Roofer Rebuilds Church Onion Shaped Dome

In New Haven Connecticut the Holy Transfiguration Russian Orthodox Church is getting a much needed roof repair. The 30 foot dome was damaged by last winters Tropical Irene and subsequent storms.

The onion shaped Byzantine Empire style dome is to help worshipers witness God according to Father Michael Westerberg who leads the 150 member church. The church was originally founded in 1915 on Dixwell Avenue and moved to its current location at Alden and Burton in 1967.

The last time the dome was worked on was in the mid 1980’s. Woodbridge Roofing repaired the mansard base for the dome in April, the building was power washed and the dome removed and placed in the parking lot under a tarp to be worked on.

Copper Shingles and Rosettes

A crew of 8 including the roofing company owner Paul Leyertue are removing the rust and replacing the steel skeleton, scoring the plywood so it makes the onion shaped curves and applying thousands of rust resistant stainless steel screws. 400 diamond shaped copper shingles will go over the skeleton and 500 rosettes all of gleaming new copper.

The churches insurance is paying a large portion of the project and Leyertue said he will take care of the difference. “I call it my tithing. It’s between me, my wife, and God” he said.

They are hoping the job will completed in two weeks and a crane will be able hoist the finished dome into place. Leyertue estimates the dome will weigh close to 5 tons. Father Westerberg said his congregation will hold a formal ceremony and a blessing when the work is finished.

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