Ashland parish to build new church
adapted from an article published in The Tidings by John Darling here.
Supporters of the first-ever full-scale and permanent Orthodox Church building south of Eugene in Southern Oregon on Thursday, May 7, burned down a decrepit old house near the Valley View freeway interchange just north of Ashland and have begun fundraising to build their church there in a “Byzantine style.”
The Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church has been meeting for 20 years at the Walsh Memorial Newman center just above the Southern Oregon University campus but, says Father Andreas Blom, priest of the church, the congregation has grown to exceed 150 members on the rolls, with 70-90 in attendance each Sunday, and has outgrown its current facility.
They’ve been holding services in recent weeks at the Shops at Exit 24 in Phoenix and will continue to do so, he said, until they raise enough money to break ground on the church. It will be roughly 45 feet high, with a spherical dome in the Byzantine/Balkan style, rather than the Russian style with onion domes.
The church owns seven acres in the 600 block of South Valley View Drive. The property is north of Interstate 5 and south of West Butler Lane, near the on-ramp heading north on I-5. They had a dramatic burn-to-learn exercise performed by Fire District 5 Thursday morning, clearing the land for the church.
Architects drawings of the 3,150-square-foot church are not yet available. Fundraising for $1.5 million is underway among the Orthodox Church at large and the Ashland-based church, he said.