Native Americans may become the largest ethnic group in the American Orthodox Church

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LATIN AMERICA OF MY HEART

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“NATIVE AMERICANS MAY BECOME

THE LARGEST ETHNIC GROUP IN THE AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH.”

An interview with His Beatitude Jonah, Archbishop of Washington,

Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Source:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/33241.htm

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

In early December of 2009, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada (Orthodox Church of America) visited Russia to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the OCA’s representation in Moscow. Correspondent Miguel Palacio took the opportunity to talk with Metropolitan Jonah about the OCA’s presence in Latin America.

– Your Beatitude, in which Latin America countries is the Orthodox Church in America represented?

– Our jurisdiction extends to Mexico. We used to have parishes in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela as well, but one of them joined the Russian Church Abroad, while others simply closed.

Several communities in Latin America want to join the American Orthodox Church. We would be happy to receive these faithful people, but there would be no one to take care of them because we have very few clergymen who speak Spanish or Portuguese.

One priest, who I hope will soon become a bishop, began a mission in Ecuador, in the city of Guayaquil, where there is a large Palestinian colony. Unfortunately, his good initiative has fizzled out. I have heard that many Palestinians also live in Central American countries, one of which is El Salvador. It is curious, but they do not go to the Antiochian parishes, and are requesting to be received under our omophorion.

The Constantinople and Antiochian Patriarchates prefer to pastor the Greek and Arab diasporas. We do not understand this. The Church should give pastoral care first of all to its local spiritual children. This is our principle in the Orthodox Church in America.

– When was the Mexican exarchate organized?

– The Mexican exarchate has existed since the 1970’s. At that time, the Bishop of the Mexican national Old Catholic Church, Jose (Cortez-y-Olmos), strengthened contact with our Church and became Orthodox, together with his entire community. Thanks to his labors, hundreds of Mexicans have become immersed in the Orthodox Faith.

Not long ago, five thousand Native Americans from twenty-three areas in the state of Veracruz were baptized into Orthodoxy. However, there is only one priest to serve that entire mass of people. In general, the Mexican exarchate has very few clergymen. They are all Mexican, including the ruling hierarch, Bishop Alejo (Pacheco-Vera).

– Have you ever been to Latin America?

– I have only visited Mexico. Now I am getting ready to visit Guatemala. A friend of mine lives there — Abbess Ines (Ayau Garcia), the superior of the Holy Trinity Convent, which is under the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Patriarchate.

In Guatemala, a group of thousands of people who would like to become Orthodox have attracted my attention. Most of them are Mayan. If we take these Guatemalans in, as well as other members of the native Latin American population, then Native Americans may become the largest ethnic group in the American Orthodox Church. I, personally, would be very happy about that.

– I see that you sympathize with the original inhabitants of the American continent…

– I have the warmest feelings for Native Americans. I studied anthropology in the university, and was drawn to the Mayan and Aztec cultures. These were enormous, amazing civilizations.

I like Latin America as a whole — its art, music, literature, and cuisine. Latin Americans love life; they are open and hospitable people. I grew up in California — one of the most Hispanic states in the U.S. I was able to learn some Spanish from my Mexican friends (although I speak Spanish poorly). The priest who united me to the Orthodox Church was a Mexican. His name was Fr. Ramon Merlos.

– What does missionary work amongst Native Americans in the U.S. have in common with that amongst those of Latin America?

– To be honest, I do not yet know… Our Church has missionary experience in Alaska, where one remarkable priest serves — Archpriest Michael Oleksa, an anthropologist. He is a Carpatho-Russian; his wife comes from the indigenous Yupiks. Fr. Michael wants to conduct a conference of Orthodox Native Americans of America. This would be an extremely interesting event.

When Fr. Michael was rector of the seminary, he invited the Guatemalan community that was thirsting for Orthodoxy to send two members to receive a theological education. The idea was, of course, a good one. But people who are accustomed to a tropical climate are not likely to endure the freezing temperatures of Alaska.

– Are there Latin Americans amongst your parishioners in the U.S.?

