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Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175104 08/08/02 08:17 PM
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Gerard Serafin Offline
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Come, Holy Spirit!

You have raised some very interesting points.

Can you share which OCA bishop provided you with the information that St. Peter the Aleut didn’t exist? Unless your bishop friend is willing to be quoted publicly his testimony is worthless.


I never claimed an Orthodox bishop provided information that Peter the Aleut never existed. What I said was this:

I mentioned this on an internet mailing list and an Orthodox bishop (OCA) wrote me suggesting that Peter the Aleut probably never existed.

The Bishop, Seraphim (Sigrist), went on to say that the story might have arisen from an Aleut dying of malaria or a fever in a California prison - or something along those lines.

This triggered my desire to know more and find out just what the facts were in this case.

Can you also tell us if the OCA has done any research on the existence of this saint and whether it has made any official rulings?

I tried to search down any official Acta - to no avail. Perhaps someone else can find them and share them. I have exhausted every route I know to get anything official from the OCA.

I wonder what reason they provided you when you inquired if Metropolitan Theodosius had really omitted him on purpose of if is was just a slight of tongue?

I just mentioned this. As I read the primatial address of Metropolitan Theodosius he spoke of those saints of American glorified in recent times during his years of service. He was elected Metropolitan in 1977, I believe. Peter the Aleut was glorified, I believe, in 1980. Thus the omission struck me as somewhat significant. He lists five others by name, all glorified while he was Metropolitan.

I suggest that we respect any research done by the OCA on this issue until other research proves otherwise.

As I said, I would love to see any official documentation on the life of Peter the Aleut and if you find it I would look forward to reading it.

My own research has turned up serious questions to the veracity of the story as is commonly told and given in hagiographical materials.

But I am always willing to learn and revise my opinions and even take anyone out to dinner who can give some verifiable information!

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175105 08/08/02 08:35 PM
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Gerard wrote:
I tried to search down any official Acta - to no avail. Perhaps someone else can find them and share them. I have exhausted every route I know to get anything official from the OCA.


Did you contact the OCA? Did they respond? This is surprising because in my (limited) experience in contacting the OCA they have always been most helpful and responded promptly.

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175106 08/08/02 08:55 PM
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Gerard Serafin Offline
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Did you contact the OCA? Did they respond? This is surprising because in my (limited) experience in contacting the OCA they have always been most helpful and responded promptly.

This was some years ago but as I recall I wrote the OCA from the website and was given some other contacts to pursue further (in Alaska). I did this and did not find anything official at all but some writings that gave no historical evidence at all.

Interestingly, too, there was no popular veneration of Peter the Aleut amongst the Aleuts before the glorification. And I have read somewhere (can't recall where now) that one reason for the glorification was to make him more popular among the people.

This is not the usual Orthodox approach, I believe, which more often relies on some popular veneration by the people.

I, too, have found the OCA people to be very helpful. But in this case there just were no Acta or official documents to send my way it seems. This surprised me quite a bit.

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175107 08/09/02 02:33 AM
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The following link to the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska contains the history of St. Peter the Aleut:

http://www.alaskanchurch.org/pages/AlaskanSaints/StPeter/portrait.htm

I found the account decently written with no condemnation of the Catholic Church but rather a condemnation of misunderstanding and ignorance.

The OCA is usually very responsive in responding to questions. I suggest that those interested in St. Peter the Aleut contact the OCA directly and wait for an appropriate answer to his or her questions. My guess is that one should assume that St. Peter the Aleut is considered a saint in the OCA unless there is an official statement by the OCA that he is not. To make an assumption that he is not based upon Metropolitan Theodosius' not mentioning him in a list of commemorations or his not being listed on the OCA website is jumping to a conclusion since the OCA website is not an exhaustive source of information about North American Saints. It is also quite possible that His Beatitude just forgot to mention him (I forget things all the time!).

