September 24, 2019

Synaxis of All Saints of Alaska

On September 24, 1794, the first formal Orthodox Mission in North America was established in Kodiak. Annually on this day, the saints who are associated with the coming of Orthodoxy to America in the Russian colony of Alaska are commemorated.

The icon of the synaxis (from left to right) shows:

- St. Herman who arrived on September 24 and who fell asleep on Spruce Island in 1837
- St. Jacob who was the first native born Orthodox priest (+ 1864)
- St. Peter the Aleut who was a native convert martyred by Catholics in California (+ 1815)
- St. Juvenal who arrived with St. Herman and was martyred by the local Indians in 1796
- St. Innocent who arrived in 1823 and did extensive evangelization and organizational work

Today is also set aside as the Feast Day of the Holy Martyrs Juvenal and Peter.

These men and many others (hundreds had already be baptized by Russian laymen prior to 1794) through the guidance of the Holy Spirit laid a foundation of Orthodoxy in America.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Today Alaska rejoices and America celebrates, for the new world has been sanctified by martyrdom. Kodiak echoes with songs of thanksgiving, Iliamna and Kenai observe the festival of faith. The Apostle and martyr Juvenaly is glorified, and Peter the Aleut is exalted by his voluntary sacrifice. In their devotion and love for the Lord, they willingly endured persecution and death for the truth. Now in the Kingdom of Heaven they intercede for our souls!

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Today Valaam joins Alaska, in celebrating this joyous feast, as her spiritual son Juvenaly, embraces the new martyr Peter with love. Together they suffered for the Lord in America, and united the old world with the new by their voluntary sacrifice. Now forever they stand before the King of glory and intercede for our souls.