– Of course there are. In California, thirty-five percent of the population is Latin American, and the percentage is even larger in Texas. There are Latinos both amongst the flock and the clergy in our Church. Studying in St. Tikhon Seminary is a Mexican with Native Americans roots, named Abraham. He has the obedience of sub-deacon. One sub-deacon in San Francisco is Colombian. At the end of November, I blessed a new convent dedicated to the Nativity of Christ in Dallas, the superior of which is Brazilian.

– What, do you suppose, attracts Latin Americans to Orthodoxy?

– Latinos love our Liturgy and icons; they are captivated by the deep veneration of the Mother of God within the Orthodox Church.

I have to say that the Catholic Church is quickly losing its influence in Latin America, and the reason for this is its close association with the upper social classes. A significant portion of the poorer classes, which make up the majority of the region, have become disillusioned with the Catholic pastors, and have aligned themselves with protestants, Mormons, and other sectarians.

Metropolitan Andres (Giron), the head of the St. Basil the Great Order of White Clergy in Guatemala, used to be a Catholic priest. He saw that his Church leaders were oriented towards the wealthy; in the 1990’s he left the Catholic Church, because he wanted to work for the people. Not long ago, Fr. Andres said to me, “I am old and ailing. Please take my people into your Church for the sake of their salvation.” It would be hard to call his community Orthodox, but it is gradually coming to know Orthodox teachings, and partaking of the traditions of the Orthodox Church. Besides those in Guatemala, Bishop Andres has opened parishes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities where his countrymen have settled.

– Are you not afraid of some conflict with the Catholic Church? After all, Latin America is still considered the “largest diocese of the Vatican.”

– There will not be any conflict. The Catholic Church relates to Orthodoxy with loyalty. Furthermore, I see no little potential for collaboration with the Catholic Church, first of all in the struggle against sectarianism.

Interview by Miguel Palacio

21 / 12 / 2009

Saint Priest-Martyr Vasily Martysz of Alaska, Canada & Poland (+1945) – 4 May

 

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Saint Priest-Martyr

Vasily Martysz of Alaska, Canada & Poland (+1945)

4 May

http://oca.org

ORTHODOX CHURCH OF AMERICA

The holy New Martyr Archpriest Vasily Martysz was born on February 20, 1874 in Tertyn, in the Hrubieszow region of southeastern Poland. His father Alexander was a judge in Molczyce near Pinsk. After his retirement, he was ordained a priest and became rector of a local parish.

EDUCATION

In 1884, at the age of ten, Vasily made a brief trip to New York with his father. His beautiful singing during a church service attracted the attention of Bishop Vladimir. The hierarch prophesied that young Vasily would become a priest, and promised that he would invite him to his diocese in America once he was ordained. After returning to his country, he remembered the bishop’s words, and decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a priest. He began his theological education at the seminary in Chelm, where the rector was Bishop Tikhon (Belavin), the future Patriarch of Moscow.

Immediately after graduating in July 1899, Vasily married Olga Nowik, and was ordained a deacon. On December 10, 1900 he was ordained a priest. That same month he left Breman for America. The young couple expected to be assigned to a parish in New York, but instead he was appointed to a parish in Alaska. Together with the newly-appointed Bishop Tikhon, he began his missionary service in the land of St Herman.

AMERICA

Orthodoxy had arrived in Alaska with the coming of the monastic mission from Valaam in 1794. At the start of the twentieth century, climatic and social conditions in this vast territory remained difficult. In his pastoral work, Fr Vasily met Russian settlers and indigenous inhabitants of the region, Eskimos and Aleuts. He also encountered gold rush pioneers quite often..

Fr Vasily’s first parish was extensive. He was headquartered on Afognak, but he was also responsible for the people on Spruce and Woody Islands near Continue reading “Saint Priest-Martyr Vasily Martysz of Alaska, Canada & Poland (+1945) – 4 May”

Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska (+1865) – The evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo & Athabascan peoples of Alaska

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ALASKA OF MY HEART

Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska (+1865)

The evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo & Athabascan peoples of Alaska

July 26

Saint Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of Alaska, was a native of the Aleutian Islands who became a priest of the Orthodox Church and continued the missionary work of St. Innocent among his and other Alaskan people. His feast day is celebrated on the day of his repose, July 26.