I think that someone who is interested in this issue should volunteer to contact the OCA with the appropriate questions before making any assumption about the official position of the OCA.

Regarding the original question, I agree with Fr. Elias. I see no problem extending the honor of sainthood to any Orthodox saint. Even in Russia this is done. I know that the whole subject of the Roman Catholic Church in Russia is currently a major issue, but I just saw a television account of a Roman Catholic priest serving in Russia who made a pilgrimage to the site of St. Seraphim of Sarov, was doused with a bucket of water from the healing well by a "Holy Fool" in the midst of January, and was healed of his illness. The "cloud of witnesses" that the author of the Letter to the Hebrews spoke of surely includes St. Peter the Aleut as I am sure it includes the Blessed Theodore Romzha.

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Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175108 08/09/02 02:51 AM
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Gerard Serafin Offline
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Come, Holy Spirit!

My guess is that one should assume that St. Peter the Aleut is considered a saint in the OCA unless there is an official statement by the OCA that he is not. To make an assumption that he is not based upon Metropolitan Theodosius' not mentioning him in a list of commemorations or his not being listed on the OCA website is jumping to a conclusion since the OCA website is not an exhaustive source of information about North American Saints. It is also quite possible that His Beatitude just forgot to mention him (I forget things all the time!).

I never suggested that Peter the Aleut is no longer considered a saint by the OCA. I just mentioned that Metropolitan Theodosius did not mention him in his latest address in which he listed the recently glorified saints of America.

If someone wishes to believe in the story of Peter the Aleut, fine. My closest Orthodox priest friend does not. He is OCA. Neither do I. The site you referenced does not really give any verifiable historical data to check out. I had been aware of this paper for some years now and this was what was presented to me as the most official statement of the OCA.

Personally I find the story of Peter the Aleut offensive since I do not believe it is historically true and thus it sets up yet another reason for separation and ill feeling towards those who allegedly murdered this Orthodox Aleut.

But I do realize that others may feel differently and even venerate this Aleut as a saint and martyr. I know God alone knows our hearts and who belongs to him and whom he has sanctified in the Holy Spirit.

My own research has led me to my conclusions. I will always be open to new information that might change my conclusions thus far arrived at.

I will take that person out to dinner even at the restaurant of their choice if they can offer me a verifiable piece of evidence that this actually happened.

But that is enough for me in this thread now (if anyone comes up with any information, please contact me privately and if it is verifiable information we can work out the details for that dinner on me).

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175109 08/09/02 12:31 PM
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Dmitri Rostovski Offline OP
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Slava Jesu Kristu,

Thank you all for your comments. This discussion has helped me to put St. Peter the Aleut into contect. Whether he was killed by Catholics really isn't the point, it is that he stood-up for his Faith just as we must do in these times of trial.

May all the Saints of the Americas pray for us all.

Dmitri

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175110 08/09/02 02:16 PM
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Regarding St. Peter the Aleut and other saints as declared by various orthodox autocephalous jurisdictions, it is important to remember that the criteria for canonization are not necessarily the same as within Roman Catholicism. Further, I doubt that Rome would have considered canonizing Peter the Aleut or Czat Nicholas II for that matter, because they were not Roman Catholic- a jurisdiction call more than anything else. Within Orthodoxy, Nicholas II is regarded as a martyr by the synodal russians (ROCOR), but as a passion-bearer by the Moscow Patriarchate- 2 different levels of saintly status, not in agreement with each other even within the orthodox world, passion-bearer being a lesser level. Once canonized by a recognized jurisdiction, other Orthodox jurisdictions eventually add the saint to there calendars. They respect each other's decisions. Comments?

So, Peter the Aleut and Nicholas II are both saints of the Church, because the jurisdictions they were a part of, using their own criteria, chose to make them so. Das ist alles.

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175111 08/09/02 02:36 PM
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From Administrator:
I think that someone who is interested in this issue should volunteer to contact the OCA with the appropriate questions before making any assumption about the official position of the OCA.

