Source: Orthodox Church in America
SPRINGFIELD, VA [OCA] December 10, 2023, the Sunday before the feast day of Saint Herman of Alaska, is the second annual collection for the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of Alaska.
His Grace Bishop Alexei spoke at 20th All-American Council in Baltimore, MD where he detailed the serious challenges facing the OCA’s mother diocese. The council passed a resolution to support the Alaskan Diocese in their difficult situation:
“Whereas Alaska is the cradle of Orthodoxy in America: Be it resolved that the 20th AAC asks the Holy Synod of Bishops to designate annually the Sunday closest to the December feast of Saint Herman, for a free-will collection from each parish in the Orthodox Church in America to support the Diocese of Alaska Clergy Endowment.”
Your donation goes towards building a $1M endowment to provide clergy stipends in the diocese. In His Grace’s letter of appeal, he updated the faithful that the endowment project has raised $600,000, over half of the target amount, and will be named the Blessed Matushka Olga Endowment for Clergy Stipends, in honor of her upcoming glorification. An anonymous donor has also agreed to match any donations given up to $50,000 between now and December 31, 2023.
The Diocese of Alaska is the birthplace of the Orthodox Christianity in North America. The entire Orthodox Church in America owes a debt to the Church in Alaska for its continuous faith and witness since Saint Herman and the first missionaries arrived in 1794. To this day, God is revealing new saints, such as Matushka Olga Michael, who lived in Alaska and now intercede for us before Christ.
In gratitude to the Alaskan faithful, and in love toward our fellow brothers and sisters in need, parishes of the OCA are asked to give generously on December 10, 2023.
For more information, read the full text of His Grace’s appeal below:
Sunday, December 10th, 2023
Week of the Repose of Saint Herman of Alaska
Dear Faithful and Clergy of the Orthodox Church in America,
I am writing to you, brothers and sisters in Christ, in order to express on behalf of the Alaskan Native clergy our deep thankfulness and appreciation for your love, your prayers, your kindness and your generosity to your Mother Diocese of Sitka and Alaska. At the All-American Council in 2022, I asked for your assistance in establishing an endowment for my rural Alaskan clergy with salaries $26,000 below the poverty line for a family of four. In December of the same year, I sent out an appeal for your help. And by the grace of God touching the human heart, you responded to your brothers and sisters in need as though you were responding to Christ Himself. Glory to God in the highest, I am so happy to report to you that to date we have raised $600,000 of our initial goal of a million-dollar endowment!
Given the joyous tidings of Blessed Matushka Olga’s upcoming glorification, the endowment you have been contributing to will be known as the Blessed Matushka Olga Endowment for Clergy Stipends. We pray that she bless from on high everyone who has given what they can. Blessed Matushka Olga lived in conditions like those of our clergy. She did so with humility, piety, and love for all. She faithfully gave her widow’s mite in every way possible to support the Church and those in need. As we move towards the glorification of this holy Matushka, I ask that we honor her by imitating her love, her humility, and her eagerness to give to those in need far and wide.
Ours is a God Who works wonders. Ours is God Who is wonderful in His Saints. Ours is a God Who is wonderful in the people of God. I believe it is possible by the grace of God and by the generosity of the faithful across North America that we reach our goal of one million dollars by the feast of Nativity. And so, I humbly ask that you remember Alaska as you each prepare to offer your own offering of gold frankincense and myrrh to the new-born King.
An anonymous donor has generously agreed to match any donations given up to $50,000 between now and December 31 st thereby doubling the impact of whatever your heart leads you to give. On our stewardship page, you can make your donation by means of Tithely, Paypal, or by sending your check to Diocese of Sitka & Alaska PO BOX 230108, Anchorage, AK 99523. Please remember the Diocese in any way you can, but especially I ask that you remember our priests and matushki who continue to labor for Christ as did the Blessed Matushka Olga and her husband Father Nicholai some fifty years ago. May the blessings of the Alaskan Saints and Matushka Olga be with all of you at Christmas.
With gratitude in the God-made flesh of the most Pure Virgin,