Father Jacob was born in 1802 on Atka Island, part of the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska. His father, Yegor Vasil’evich Netsvetov, was Russian from Tobolsk, Russia, and his mother, Maria Alekscevna, was an Aleut from Atka Island. Jacob was the eldest of four children who survived infancy. The others were Osip (Joseph), Elena, and Antony. Although not well off, Yegor and Maria did all they could to provide for their children and prepare them to live their lives. Osip and Antony were able to study at the St. Petersburg Naval Academy and then were able to become a naval officer and ship builder, respectively. Elena married a respected clerk with the Russian-American Company. Jacob chose a life with the Church and enrolled in the Irkutsk Theological Seminary.

On October 1, 1825, Jacob was tonsured a sub-deacon. He married Anna Simeonovna, a Russian woman perhaps of a Creole background as was he, and then in 1826 he graduated from the seminary with certificates in history and theology. With graduation he was ordained a deacon on October 31, 1826 and assigned to the Holy Trinity-St. Peter Church in Irkutsk. Two years later, Archbishop Michael ordained Jacob to the holy priesthood on March 4, 1828. Archbishop Michael had earlier ordained John Veniaminov (St. Innocent) to the priesthood. With his elevation to the priesthood, Father Jacob began to yearn to return to his native Alaska to preach the Word of God.

Upon departing, Archbishop Michael gave Father Jacob two antimensia, one for use in the new church that Father Jacob planned to build on Atka, and the other for use in Father Jacob’s missionary travels. After a molieben, Father Jacob and his party set off for Alaska on May 1, 1828. The travelers included Father Jacob, Anna his wife, and his father Yegor who had been tonsured reader for the new Atka Church. This journey, which was always hard, took over year to complete, which was completed on June 15, 1829.

Father Jacob’s new parish was a challenge. The Atka “parish” covered most of the islands and land surrounding the Bering Sea: Amchitka, Attu, Copper, Bering, and Kurile Islands. But, he was to meet the challenge as clothed in his priestly garments, he actively pursued his sacred ministry. To his parishioners, his love for God and them was evident in everything he did as he made his appearances while enduring the harsh weather, illness, hunger, and exhaustion. For him life was Christ. Being bi-lingual and bi-cultural, Father Jacob was uniquely able to care for the souls of his community.

Since St. Nicholas Church was not yet available, Father Jacob built a large tent in which to hold his services, and after the church was completed he took the tent with him on his missionary travels. By the end of 1829, six months after arriving at Akta Father Jacob had recorded 16 baptisms, 442 chrismations, 53 marriages, and eight funerals.

With the completion of the church on Atka, Father Jacob turned to education of the children, teaching them to read and write both Russian and Unangan Aleut. Initially the Russian-American Company helped support the school, but in 1841 the school was re-organized as a parish school. Many of his students would prove to be distinguished Aleut leaders. While living in the north areas was difficult, Father Jacob was active in the intellectual life as well; in addition to his own subsistence needs, he was active in collecting and preparing fish and marine animal specimens for the museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. He corresponded with St Innocent on linguistics and translation matters. He worked on an adequate Unangan-Aleut alphabet and translations of the Holy Scriptures and other church publications. In addition to praises from St. Innocent he began to receive awards for his services. In time he was elevated to Archpriest and received the Order of St. Anna.

Father Jacob’s life was not without its personal sufferings. 1836 and 1837 were to bring successively the death of his beloved wife Anna in March 1836, the destruction by fire of his home in July 1836, and the death of his father, Yegor, in 1837. After considering the message of these misfortunes, he petitioned his bishop to return to Irkutsk so that he could enter a monastic life. A year later he request was granted contingent on the arrival of his replacement. But none came. Soon Bishop Innocent arrived and invited Father Jacob to accompany him on a trip to Kamchatka. During the voyage Bishop Innocent seemed to have accomplished three things with Father Jacob: with the healing salve of the Holy Spirit provided words of comfort, dissuaded Father Jacob from entering a monastery, and revealed to the saintly priest the Savior’s true plan for his life that was for him to preach Christ to those deep in the Alaskan interior.