Following up on that I have written to the OCA and here is the reply I received:

Dear Robert,
Thank you for your enquiry, which has me extremely puzzled.

YOU WRITE: It has been brought to my attention that in the 'Saints of North
America' on the OCA website St Peter the Aleut no longer appears. I have
confirmed this by accessing the OCA website.

RESPONSE: I just accessed the "Saints of North America" at
http://www.oca.org/pages/dwp/dwp.asp?dayid=924 and Peter the Aleut is there.
Don't know what you were accessing, or who brought this to your attention,
but they are clearly wrong.
Log on to the OCA web site. Click "Orthodox Christianity." When a new page
appears, click "Feasts and Saints."
When that page opens, click "Saints by Month," which leads to a search
engine specifically for the day-to-day saints.
When that page opens, key in "Aleut" in the appropriate box, click "Go," and
http://www.oca.org/pages/dwp/dwp.asp?dayid=924 shows up! Not only has his
name, appropriate troparia, but also his icon!!! So you might want to ask
the individual who brought this alleged travesty to your attention that he
or she is wrong!!!

YOU ASK: It has also been brought to my attention by a non Orthodox that
recently that Metropolitan Theodosius omitted the name of Saint Peter the
Aleut
when commemorating the Saints of North America.

RESPONSE: How would a non-Orthodox have such information when I, as the
Communications Director of the OCA, have no such information, nor is there
any indication that any of this is true even when making a casual visit to
the OCA web site??? How odd that we've dropped St. Peter the Aleut when the
new icon that the Holy Synod commissioned and presented to Metropolitan
Theodosius as a retirement gift shows Peter the Aleut right up front! I
have also found at least three other places on the OCA web site sporting
icons of the American saints, and Peter's there, right where he always was!

YOU ASK: Has St Peter the Aleut been removed from the ranks of North
American saints?

RESPONSE: Most certainly not!!!

YOU ASK: If so, why?

RESPONSE: Why do we assume that such rumors are true and then challenge our
own church, as if such ecclesiastical "urban legends" are indeed true??!!
Perhaps some one misunderstood the fact that initially, Peter the Aleut and
the Martyr Juvenal were originally glorified as "local saints" for the
diocese of Alaska, even though it is often the case -- and it IS the case
with these two saints -- that veneration of "local" saints often spreads
beyond the initial "locale" in which and for which they were glorified.
It seems to me that a few weeks ago a Byzantine wrote to me asking for
clarification on "local" as opposed to "universal" saints, and I used
precisely this example to show how veneration for local saints often
spreads, which is perfectly fine. Hope my answer to the rather adversarial
enquirer didn't lead to his twisting what I wrote on some forum, which has
happened many times before.
Regardless, I would love to know where someone got this "insider"
information when obviously the OCA "officialdom" knows nothing of it!! In
logging on to the OCA web site a few minutes ago, I found Peter the Aleut
right where he's always been -- on 24 September!!

You might also want to ask the non-Orthodox individual how he has access to
this information from Metropolitan Theodosius when the OCA's Communications
Office didn't have the information?! I don't know of too many non-Orthodox
who have such an "inside track."

Hope this helps, and you might want to share these facts with the folks on
the Byzantine forum!

In Christ,
Father John Matusiak, OCA Communications Office
-----------------------------------------------

In addition:

Private email from OCA Bishop Tikhon:

Dear Robert,
St. Peter the Aleut was never canonized by the Orthodox Church in America:
local veneration in the Dioceses of Alaska and of the West was approved by
the Holy Synod in the 1980s. Nevertheless, many icons, including that of
All Saints of North America that hangs in the Chapel of the Metropolitan,
depict St. Peter.
+Bishop Tikhon

---------

Hope this clears up your confusion Gerard.

Bobby

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175112 08/09/02 03:15 PM
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Gerard Serafin Offline
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Thanks, Bobby, for all the information.

