The life & Icons of Saint Martyr Peter the Aleut
of Alaska & San Francisco, USA
Spruce Island, Alaska, USA
A pilgrimage to the Athos of America
ALASKA OF MY HEART
NATIVE AMERICANS MET ORTHODOXY
AMERICA OF MY HEART
Glorification of the Venerable Herman of Alaska,
Wonderworker of All America
OCA – ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America. A spiritual mission was organized in 1793, made up of monks of the Valaam Monastery. They were sent to preach the Word of God to the native inhabitants of northwestern America, who only ten years before had come under the sovereignty of Russia. St Herman was among the members of this Mission.
St Herman came from a family of merchants of Serpukhov, a city of the Moscow Diocese. His name before he was tonsured, and his family name are not known. (The monastic name is given when a monk takes his vows). He had a great zeal for piety from youth, and at sixteen he entered monastic life. (This was in 1772, if we assume that Herman was born in 1756, although sometimes 1760 is given as the date of his birth.) First he entered the Trinity-Sergius Hermitage which was located near the Gulf of Finland on the Peterhof Road, about 15 versts (about 10 miles) from St Petersburg.
MIRACULOUS HEALING OF HERMAN
At the St Sergius Hermitage there occurred the following incident to Father Herman. On the right side of his throat under his chin there appeared an abscess. The swelling grew rapidly, disfiguring his face. It became difficult for Continue reading “Glorification of the Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America”
AMERICA OF MY HEART
Native American Pathways to Orthodoxy
ST LUKE ORTHODOX
I first felt the words of Christ come to life on a Pueblo Native American reservation in New Mexico, at “Ok’Ay Oh Ween Geh,” (Place of the Strong People.) The first time I stepped into the home of my Pueblo friend I was told, “This is not just my home, it is yours, too. And know that you always have a place to come home to, no matter how long it takes you to return.” How Christ-like this Indian elder was. The more our friendship grew, the more I was able to admire his goodness. Once I even saw him give the last of his money to an enemy. I also began to learn more of his people’s history. When the Spanish first came to the Southwest they called the Native Americans pagans. By force the colonizers converted them to Catholicism. They severely beat and hung many tribal leaders unless they allowed themselves to be baptized, immediately. They were made slaves. They were given Spanish names. “The Continue reading “Native American Pathways to Orthodoxy – Marriane Poulos”
Facebook: Native American Orthodox Christians
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
After 87 years at the Smithsonian,
bones of Alaska Natives returned and reburied
Anthropologists once excavated the graves of thousands of Native Americans. Now museums in the U.S. are slowly working to return those remains and funerary objects to tribes.
A village in southwest Alaska recently reburied 24 of their ancestors who had been excavated by a Smithsonian anthropologist in 1931.
About half of the village of Igiugig crowded into the Russian Orthodox Church in the center of town on a drizzly fall day. In the center of the nave sat three handmade, wooden coffins that held the bones from the now-abandoned settlement of Kaskanak.
The remains were unearthed by Aleš Hrdlička, who was the head of the anthropology department in what is now the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The question of how people originally came to North America and from where drove Hrdlička to dig up the bones of Native Americans all around the United States. Historians estimate that he took thousands to Washington, D.C., for research.
After more than eight decades in the museum’s collection, Igiugig’s ancestors finally returned home for reburial.
NATIVE AMERICANS MET ORTHODOXY
Saint Matushka Olga Michael of Alaska (+1979)
Archpriest Nicolai O Michael (1912-1984) and Saint Matushka Olga Michael of Alaska (1916-1979)
Notes about the lives of the Archpriest Nicolai O Michael and his wife, Matushka Olga (Arrsamquq) Michael, are presented in the context of Canadian Orthodox biographies, even though neither of them had any direct personal contact with Canada. Nevertheless, details of their lives parallel those of many of the Orthodox Canadian clergy of the earlier part of the 20th century. More importantly, the presenting of their lives can help us to understand how the Lord works in different ways with two Christ-loving and Christ-serving people, in order to help, encourage and console others. In this case, the Lord seems to have extended Matushka Olga’s loving service and care for others far beyond her own village, in ways which convince many people that she is truly holy, truly a saint. The “Canadian connexion” in this regard concerns the many Canadians who are certain that “Mother Olga” is praying for them, and that as a result, help and healing have come from the Lord.
Nicolai O Michael
Nicolai O Michael was born in the village of Kwethluk in Alaska, USA, on 24 August, 1912. The available details of his life were written by his grand-daughter, Olga (Michael) McGill. Kwethluk is located at the confluence of the Kuskokwim and Kwethluk rivers in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The constantly changing channel of the river gives the village its name. “Kwethluk” is derived from the Yup’ik words “kuik”, meaning “river”, and “-rrluk”, meaning “bad, unnatural”. “Nicolai”, writes his grand-daughter, “was a very caring person, and well known throughout the delta. He loved to fish and hunt. He also herded reindeer, which were used both as pack animals and as food for the community”.
Marriage ; seminary ; parish service
Nicolai married his wife, Olga (Arrsamquq), who was often called “Olinka”, an affectionate Russian form of her name. This marriage was an arranged marriage ; and at the beginning, communication between the two was difficult. Nicolai was not yet a particularly “churchly” man. Together, they received from the Lord 13 children, of whom only 8 survived to adulthood. His grand-daughter wrote that he was a strict father. Earlier in his life, Nicolai started the first US Post Office and General Store in Kwethluk, where he was the manager. All along, Olga was praying for her husband. After a time, he began to attend church, and he and 6 other village men became church readers. They then attended Saint Herman’s Seminary in Kodiak, and all but one were then ordained to the Holy Priesthood. Very many of the former Russian and American clergy had by this time left their parishes, and the parish-circuits remained vacant for a long time. It is useful to understand that it was the pressing and particular local need that caused the establishment of Saint Herman’s Seminary in 1972. This process of depletion had begun with the sale of Alaska to the USA, and it was increased by pressures from the strongly-Protestant-minded government which followed. It was just after the transfer of Bishop Theodosius (Lazor) from the diocese that the Archpriest Joseph Kreta made the proposal to establish the seminary, and that this proposal was blessed by the Holy Synod of Bishops of The Orthodox Church in America.
Father Nicolai was the very first priest in the village of Kwethluk, and when he returned to serve Kwethluk, he became greatly beloved by the people. It is important to understand that before she became a matushka, Olga was continuously praying for a long time for her husband and for her village. During her lifetime, 85 percent of the students (7 of 8) who went to Saint Herman’s Seminary came from Blessed Olga’s tiny village, Kwethluk, which had a Continue reading “Saint Matushka Olga Michael of Alaska (+1979)”