On December 30, 1844, St. Innocent appointed him head of the new Kvikhpak Mission to bring the light of Christ to the people along the Yukon River. With two young Creole assistants, Innokentii Shayashnikov and Konstantin Lukin, and his nephew Vasili Netsvetov, Father Jacob established his headquarters in the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Ikogmiute. From there, now known as Russian Mission, he traveled to the settlements for hundreds of miles along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers, visiting the inhabitants of settlements along the way. For the next twenty years he learned new languages, met new people and cultures, invented another alphabet, and built more churches and communities. At the invitation of the native leaders he traveled as far as the Innoko River baptizing hundreds from many, and often formerly hostile, tribes. He continued even as his health deteriorated.

Yet the devil’s presence came to stir up spurious and slanderous charges against him in 1863. To clear the air his Bishop Peter called him to Sitka where he was cleared of all the charges. As his health worsened he remained in Sitka serving at the Tlingit chapel until his death on July 26, 1864. He was 60 years old.

During his last missionary travels in the Kuskokwim/Yukon delta region he is remembered for baptizing 1,320 people and for distinguishing himself as the evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo and Athabascan peoples.

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 4)

O righteous Father Jacob,
Adornment of Atka and the Yukon Delta;
You offered yourself as a living sacrifice
To bring light to a searching people.
Offspring of Russian America,
Flower of brotherly unity,
Healer of sickness and terror of demons:
O Holy Father Jacob,
Pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion (Tone 3)

O Holy Father Jacob,
Teacher of the knowledge of God,
You revealed your love for your people,
Taking up your cross and following Christ,
Enduring hardships like the Apostle Paul.
Pray on our behalf to Christ our God
To grant us great mercy.

 

Video: The Relics of Saint Herman of Alaska, USA (+1836) – Valaam Press, 2006

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ALASKA OF MY HEART

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The Relics of Saint Herman of Alaska, USA (+1836)

Valaam Press, 2006

Video: ᐊᓛᓯᑲ Alaska – Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ Inuktitut Native American (Canada & Alaska)

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ALASKA OF MY HEART

NATIVE AMERICANS MET ORTHODOXY

CANADA OF MY HEART

ᐊᓛᓯᑲ Alaska – Orthodoxy

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ Inuktitut Native American (Canada & Alaska)

Video: WWII Evacuation Memorial – St. Paul Island, Alaska, USA

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ALASKA OF MY HEART

USA OF MY HEART

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WWII Evacuation Memorial – St. Paul Island, Alaska, USA

New State Museum Named for Orthodox Priest Opens in Juneau, Alaska, USA – James Brooks

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Alaska, USA

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New State Museum Named for Orthodox Priest Opens in Juneau, Alaska, USA

by James Brooks

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.comHERE

The writer evidently ‘forgot’ to mention that Andrew Kashevaroff was an Alaskan Orthodox priest, or that the current bishop of Alaska, Bishop David of Sitka and All Alaska, gave the invocation. May Fr. Andrew’s memory be eternal!

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After 12 years and about $140 million in development, Alaska has a new state museum.

The Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives and Museum, affectionately known as the SLAM, officially opened after an hourlong ceremony featuring speeches from state dignitaries and song and dance from the Harborview Elementary School Tlingit Culture and Language Literacy Program. Hundreds of people filled the plaza outside the new building, standing under a cloud-dappled sky that occasionally dropped rain showers. The clouds parted just as Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, rose to speak.

“This is a moment that will be marked in Alaska’s history by what is happening today,” Gov. Bill Walker told the crowd. “This building is absolutely phenomenal by what it represents.”

What it represents is a long-term commitment. Bob Banghart, deputy director of the state division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, has repeatedly said the new building — which combines the services of the capital’s museum, archives and library into one structure — can last 100 years.

