Tour Stop 8

Tour Stop 8
543 Cherokee Avenue
Saint John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church

Built: 1917
Style: Craftsman
Don’t miss: Rich iconography, varying from “anciently antique” to local folk art

The original church structure at 543 Cherokee Avenue was erected in 1917 as part of the Seventh Day Adventists Southern Conference headquarters. When the current congregation bought the church in 1988, the building’s interior was in a sad state of disrepair. With little money but abundant enthusiasm, our parish volunteers managed to transform it into an appropriate Orthodox place of worship.

Icons are the most characteristic artistic expression in Orthodoxy. Not merely for decoration, they are an essential part of Orthodox worship.  Icons serve as a means by which the worshipper may experience a connection with the spiritual reality portrayed symbolically by the icon. The same message the scriptures portray in words, the icons express in color. Our icons represent a range of style and country of origin and range from ancient to brand new.

Some of the church’s most beautiful icons were painted by parishioner Elena Myers who spent several years studying with a master iconographer here and in Russia. Several of her newest icons may be seen on the iconostasis (icon screen) at the front of the church.

The panoramic icons around the rim of the ceiling were painted by a local artist and represent the major Feasts of the Church which correspond to the major events in the Life of Christ and His Mother Mary. As you move from station to station in the sanctuary, be sure to stop and read the written information on the iconography.

In the front room you will find displays describing church ministries such as the Loaves and Fishes Program which provides daily meals to the poor and homeless, St. Nicholas Academy, a K-12 certified alternative school and the church’s annual family Christmas program.  Please feel free to approach the church volunteers with any questions you have during your visit.