I have no idea who might have said that Peter the Aleut was not on the OCA website. (It wasn't me).

I have no idea who spoke of Metropolitan Theodosius not "commemorating" Peter the Aleut. (What I had mentioned was that in his recent primatial address Metropolitan Theodosius, in listing the new American saints, did not mention Peter the Aleut. That's all I mentioned - but maybe someone mentioned something about not commemorating, etc.).

What is most helpful, though, is to find out that Peter was never formally glorified, it seems, by the OCA per se. I was confused by what I read on the OCA Alaska Home Page:

It was not until 1980, however, that Peter the Aleut was glorified as a saint by the Church.

On another website I had found this:

Peter the Aleut was formally glorified as a saint, as the "Martyr of San Francisco;" in 1980. His feast day is commemorated on September 24.

This website is from the Orthodox Christian Fellowship in Ann Arbor.

At any rate, I did not spread the rumors you mentioned in your letter to Father Matusiak. (And you don't say I did either, of course). I hope the one who may have spread such rumors reads the reply. Or if someone got what I said confused, that this reply may help set the record straight.

PS Here's the reference I refered to from Metropolitan Theodosius' Primatial Address in which he lists the new American saints since his primatial service began:

In recent years, God has blessed us with the glorification of five new saints of America: Father Jacob Netsvetov, the first native American priest, and a co-worker of St. Innocent Veniaminov; Father John Kochurov, missionary priest in Chicago, builder of Holy Trinity Cathedral, who was killed in 1917, the first priest-martyr in Russia after the communist revolution. Father Alexander Hotovitzky, a missionary priest in America, co-worker of bishops, editor of the Russian-American Messenger-the official newspaper of the Church-and the builder of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York, was martyred in the Gulag in 1937. Saint Alexis Toth, the great missionary, worked tirelessly to bring his people back to the Orthodox Faith of their forefathers. Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny, a missionary priest of Arabic origin who studied and taught in Russia and was brought to America and consecrated bishop by Archbishop Tikhon of America (later Patriarch of Moscow) to serve the needs of the Arabic-speaking community here.

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175113 08/09/02 03:52 PM
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Gerard wrote:
I never suggested that Peter the Aleut is no longer considered a saint by the OCA. I just mentioned that Metropolitan Theodosius did not mention him in his latest address in which he listed the recently glorified saints of America.


Quite clearly you suggested that the OCA might no longer consider Peter the Aleut to be a saint when you wrote:

Quote
PS I notice that in a recent address given by Metropolitan Theodosius, he mentioned the saints of the Americas, one by one: missing completely was the name of Peter the Aleut (maybe my internet writings got back to headquarters?).


Gerard, it is clear from your posts that it was your intention to insinuate that the OCA no longer recognized Peter the Aleut as a saint. This is called ‘flaming’ and is not acceptable. In your short time as a participant on the Forum your posts have clearly demonstrated that you are more interested in flaming than in participating in rational discussion. I will give you one more chance to change your posting style before suspending your posting privileges. If you are unwilling to participate in this Forum in a charitable manner please don’t post again.

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Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175114 08/09/02 04:03 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Gerard, it is clear from your posts that it was your intention to insinuate that the OCA no longer recognized Peter the Aleut as a saint. This is called ‘flaming’ and is not acceptable.

The thought never even crossed my mind that the OCA no longer considered Peter the Aleut a saint. I simply wondered out loud why Metropolitan Theodosius didn't mention him in his listing (and my reply may have come if the OCA per se did not glorify him but only the local Alaskan Church).

Why would I think, though, that the OCA didn't consider him a saint? I realize, for example, there are parishes named after him. No, you misrepresent me here.

Regarding "flaming" - I can assure you I am interested in discussion and dialog and the truth of things.

Some may not always agree with me (and I do not chisel my words since I hope I have a basic reverence and respect for other persons, and I realize my expressions are not always perfect).

