The Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church, also known as the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is a timeless historical treasure in Kenai, Alaska. This venerable structure, a Russian Orthodox parish church, has endured time, becoming an integral part of Kenai’s cultural and historical story.

The church traces its roots back to 1844 when Fr Igumen Nikolai Militov laid the foundation for a permanent parish in Kenai. Fr Nikolai, born in Russia in 1810 and a former student of the Tambov Theological School, embraced monastic life in 1837. His journey to Sitka, Alaska, alongside Bishop Innocent in 1840, began the church’s story.

Makary Ivanov continued serving the church after Fr Nikolai’s passing in 1867. Hieromonk Nikita assumed the mantle for the Kenai Mission from 1881 to 1886. The construction of the parish house in 1887 solidified its place as the oldest standing building in the Cook Inlet region.

In 1891, Father Alexander Yaroshevich arrived in Kenai and oversaw the construction of the current church building. He recognized the need for a new church due to the deteriorating condition of the chapel. So, in 1894, The Holy Synod provided $400 to build the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church on Mission Street, which is the present-day church in Kenai.

Completed in 1896, the church holds the distinction of being Alaska’s oldest-standing Russian Orthodox church. Beyond its religious significance, it played a vital role in assimilating the local native population. Recognizing its historical importance, the church attained National Historic Landmark status in 1970 and subsequent inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church remains a steadfast symbol of faith and history in Kenai, Alaska. Although some minor modifications have occurred over the years, it retains a significant level of integrity. It stands not merely as a place of worship but as a living testament to its founders’ enduring spirit and commitment and the community it serves. In the heart of Kenai, this church stands as a beacon, illuminating the cultural and historical tapestry that defines this remarkable Alaskan town.


1106 Mission Ave, Kenai, AK 99611 | +1 907-283-4122 |