†Itís January 4, 1997.The weather is approximately minus thirty degrees. One of the proposed Godparents has gone early this morning to turn up the heat in the church. All of the families involved know the church will be chilly late in the afternoon when five of Agrafenaís children will be baptized. The only difference between these children and the early descendantís of Agrafena is the church is now heated by natural gas. Wind still seeps through the logs, around the window sills and doorways. The air has a chill that will soon turn to warmth from the heat of bodies and candles.
The children range in age from four months to three years. The tiny church is in Kenai. Many family members were baptized, married and laid to rest from within the Holy Assumption Church . The Very Reverend Michael Oskolkoff served as a visiting priest in both Kenai and Ninilchik. Today his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are to be members of the original church of all descendants of Agrafena. One feels a bit nostalgic and privileged to stand within the hundred year old National Historic Land Mark where the icons, wedding crowns, baptismal tub and other relics used by our ancestors reside. The progeny will be washed in the same tub where their Grandmother and siblings were placed. We will be reminded as we walk three times around the tiny altar, in the middle of the church, that the circle is still unbroken.
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