St. Anatole Kamenskii: A Guest Post by Fr. Andrew Morbey
Originally, the following was made as a comment over on Frontier Orthodoxy, but I (Fr. Oliver) have asked Fr. Andrew Morbey to write it up as a separate post because I think it is good reading for everyone. I had forgotten that I had been told that Kamenskii was canonized. I am very thankful that Fr. Andrew reminded me of this. I should also point out that Fr. Andrew says he has not actually seen an icon yet at this point. His references are, at least in part, the Irkutsk diocese website and calendars from ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. So, with no further ado, the guest post:
Readers may be interested to note that Fr. Antonii – actually Anatole (Alexey Vasilevich) – Kamenskii is glorified as a Russian New-Martyr on the calendars of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad. His memory is commemorated and heavenly intercessions are especially sought on the Feast of the Synaxis of of the New-Martyrs of the American Land (December 12/25). He is known as the New Hieromartyr Anatole (Kamensky), Archbishop of Irkutsk. Dates of his repose vary – September 20 (1920) and January 24 (1921) are sometimes given.
St Anatole went from Sitka to Minneapolis, btw. He even took a degree from the University of Minnesota – in History! He was born October 3, 1863 in the Samara diocese. In 1888 he graduated from the Samara Theological Seminary. He married and on August 6, 1888 was ordained a priest for the church of the village Hilkova in the Samara diocese.
Following the death of his wife, in 1891 he entered the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and graduated with the degree of Candidate of Theology in 1895. In the same year on August 26, Bishop Nikandr (Molchanov) tonsured him a monk and he was appointed the Rector of Sitka (Alaska) Archangel Michael Cathedral, Superintendent of missionary schools, and Dean of the Sitka District. He became an Archimandrite in 1897. In 1898 he is listed on the staff of the Bishops’ house in San Francisco. In 1899 he was appointed Head of Minneapolis missionary school (founded in 1897 it became the first Orthodox Seminary in North America in 1905). Some material concerning this period of his life can be found in Sergei Kan’s introduction of the recent edition to Tlingit Indians of Alaska. (The University of Alaska Press. Fairbanks, 1999) – a translation of St Anatole’s ethnographic work, Indiane Aliaski, published in Odessa in 1906.
Some photos of St Anatole in Alaska can be found at:
In 1903 he returned to Russia and was appointed Rector of the Odessa Theological Academy. On December 10, 1906 he was consecrated Bishop of Elizavetgrad, vicar of the diocese of Kherson. The consecration was held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Consecrators: Anthony, Metropolitan of St Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Vladimir of Moscow; Metropolitan Flavian of Kiev, and other archbishops and bishops. On July 30, 1914 he was appointed Bishop of Tomsk and Altai. [Curiously, my son Rowan, also a University of Minnesota graduate in History ended up in Tomsk too] He was a member of the State Duma convocation. He attended the 1917-18 All-Russian Church Council in Moscow. In 1919 he was one of the main organizers of *Teams of the Sacred Cross* in the White Army of Admiral Kolchak. (There is an interesting story about his involvement in the attempt to move precious icons and relics to the east) After the defeat of Kolchak’s armies, however, he remained in Russia. In 1920 he was appointed Bishop of Irkutsk.
In April 1922, St Anatole was arrested by the Bolsheviks, charged with concealing church property, and in July he was sentenced to execution. His sentence was commuted to 10 years imprisonment in strict isolation, and he was retired as Bishop. In 1924 he was released from prison, and re-appointed by Patriarch Tikhon as Archbishop of Irkutsk. However,the Provincial Administration refused to allow him to register as Archbishop of Irkutsk or to occupy his Cathedral, which was then in the hands of the Living Church. St Anatole therefore resided in Omsk.
His repose is variously dated November, 1924 or September 20, 1925. One account has him dying in Omsk: “He was vouchsafed a blessed repose in the altar of the Bratsk church during the Vigil for Sunday. Sensing the weakness of his heart, he said good-bye to all and, sitting in a chair as the choir was singing ‘Glory to God in the highest’ he quietly died.
Holy Hieromartyr Anatole, pray to God for us!
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