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Athabaskan spirit houses at Eklutna

Spirit Houses:

The interior of Alaska is home to the Athabaskan Native Peoples. These colorful spirit houses are a uniquely Athabaskan tradition. Spirit houses were built by the family after the person’s death. The graves of the Athabaskan people are marked not only with their traditional spirit houses, but also with a Russian Orthodox Christian Cross. There are also graves marked only with crosses, honoring the resting places of Russian Orthodox non-native members of the church.

The Russian Orthodox Christian Cross:

The Three-Barred Cross existed very early in Byzantium, but was adopted by the Russian Orthodox Church and was especially popularized in the Slavic countries. The upper arm represents the inscription over Christ's head, and the lower slanting bar represents His footrest. In the symbolism of the Russian Orthodox Church, the most common explanation for the footrest is that it is the pointing upward to Paradise for the Good Thief on Jesus' right, who acknowledged Him, and downward to Hell for the Thief on His left (Luke 23).

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Burbank, CA, United States

Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 9, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Laura Ruth
    • Camera: SONY DSC-H55
    • Taken on 2010/01/01 05:27:06
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/400)
    • Focal Length: 6.20mm
    • F/Stop: f/4.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO80
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash