinctive onion style of the domes was developed to prevent snow from accumulating on them... hmmm, sounds like this could work for Minnesota as well...
When I visited orthodox churches in Russia and Bulgaria I was surprised to find the congregation standing throughout the entire worship service... there were no seats to be found. Services were also sung almost in their entirety with no instrumental accompaniment... supposedly because they see the human voice as the most perfect instrument of praise.
The orthodox cross adds two additional bars to the traditional one bar cross found in the Western Christian tradition... the upper one representing the plaque hung over Christ's head, the middle bar the beam on which his wrists or palms were nailed (same as in Western Christianity), and the bottom bar the footrest where it is believed his feet were nailed.
Interested in what's for sale in Arden Hills around this striking church on County Road 96 just east of US Highway 10? I encountered a neighbor out running with his dogs through the grounds when I stopped yesterday. Current average list price in this neighborhood is $381,382.