Dome Sweet Dome: Troika 2019 at Church of the Nativity
It is this gorgeous building, with the eye-catching gilt dome on top, that welcomes visitors every year to what amounts to the start of festival season in Erie: Troika Russian Festival.
Friday, May 24 - 26
Imagine Erie 100 years ago. What do you picture? Those brick roads that still lie exposed in spots? Horse-drawn carriages slowly being edged out by those new automobiles? Ladies starting to wear their hems above the ankles, about to usher in the Roaring '20s?
One thing you would have seen, believe it or not, was the first incarnation of the Church of the Nativity, newly finished in 1919, in the same prime location where it sits now, ready to serve the existing Russian Orthodox Old Rite community in Erie. Sadly, in the 1980s that original church was lost to a fire. However, the rebuilt structure remains a timeless gem high atop its Bayfront bluff, radiating peacefulness and warmth as the light illuminates its face with every sundown.
It is this gorgeous building, with the eye-catching gilt dome on top, that welcomes visitors every year to what amounts to the start of festival season in Erie: Troika Russian Festival. After 11 years, the Church of the Nativity and its planning committee have the whole cultural festival thing down pat.
There's the crowd-pleasing menu: "Russky" sliders, kolbasa sandwiches, "Russky" fries with their signature mushroom and cheese sauce, potato pancakes and those enchanting nesting doll (or "matryoshka") cookies — plus so much more. There's the entertainment, with lively dancing and music. There's the tasty selection of beers, wine, and shots. And of course, there is the location, featuring a view that can't be beat.
Those interested in learning more about the church can choose either a guided tour of the interior with Rector Father Pimen Simon on each of the three nights, or a self-guided tour, both during certain hours. Stephen Maynard, who has been a member of the Church of the Nativity for over 20 years, has a deep reverence for the church and encourages others to appreciate it as he does.
"You can literally see The Church of the Nativity from many places on the lower east side, as far away as East Ninth Street, from the top of the parking garage on 10th and French. And you can hear the bells all over the lower east side, too ... The church building itself is a beacon."
Maynard continued, "Now, entering the building itself is magical. The wide open space makes you feel so small and like you're floating in heaven."
Keep in mind, the Troika Festival is a fundraiser, a way for the church and the community within to keep their doors open (and their dome aloft) and to keep up the ability to do their good works around the community.
"I literally love everything about it," Maynard said. "Everything about the Church of the Nativity on East Front Street in Erie, PA is a true expression of love."
Show your love for this beautiful church, on its beautiful perch, by attending Troika 2019 and ensure that the Church of the Nativity community enjoys another 100 years in the City of Erie. — Cara Suppa
4 p.m. to 9 p.m. (see website for full three-day schedule details) // 251 E. Front St. // Free admission // churchofthenativity.net/troika