ST HERMAN SEMINARY: Alaska (Pt 7) April 10, 2006

In these turbulent but expectant times, it is a blessing to know that “joy comes in the morning.” God is with us! Here, the sun rises over the bay in Kodiak:

May we be mindful of the needs of others. And, truly, I can think a few institutions more worthy of our support than St Herman Seminary, Kodiak, Alaska.

Case in point, see these domes over the seminary chapel? They are no longer. Look closely and you’ll notice the rear one leaning. During my recent visit, the domes — which had recently sustained 140 MPH winds — were removed. The wood foundation was weak and worn. New domes will eventually need to be installed to restore the chapel to its former beauty in the small town of Kodiak.

The interior of the chapel is glorious! It is a log structure, inside and out, and would look perfect in the mountains of Western North Carolina! 🙂
More than that, it is the anchor of the small community of seminarians who struggle together at St Herman’s.

The Dean of St Herman’s, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, and I have known each other a long time. We’re both Nashotah alums and earned our DMins together through the Antiochian House of Studies & Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He’s shown here introducing me for their first annual Lenten Retreat.

That would be me.

Here’s some of the seminarians gathered for our Lenten Workshop, the first evening of the Retreat. The majority of seminarians are native Alaskans who will end up serving in villages where the unemployment rate is often as high as 85%.

One special offering at St Herman’s is the opportunity to learn iconography under the able tutelage of Matushka Thekla.

The daily life of the community is centered around prayer: Matins in the morning, the Hours at Noon, and Vespers in the evening. During Lent, the Presanctified Liturgy is served on Wednesday evenings at Holy Resurrection Cathedral and on Friday mornings in the seminary chapel.

One of the natural joys while I was there was seeing the sunlight filter in each day as we approached the end of Matins. Sunlight, in general, is a welcomed sight in this part of the world!

As mentioned above, the chapel now stands dome-less.

Food prep; preparing to break the Eucharistic fast.

Following Wednesday’s Presanctified, the seminarians, along with the residents of St Innocent’s Academy and Cathedral faithful, gather at St Herman’s Refectory for food and fellowship.

Here’s a portion of the seminary community, gathered in the Cathedral following a Presanctified service. The struggles are great. (Really.) A great deal of Fr Chad’s time and efforts are spent hopping all over the Lower 48 garnering support for the seminary. The men who are trained here rely on our support. They will venture into villages where the Orthodox Faith has long been planted, but unemployment and other social maladies reign. Non-Orthodox groups, hoping to introduce the native peoples to “the Gospel,” have also made serious gains — increasing the struggles of the Orthodox. The Orthodox Christian Faith was brought to Alaska over 200 years ago. We cherish the memory of St Herman, St Innocent, St Juvenally, and St Peter the Aleut. Yet their witness relies on our continued support.

Your help, large or small, will be a wonderful blessing!

St Herman Theological Seminary
414 Mission Road
Kodiak, Alaska 99615

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