The previous museum, built on the same location in time for the 1967 Alaska Centennial, lasted just shy of 50 years. It was torn down in 2014 as construction of the new building progressed.

“This building ate it,” Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott said of the old museum, “and it has digested it well.”

At 118,000 square feet, the SLAM is seven times as large as the old museum, and it was intended to have space for 50 years’ worth of new collections. The closure of the National Archives office in Anchorage took up some of that room with transferred items, but there’s plenty of room to grow.

The building is one of the last significant state projects to be funded with money collected and allocated in the 2008 oil boom.

“One thing I’ll say about this building: Timing is everything, and it was really good timing by somebody’s part. We can afford to cut the ribbon,” Walker said.

Many lawmakers were in attendance at the ceremony, and Mallott alluded to their presence and the state’s current fiscal situation.

He said the building

“celebrates what, if we make the right choices about our future in coming days, we can celebrate both collectively, symbolically and really when we say, Alaska can build the most beautiful edifices.”

Museum conservator Ellen Carrlee was in the audience, listening to the speeches given by the governor, lieutenant governor and eight others.

In her hands, she held a framed picture of the decorative panels that adorned the old museum. It was given to her by a friend on the new museum’s opening day to commemorate the years of work involved in the new building’s construction and outfitting.

“It’s a huge relief to finally be here,” she said. “It’s like studying for a big exam: You study and you study — you could always study a little more — but to have it be here is tremendous. It’s not all the way done, but we couldn’t keep people out any longer. People want in, they want to see it.”

When the Harborview students finished their dancing and cut the celebratory ribbon, a crowd surged through the museum’s front entrance and into the gallery.

In front of one case, Juneau resident and temporary museum employee Tanna Peters explained the artifact mounts she’s been working on for the past year and a half. Curators from across the state were brought to the museum two years ago to help move artifacts into storage and to draft plans for the displays that now make up the museum’s permanent gallery.

To a regular visitor, the gallery looks complete. To a curator’s eye, however, there’s still things to do. Peters pointed out one display, where two artifacts were slightly touching — a no-no where preservation is involved. Pull-out drawers in some display cases are still empty, and the vendors in charge of the museum bookstore and cafe have not yet moved in.

Banghart said, however, that for all intents and purposes, the museum is complete. There might be a few little things to fine-tune, but it’s nothing that will keep the public from enjoying it.

David Shumway and Ken Ratcliffe, standing in the permanent gallery, couldn’t help but agree. For the past several years, Shumway has worked as the project’s mechanical engineer. Ratcliffe was its electrical engineer.

“This is a one-in-a-lifetime project for us,” Ratcliffe said.

To understand why, you have to look inside the museum’s walls, at things a normal visitor will never see. Museums and archives demand precision care, even with something you might take for granted — like the way the air moves in the building.

“There’s five separate and distinct environments in one building that are almost unnoticeable except for the Archives; they’re at 55 degrees,” Shumway said.

To understand, Shumway offered a suggestion: stand in the lobby for a few minutes and feel the temperature and humidity. Next, walk into the gallery and do the same. It’s much more humid, and it’s designed that way to protect the artifacts.

The lighting operates under the same principle — bright and inviting in the lobby and open spaces, but dimmer in the display cases to protect light-sensitive objects.

Shumway said fine-tuning each element of the building will take a little while longer. Plans are one thing, but actually having people in the building is something else.

To 5-year-old Eddy Seifert, however, the only thing filling his eyes was the mining locomotive in one corner of the gallery, with a section of the trans-Alaska Pipeline System towering overhead.

“This is my favorite thing, because it’s new,” he said with arms outstretched, indicating the entire building.

His mother, Shannon, laughed.

“We just walked through the doors,” she said. “I’m amazed how huge this is. I can’t wait to explore all the little nooks and crannies.”

The state museum is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The state library and archives are open during working hours on weekdays.

Admission is $12, $11 for seniors and children are admitted free during the summer. A season pass is $25, according to a rate increase approved last year.

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