November 3, 2022 NS
To whom it may concern:
Worshippers in our temple and visitors to it will notice the presence of a white substance on portions of the upper part of the east wall of the nave. This substance is efflorescence, a powdery saline deposit which commonly forms on brickwork, rock, and other building materials. Efflorescence has caused damage to plaster and paintings on the east and west walls of our nave. So far, the west wall has been repaired, but not the east.
There are very many causes of efflorescence, and in a given case, several may be at work. Determining the exact cause or causes may require expert intervention, but in our situation, perhaps the most likely is the combination of harsh winter weather in our region and the lack of continuous heating in the church. The church is heated only by wood stoves and, consequently, there can be an extremely rapid transition from a very cold to a very hot temperature, especially in the upper walls of the nave. The resulting moisture problems can act as a catalyst for the development of efflorescence.
We draw attention to this problem because it is said that some are alleging that faulty planning or construction by Mark Arrow, the builder of our temple and our parishioner, is the cause of the efflorescence in the building. If this were merely idle talk, we would not comment on the matter, but rather recommend silence to the speakers and patience to Mr. Arrow; but as Mr. Arrow has his livelihood from his craft, we are offering this explanation.
We know of no action or lack thereof by Mr. Arrow which can be said with any certainty to have caused our problem. Definitely, any defects in the original plaster work cannot be attributed to him, as he did not do that plastering, nor supervise it, nor have any involvement in it at all. That work was done by a totally independent contractor. Also, there are no structural cracks evident in the structure, except in the original plaster work, nor leaks, including in the roof.
Therefore, our confidence in Mr. Arrow’s competence and skill remains unshaken, to the degree that we recently hired him to repair the affected areas of both the east and west walls.
It is our sincere hope that any criticisms related to this complex matter cease, and that Christian hesitance to judge, especially in uncertain situations, prevail here. With God’s help, the damaged areas will be fully restored.
As a testament to the craftsmanship of Arrow Masonry and the beauty of the St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Church in Owego NY (http://stmaximus.net/about-us), photo documentation of the church can be viewed in detail at http://stmaximus.net/category/26-details. Furthermore, an in-depth explanation of some of the building techniques employed in the construction of the church as well as interviews with Mark Arrow can be viewed as part of a local news broadcast at http://stmaximus.net/video/category/7-one-of-a-kind-video.
On behalf of the Parish Council of St. Maximus Church
Protopresbyter Thomas Marretta
Lazarus Gehring, MD