January 12, 1959: The Greek Orthodox Church of Anchorage, Alaska (later changed to Holy Transfiguration) filed its Articles of Incorporation, nine days after Alaska officially became the 49th state.
In the early Eighteenth Century, Greeks followed the first Russian Orthodox missionaries into Alaska, but it was not until the early 1900s that large numbers of Greeks arrived. Most were employed by the Alaska Railroad and stayed at Cook Inlet, which became Anchorage. The closest Orthodox Church was in Eklutna, thirty-five miles away.
In 1958, the Anchorage Greeks started a church in the basement of an apartment building and in 1959, built the first Orthodox Church in Anchorage, originally named, “Saint Sotirios Greek Orthodox Church.” On January 12, 1959, members of the church community filed for Articles of Incorporation, with the name, “Greek Orthodox Church of Our Savior,” and later that year, it was changed to “Holy Transfiguration.”
Today, although it is a Greek Orthodox Church, with an active Philoptochos, Sunday School, and Greek School, the church has a Pan-Orthodox flavor with the Lord’s Prayer being recited in Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Romanian, Ukrainian, French, English, and other languages. On June 4, 2014, the community held its first services in their new church building.
Holy Transfiguration has the distinction of being the only Greek Orthodox Church in the State of Alaska, and it is the northernmost parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.