All Saints of North America

  Yesterday we celebrated the feast of All Saints of North America. I’ve lifted the following right from Father’s bulletin (and if I have a further source I’ll post it when I find it). 

This icon was commissioned by His Grace Bishop DEMETRI for the Chapel of
Saints Peter and Paul (Midwest chancery of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian
Archdiocese of North America) in Toledo, Ohio. This icon is from the hand of
Diane Plaskon Koory. Mounted copies can be obtained from Conciliar Press, P.O.
Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005. St. John Maximovitch is on the right of the first
row. (SOURCE)
 
The
Saints of America

On
the second Sunday after Pentecost, each local Orthodox Church
commemorates all the saints, known and unknown, who have shone forth
in its territory. Accordingly, the Orthodox Church in America
remembers the saints of North America on this day.

Saints
of all times, and in every country are seen as the fulfillment of
God’s promise to redeem fallen humanity. Their example encourages us
to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us”
and to “run with patience the race that is set before us”
(Hebrews 12:1). The saints of North America also teach us how we
should live, and what we must expect to endure as Christians

Although
it is a relatively young church, the Orthodox Church in America has
produced saints in nearly all of the six major categories of saints:
Apostles (and Equals of the Apostles); Martyrs (and Confessors);
Prophets; Hierarchs; Monastic Saints; and the Righteous. Prophets, of
course, lived in Old Testament times and predicted the coming of
Christ.

The
first Divine Liturgy in what is now American territory (northern
latitude 58 degrees, 14 minutes, western longitude 141 degrees) was
celebrated on July 20, 1741, the Feast of the Prophet Elias, aboard
the ship Peter under the command of Vitus Bering. Hieromonk Hilarion
Trusov and the priest Ignatius Kozirevsky served together on that
occasion. Several years later, the Russian merchant Gregory I.
Shelikov visited Valaam monastery, suggesting to the abbot that it
would be desirable to send missionaries to Russian America.

On
September 24, 1794, after a journey of 7,327 miles (the longest
missionary journey in Orthodox history) and 293 days, a group of
monks from Valaam arrived on Kodiak Island in Alaska. The mission was
headed by Archimandrite Joasaph, and included Hieromonks Juvenal,
Macarius, and Athanasius, the Hierodeacons Nectarius and Stephen, and
the monks Herman and Joasaph. St Herman of Alaska (December
13, August 9), the last surviving member of the mission, fell asleep
in the Lord in 1837.

Throughout
the Church’s history, the seeds of faith have always been watered by
the blood of the martyrs. The Protomartyr Juvenal was killed
near Lake Iliamna by natives in 1799, thus becoming the first
Orthodox Christian to shed his blood for Christ in the New World. In
1816, St Peter the Aleut was put to death by Spanish
missionaries in California when he refused to convert to Roman
Catholicism.

Missionary
efforts continued in the nineteenth century, with outreach to the
native peoples of Alaska. Two of the most prominent laborers in
Christ’s Vineyard were St Innocent Veniaminov (March 31 and
October 6) and St Jacob Netsvetov (July 26), who translated
Orthodox services and books into the native languages. Father Jacob
Netsvetev died in Sitka in 1864 after a life of devoted service to
the Church. Father John Veniaminov, after his wife’s death, received
monastic tonsure with the name Innocent. He died in 1879 as the
Metropolitan of Moscow.

As
the nineteenth century was drawing to a close, an event of enormous
significance for the North American Church took place. On March 25,
1891, Bishop Vladimir went to Minneapolis to receive St Alexis
Toth
(May 7) and 361 of his parishioners into the Orthodox
Church. This was the beginning of the return of many Uniates to
Orthodoxy.

St
Tikhon (Belavin)
, the future Patriarch of Moscow (April 7,
October 9), came to America as bishop of the diocese of the Aleutians
and Alaska in September 1898. As the only Orthodox bishop on the
continent, St Tikhon traveled extensively throughout North America in
order to minister to his widely scattered and diverse flock. He
realized that the local church here could not be a permanent
extension of the Russian Church. Therefore, he focused his efforts on
giving the American Church a diocesan and parish structure which
would help it mature and grow.

St
Tikhon returned to Russia in 1907, and was elected as Patriarch of
Moscow ten years later. He died in 1925, and for many years his exact
burial place remained unknown. St Tikhon’s grave was discovered on
February 22, 1992 in the smaller cathedral of Our Lady of the Don in
the Don Monastery when a fire made renovation of the church
necessary.

St
Raphael of Brooklyn
(February 27) was the first Orthodox bishop
to be consecrated in North America. Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny
was consecrated by Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky) at
St Nicholas Cathedral in New York on March 13, 1904. As Bishop of
Brooklyn, St Raphael was a trusted and capable assistant to St Tikhon
in his archpastoral ministry. St Raphael reposed on February 27,
1915.

In
the twentieth century, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution,
countless men, women, and children received the crown of martyrdom
rather than renounce Christ. Sts John Kochurov (October 31)
and Alexander Hotovitzky (December 4 and August 7) both served
the Church in North America before going back to Russia. St John
became the first clergyman to be martyred in Russia on October 31,
1917 in St Petersburg. St Alexander Hotovitzky, who served in America
until 1914, was killed in 1937.

St.
John (Maximovitch)
of San Francisco (July 2) was a holy,
wonderworking Russian bishop in the Far East, Europe and America. He
departed this life in honor and veneration in 1966 in San Francisco
at his cathedral church of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow.
He has worked many intercessory miracles since his blessed repose and
is venerated by Orthodox far and wide.

In
addition to the saints listed above, we also honor those saints who
are known only to God, and have not been recognized officially by the
Church. As we contemplate the lives of these saints, let us remember
that we are also called by God to a life of holiness.

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