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From the Desk of Bishop DAVID                            Around the Diocese
Supreme Court’s Decision on Marriage

As many of you know by now on Friday, June 26th the Supreme Court of our country issued a 5-4 decision to overturn all bans of same-sex marriage by states and affirmed this union as being a constitutional right. In effect the court has ruled, in finality as all decisions of the Supreme Court are, that same-sex marriage can be legally performed by all states in our country.  

This does not change the situation for us as Orthodox Christians.  We will still uphold the Biblical Standard that Marriage is between one man and one woman, the Supreme Court’s decision does not change that basic truth.  

As your bishop, I will give no blessing for any marriage outside of the traditional marriage of one man and one woman.  Even though same-sex marriage is “legal,” there will be no same sex marriages in our parishes. I would encourage you all to re-read the 2013 Statement from the Episcopal Assembly of Bishops on Marriage. That can be found by going to this link:

2013 Assembly Statement on Marriage and Sexuality

I will say that most arguments against same sex marriage are not strong arguments.  Can we deny that those couples do not feel love?  Can we say they will make bad parents, or downgrade a community by their presence?  The evidence says otherwise.  The starting point for any discussion on marriage must begin in the “Sacred Function” Argument. Men and women are given certain “Sacred Functions” that only they can fulfill, when they were created.  Those functions are not subjective, but exist in the objective understanding of each person qua person as man or woman.  Clergy from the diocese should feel free to read the Statement from the Episcopal Assembly if they deem that it would be helpful to their parishes.  

Your servant of Servants,

+ David, Bishop of Sitka and Alaska

Message to Faithful of Holy Resurrection Cathedral

Few incidents in life will affect us as deeply as those that violate what we hold Sacred. To see the Sacred space where our prayers are offered together, where we have been baptized, married, and have brought our loved ones for their final visit, in any form of disarray and brokenness is hard to look at or speak of. So when this horrible act was discovered, you all came together, as a loving community of Christians and responded. You were not looking for notoriety or fame, or even reward; you were just looking to do whatever you could to help begin the healing process that needs to happen to restore your Sacred Space. It was an act of love for God and your "home". I want you all to know how deeply grateful I am for you dedication and love for Holy Resurrection Cathedral and Kodiak. I offer my unworthy prayers on your behalf before our Loving God that He will guide you and send you comfort in the coming difficult days. I recall the words of Pascha for all of us to remember, "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, let those who hate Him flee from before His face." May His love give you strength and hope, as St. Paul encourages us, "So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal." II Cor. 4:16-18]

45th Annual St. Herman Pilgrimage Schedule Posted

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Saint Herman of Alaska pilgrimage in Kodiak. The pilgrimage is hosted annually by Holy Resurrection Cathedral and includes a trip to Spruce Island. The schedule of this years events and services can be found here:

2015 St. Herman Pilgrimage Schedule

Kodiak’s Holy Resurrection Cathedral vandalized

KODIAK, AK [OCA] Kodiak At 8:19 p.m. on the evening of Wednesday, June 10, 2015, Archpriest Innocent Dresdow was startled to receive a call from Kodiak Police Dispatch. Asked to meet police officers at Holy Resurrection Cathedral, he was told not to go into or near the church, as it was “an active crime scene.” “I arrived on scene at 8:25 p.m. and met up with responding officers across the street from the cathedral,” Father Innocent said in the initial report he sent to His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka. “The lead officer related to me that the cathedral had been broken into and that a suspect had been apprehended in the church yard. He called the damage to the interior of the church ‘severe.’” Kodiak Father Innocent did not recognize the suspect’s name, but he was told that he “was fairly new to town.” “Once detectives allowed me to enter the cathedral, I was able to view the damage first-hand and answer any contextual questions,” Father Innocent continued. “There was broken glass everywhere. Curiously, a cruise ship had been in Kodiak earlier on Wednesday and hundreds of tourists had visited the cathedral. At the candle stand was a money plate with cash donations, but it was untouched. It appears that the suspect targeted only the most sacred things—the windows were the only ‘non-holy’ items damaged.” Kodiak While the relics of Saint Herman of Alaska, which are enshrined in the cathedral, were not disturbed, Father Innocent noted that seeing the reliquary brought him “to tears.” Saint Herman’s skufia and wrought iron cross and chains were in disarray and displayed no visible damage; his monastic cross clearly had been vandalized. “Prayer requests that pilgrims had left at the reliquary were scattered on the floor, but there was no visible damage to the carved reliquary,” Father Innocent added. “Fortunately, the locks on the interior coffin were undisturbed.” The greatest damage occurred in the cathedral’s altar. Kodiak “While the Table of Oblation remained untouched, there was a great deal of damage to the Holy Altar Table and High Place,” said Father Innocent. “The Gospel Book sustained substantial damage and was open, while the primary antimension was found on the floor, wrinkled but otherwise undisturbed. The Holy Chrism bottle was broken, but the altar crosses—gifts from His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian—had been bent. Since the Reserved Mysteries had been strewn on the floor—apparently the tabernacle and its plexiglas dust cover had hit the floor when the altar cover was ripped away—I meticulously cleaned the floor of every particle I could locate and placed them in a chalice with a little wine and warm water, knowing that there was certainly some glass and other contaminates, and consumed them.” Kodiak Other items—additional antimensia, liturgical fans, icons, censers, vestments, etc.—were strewn about but did not sustain permanent damage. A bloodied garden shovel, apparently used in the initial break-in, was found at the front door and taken by detectives as evidence. “By midnight all the windows were boarded up and as much glass as possible had been picked up, swept and vacuumed by not only cathedral faithful, but also others from the community at large,” said Father Innocent.” “Fortunately, nothing was lost, but there is much that is damaged,” said Bishop David. “I ask your prayers for Father Innocent and the cathedral family, the investigators and the perpetrator.”

From the Diocesan Archives

Diocesan Archivist Daria Safranova Simeonoff has posted part 1 from the travel journals of Hieromonk Anatolli in the late 1890's which gives a beautiful account of visiting Spruce Island.

Read the article here at the seminary website

Ancient Faith Radio

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