I have thoroughly enjoyed this Forum so far. If you think my style inappropriate I will move on. In the meantime, I will try my best to be a faithful and loving Catholic Christian, who shares as best as I am able the truth as I have come to understand it - and I am always open to learning more and revising opinions.

I invoke the Holy Spirit before every post. May He bless my efforts.

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175115 08/09/02 04:24 PM
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Gerard,

When you stated that maybe the Metropolitan did not mention St. Peter the Aleut because he may have seen your writings it was clear that you were insinuating that the OCA no longer recognized Peter the Aleut as a saint. There is no other conclusion that can be drawn from your words and your claims of denial only misrepresent yourself. In your short time on the Forum you have used this tactic in several threads and it is unacceptably uncharitable.

This is not a matter just of your style but a matter of your self-righteous and judgmental flaming to entice others to disagree with you so that you can claim that you are innocent and charitable when clearly you are not.

I wish you well but ask that you no longer post in this Forum.

Thank you for respecting my decision.

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Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175116 08/09/02 04:38 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

I will unsubscribe as soon as I am able.

It was, I am sure, just a matter of time. I do not do well walking on eggshells.

For those who may have enjoyed a post or two of mine (thanks for the supportive and welcoming letters) you can find out what's up with me by visiting my website, blog, or journal:

A Catholic Page for Lovers:
http://praiseofglory.com
A Catholic Blog for Lovers:
http://blogforlovers.blogspot.com
LiveJournal Reflections:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/gerardserafin

Again, to those with whom I engaged in real dialog, thank you. To those who said kind and gracious words, thank you. To those who did not appreciate me or my approaches, please forgive any offense. I apologize for any violation of the norms of good human and Christian relationships.

I will miss this Forum but will do quite well, I am sure, without it as well. I think I fulfilled my purposes here quickly. Time to move on....

God bless us all!

Kyrie Eleison!

Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175117 08/09/02 04:55 PM
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Gerard,

It is not a matter of walking on eggshells but rather one of being charitable in all things.

Thank you for respecting the rules of this Forum and be assured of my prayers for your physical healing and spiritual well being.

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Re: St. Peter the Aleut #175118 08/09/02 07:23 PM
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To me, the events related to the martyrdom of St Peter are a very painful thing because it involves a lot of feelings (the enormous cruelty of the Spanish perdiod, the Russian presence, and the war of 1847).

The problem is that the true story of St Peter is usually taken out of its religious context and it's acompanied by an anti-Spanish/anti-Catholic feeling which is alien to the spirit of the Orthodox Church and corresponds to a "protestantized" view of our history, shared by the predominant angle-saxon element of the modern American Orthodoxy.

This historical views tends to satanize everything about the Spanish missions stating that the civilization didn't exist before 1845, and overenphasizes the "progressive" effects of the angle-american presence, eliminating important historical truths.

Before the pioneers arrived, the soul of the Californian people was definately Hispanic, indian and also Russian.
The Russian presence in Northern California had been very extense since the 1700's. Although the Spanish Crown was against the influnence of other Europeans in its territories, the Russian missions were tolerated and their colonies used to trade leather with the Franciscans.
I believe that St Peter the Aleut was a victim of the ignorance of the Spanish monks. I would put the Spaniards as the best example of good catholics. They were full of fanatism, hetherodoxy and desires of domination. The probable thing is that they thought that St Peter was just "a pagan" who refused to be baptized.

After 1820, the Mexican empire expelled the Spanish monks and the territories became vulnerable to the protestant expansion. Lucas Alaman (Minister of Foreign Affairs) encouraged the Russians to increase their presence in Alta California. He even tried to sale the territories over the 42° line to the Russians, but the constant changes in the Government destroyed the negociations. In 1842 the Russian missionaries decided to leave and sold their lands to Alan Sutter (the guy who discovered a gold mine... bad luck).

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