St. Innocent’s first homily as Metropolitan of Moscow

After the death of St. Philaret Drozdov, St. Innocent, the former missionary to Alaska and Siberia, was chosen to be his replacement as Metropolitan of Moscow. Below is his first pastoral address as Metropolitan, given in Moscow’s Dormition (Assumption) Cathedral on May 26, 1868 — 142 years ago today. The address was printed in the…

Film on Yup’ik Orthodox of Alaska in development

A young filmmaker, Dmitry Trakovsky, is working on a really exciting project: a documentary on the Orthodox Yup’ik people of Alaska. Here’s how Trakovsky describes the film on his fundraising page at Kickstarter.com: This feature-length documentary embarks on a voyage down the murky waters of the Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers of southwestern Alaska, to the…

A Connecticut Yankee in the Tsarina’s Domain

It may come as a surprise to learn that one of the earliest descriptions of Orthodox worship in Alaska comes not from the pen of a Russian missionary or fur trader, but from that of a young Anglo-American explorer who visited the “Great Land” in 1778, sixteen years before the first missionaries arrived in Kodiak.…

This week in American Orthodox history (March 26-April 1)

March 29, 1859: Fr. Peter Ekaterinovsky (aka Lysakov) was consecrated in Irkutsk, in Siberia, and given the title Bishop of New Archangel (Sitka), Alaska. He was about 38 years old. His predecessor was St. Innocent Veniaminov, who had initially been based in Sitka as diocesan bishop. In 1852, the diocesan seat was moved to Siberia,…

A New Documentary on Alaskan Orthodoxy

It is with pleasure that I announce to all of you a new, forthcoming documentary on Orthodoxy among the Yup’ik by Dmitry Trakovsky.  Here is the press release: ARCTIC CROSS PRESS RELEASE After you’ve read that, if you’d like a foretaste, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GseuuXrGQoY Please consider supporting him in his endeavor.

St. Herman and Fr. Alexander

Today, December 13, is the New Calendar feast day of St. Herman of Alaska. A year ago on this feast, we reprinted a life of St. Herman written by Vera Johnston and published in 1919. To read (or re-read) that biography, click here. Today is also the 28th anniversary of the death of Fr. Alexander…

19th Century Alaskan Orthodox Calendar to be Auctioned

On Facebook, my friend (and historian of Alaskan Orthodoxy) Eric Peterson posted a link to an article on the impending (June 26) auction of a rare Alaskan Orthodox “peg calendar,” dating to the late 19th century. In the article, Fr. Michael Oleksa explained, “I think the average lay person kept track of the feast days of…

Bishop Nestor appeals to President Hayes, 1880

The following article appeared in the New York Times on March 23, 1880, detailing an early communication between Nestor Zass, the Russian Bishop of Alaska and the Rutherford B. Hayes, the President of the United States. WASHINGTON, March 22. — On Saturday last the President received a letter from Bishop Nestor, of the Greek Church,…

The Kodiak Bell in the LA Times, 1923

Editor’s note: The following article appeared in the Los Angeles Times on May 13, 1923, and was entitled, “Tolls Story of Old California.” An old and battered bell, hanging in an orange grove where Ramona played in the days of her childhood, rang a new note in the song of California’s mission history yesterday. After…