HD VIDEO of Cupola Raising and Interview with Father Daniel Marshall
Loveland, Ohio - A glistening, golden, onion shaped cupola with a distinctive Christian cross was hoisted to the top of the St. George Russian Orthodox Church being built at 118 Lebanon Road last Tuesday. In a religious ceremony that included hymns and prayers in both English and Russian languages, about forty-five church members participated in the blessing of the cross. Dr. Kurt Sander, Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Northern Kentucky led the parish choir.
Architectural Fiberglass of Cleveland delivered the cupola in four pieces. It was bolted together on site by Bruns General Contractors.
His Grace Bishop Peter, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America came from Chicago to lead the service, including splashing Holy Water on the cross and cupola before it was carefully secured with lifting slings, and hooked to a crane. He said, "By the grace of the holy spirit, with the sprinkling of this holy water – in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen."
Parish Rector, Father Daniel Marshall, walked through the congregation and then ceremoniously circled the cupola waving burning incense. Marshall talked to Loveland Magazine after the service. He said that the parish has worked for more than ten years trying to get to this point. "So, to see this in its place and the church coming together we're hopeful that by early May or June certainly, we will be able to use this facility. So for us, it's a great joy. Thanks be to God."
The parish has outgrown its current home in Blue Ash. They previously bought property at the corner of Loveland Madeira Road and Highridge Drive for a new church. Marshall said that they later discovered while examining soil samples that the bedrock on the site would make it too expensive to put in a needed basement. He said they looked for another site in Loveland because it is centrally located to local parishioners, and to members who live in Kentucky and Dayton. He also said that Loveland is close to Russian stores in the vicinity. The 7,600 sq. foot church and parish hall is next to Symmes Park.
In the interview, Marshall described the religious symbolism of the cross with three bars, which is traditional in Russian Orthodox Churches. The top bar on the cross represents the title which Pilate ordered placed on Christ’s cross. The middle bar is the one to which his hands were nailed. The bottom bar is the footrest where his feet were nailed. This bar is tilted, reminding viewers of the two thieves who were also crucified, one of whom ascended to heaven due to his repentance, while the other one suffered condemnation for his blasphemy. Marshal described them as “the good thief and the bad thief." The one to the right "mocked" Jesus and the one to the left "rebuked" the other thief. "How come you're saying such mean things to this man who's not guilty? We're at least guilty of what we have been charged with doing."
"The good thief then says to Christ, 'Remember me in your kingdom,” Marshall explained.
Marshall also talked about the origins of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Cincinnati area, going back to WWII when immigrants worked at the Voice of America communication system, then located near Mason. They lived in an area of Russia that had been overrun by Germans, some escaped forced labor. Marshall said, "And, one of the things that Russians have always tried to do wherever they settled is to found a church so they can thank God, worship, pray, and ask God for assistance in their new circumstances." He described his congregation as the “second” St. George Russian Orthodox Church, founded mostly by Americans after the original church members quit meeting. Since the fall of the Soviet Union they have had an influx of new people coming to Cincinnati's universities, and companies that do research and have hired Russian scientists. "Today it is a thriving, varied community of American converts to Orthodox Christianity, Russian immigrants, second and third-generation Russian-Americans, and other Eastern Europeans."
The cost to build the church is $1.15 million and will seat over 100 in the sanctuary and more than 100 in the fellowship hall. "Wonderful breathing room," said Marshall comparing the new facility to their current location. "We know there are people from the community who have come and just found it too tight. Too close."
"We hope people will just start showing up and be happy with the circumstances. We are very happy to be in Loveland and look forward to joining the community," said Marshall.
Bob Kessler shot these videos. They were edited in the Loveland Magazine TV Studio. The still photos are by David Miller. The interview with Father Marshall is by David Miller