Bishop Luke visits Alaska

The Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sitka and Alaska held its annual clergy retreat in Anchorage from Friday March 8th through Sunday, March 10th hosted by His Grace ALEXEI, Bishop of Sitka and Alaska. As a special guest, His Grace LUKE, Bishop of Syracuse and Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, led our retreat meditations, speaking on the theme “Confessing Holy Orthodoxy.”  

The retreat commenced with a solemn and joyful All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy served at Saint Tikhon’s Russian Orthodox Church in South Anchorage.  The resplendent service included a universal memorial for all the Orthodox Faithful departed.  Vladyka Alexei offered fervent prayers and blessed koliva for the departed in anticipation of the Sunday of the Last Judgment.

Following the beautiful vigil, St. Tikhon’s faithful hosted the Hierarchs, clergy and faithful to a delicious late-night feast including many Alaskan delicacies like smoked salmon and moose meat.      
 
Saturday morning, Vladyka Luke began his presentation to the clergy brotherhood, his main theme being the dogma of the Church. Vladyka Luke first presented the heroic life and work of St. Job of Pochaev, who was responsible for defending and confessing the faith in Carpatho-Russia, a region much like Alaska flooded by well-funded missionaries and sects trying to proselytize Orthodox faithful.  Vladyka Luke also highlighted the teachings of St. Hilarion Troitsky, whose writings delineate the boundaries of the Church and emphasize that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church, the Body of Christ,  according to the Holy Fathers to be a true Christian  Vladyka Luke also Cleary explained the false “branch theory” ecclesiology and highlighted some of the excesses found in the ecumenical movement.  His presentation encouraged the clergy to “fight the good fight” and continue their pastoral and missionary labors in the face of challenges brought by the heterodox. 

At the end of the lectures Vladyka Alexei gifted each clergyman with two flags to hang in their parishes, one emblazoned with the Crest of the Diocese, one bearing the icon of the holy Martyr Saint Peter the Aleut, quoting his immortal words: “I am an Orthodox Christian and I will not betray my Faith.”

Following Vladyka Luke’s fortifying presentation, clergy attended All-Night Vigil and Sunday-morning Liturgy at St. Innocent of Irkutsk Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Following the  Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, a triennial anniversary celebration was held in honor of Vladyka Alexei’s ongoing archpastoral spiritual care.  

A highlight of the celebration was a captivating performance of traditional dancing by the Anchorage Unangax Dancers who all received a blessing from His Grace on this special occasion.

On Monday Vladyka Alexei and Vladyka Luke journeyed to Kodiak Island in order to make pilgrimage to Saint Herman’s Monk’s Lagoon and offer encouraging words to the seminarians of Saint Herman’s Seminary.  During his Tuesday talks Vladyka Luke emphasized the need for seminarians to become true concerned pastors and hold fast to the deposit of Faith.  He also recounted stories about the Russian Royal Martyrs Nicholas and Alexandra, in order to inspire piety and Christ-centered family life.  

The two Hierarchs were blessed with sunny weather crossing the sub-Arctic waters of the Shelikof Strait to arrive safely at the stillness and quiet of Monk’s Lagoon, which our Venerable Father Herman sanctified by his holy prayers and ascetic struggles.

Both Hierarchs offered prayers at the holy sites, and returned to Kodiak where Vladyka Luke venerated the relics of St Herman and served a moleben to commemorate all his monastics, seminarians and faithful.

Source: https://odosa.org/news/clergy-retreat -  With edits made at Holy Trinity Monastery

Bishop Luke visits Alaska - 03/10/2024

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