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Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church

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The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church opened in July 1961 and is the last major building designed by esteemed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church opened in July 1961 and is the last major building designed by esteemed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Wright died at age 92 before the groundbreaking in April of 1959.

Wright called the church his little jewel, based on the design of Agia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. St. Sophia is the Byzantine church from 532-537 at what was then known as Constantinople during the period of Emperor Justinian.

The base of the church is the Cross, and then is molded upwards and outward into a circle on which the dome rests, embracing the entire cross rather its center alone.  Mr. Wright wanted the parishioners to feel that they were “cupped in the hands of God.”

The dome is solid concrete and was poured in one day. It is 104 feet in diameter and rises to a height of 45 feet.  It rests on 700,000 ball bearing-like devices, which allow for expansion and contraction.

The cross within the circle is symbolic throughout the Church, mixing design with utility. Traditional colors of the Byzantine Empire are used throughout the interior and for the outer dome. The Orthodox Christian faith venerates icons rather than statuary.  The icon screen separates the Nave from the Sanctuary and displays holy people of Christianity and Orthodoxy who are venerated, not worshipped.

The stained glass windows were designed by Helen Hickman and commissioned in 1978 to Conrad Schmidt Studios in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  Wright did not like chandeliers, so he designed three light poles (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), lights in clusters of twelve, representing the twelve Apostles.

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Private group tours are available, contact to schedule: [email protected]

Photos by (c) Mark Hertzberg (2020)

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