Excerpt: Richard Pierce on St. Peter the Aleut

Editor’s note: The late Dr. Richard A. Pierce was among the foremost historians on Russian Alaska, and his many books remain standards in the field. In 1990, he published Russian America: A Biographical Dictionary (Kingston, Ont., Canada: Limestone Press). Among the many entries in the book is one on St. Peter the Aleut (pages 397-398).…

Guest article on St. Peter the Aleut

  Editor’s note: The following guest article was written by Christopher Orr. Here are a few thoughts on the discussion about the historicity of the martyrdom account of St. Peter the Aleut kicked off by Fr. Oliver Herbel and continued by Matthew Namee on the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas’s OrthodoxHistory.org blog.…

18th century Russian bell in California

Yesterday, Isa Almisry made a great comment full of fascinating links and references. One of the most intriguing is this one, on a Russian bell housed at the Mission of San Fernando el Rey de Espana, located 40 miles from San Pedro (where St. Peter the Aleut was reportedly captured): A hundred-pound bell was unearthed…

Primary sources on St. Peter the Aleut

Given the recent discussion about St. Peter the Aleut, I thought it might be worthwhile to publish some of the primary sources we have for his story. As I explained on Monday, there are four main sources: The 1819 transcript from the deposition of Keglii Ivan, the only known eyewitness to St. Peter’s martyrdom. The 1820 report…

Is the St. Peter the Aleut story true?

Well, this has been interesting. Last week, I posted a link to an article Fr. Oliver Herbel wrote, entitled, “St. Peter the Aleut Did Not Exist.” As you can imagine, this sparked a very strong response from many readers, who challenged Fr. Oliver on several points. Some took issue with his historical arguments, while others…