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New church in Payson opens doors with open house

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A beautiful new church in Payson adds to the religious diversity of Utah County. 

The Saints Peter and Paul Eastern Orthodox Church is a stunningly beautiful old country architectural style building located on 5.5 acres at 1173 South 1950 West in Payson. 

Three onion shaped gold steeples with the traditional Byzantine cross atop each. 

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It is a variation of the Christian cross with a bottom crossbeam slanted upward that has been a Russian Orthodox symbol since the 16th century. The church chapel will accommodate 140  parishioners. 

A parsonage is also near completion in rustic Russian style. Future plans include a church cemetery and a community hall.

On Oct. 29, an iconographer who specializes in the visual interpretation of cultural history arrived from Serbia. 

He will begin work on the semicircular recess, known as an apse, on the east end of the chapel, typical of traditional Byzantine churches. It will be a fresco painting, a technique of mural painting executed upon wet lime plaster. It will be an iconic painting of the Mother of God and the Angels. Father Justin Havin said, “It is going to be spectacular!”

An open house and church tours had been scheduled for Nov. 7 has been cancelled due to COVID 19. That is not surprising with the pandemic infection rate in Utah County. However, it is obviously disappointing to many.        

Father Justin Havens, paster of the Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church has reported a rapidly growing congregation. The church has a mix of ethnic people from Russia, Greece, Serbia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and Middle Eastern Christians in addition to converts from Protestants, Latter-day Saints, Jews, Muslims, and other religions. 

Father Havens is excited about having a Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in rural Payson. He has commented on the friendliness of everyone he has meet. (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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