Jordanville Seminarian Participates in OISM Pilgrimage to Alaska
The Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM) met at St. Herman Theological Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, from Saturday, October 14, to Tuesday, October 18, 2006. In addition to the entire student body of Saint Herman Seminary, eleven students from the following seminaries participated: Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, NY; Saint Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, PA; Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY; and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA. Representing Holy Trinity Seminary was fourth-year student Arsenii Pilguk.
The visiting seminarians began their pilgrimage on Friday, October 13, by touring sites in downtown Anchorage, including the Cupola Cafe and the Russian Orthodox Museum, both of which are operated by the Diocese of Alaska. Later that evening they attended the Vigil for the feast of the Protection at the St. Innocent Cathedral. On Saturday, October 14, they attended the consecration of the cathedral's altar, followed by the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage, and Alaska. Following a festive lunch, participants boarded their flight to Kodiak. They arrived at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak just in time for Vigil, where Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Dean of St. Herman Seminary, welcomed them.
After Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 15, Fr. Chad and several St. Herman's students offered the visitors a tour of the All Saints of Alaska Chapel and the rest of the seminary campus. The seminary chapel is a replica of the first Orthodox Church building in North America, formerly located on the site of Holy Resurrection Cathedral. It was constructed in 1994, in commemoration of the bicentenary of Orthodoxy in North America. Following the tour of the campus, participants were treated to panoramic views of the entire area from atop Pillar Mountain, and then spent the remainder of the afternoon hiking in Fort Abercrombie Park. Upon returning to campus, the students gathered at All Saints Chapel to celebrate Vespers for the feast of St. Yakov, followed by a potluck meal in the seminary's dining hall. After the meal participants were entertained by Y'upik dancing and fellowship with the entire St. Herman's community.
On Monday, October 16, following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, a group of thirty-one made preparations for their trip to Spruce Island in a fishing boat operated by one of the Native Orthodox faithful. They departed from the Port of Kodiak to the village of Ouzinkie, where they docked for a visit to Holy Ascension Church and a trip to the village general store for supplies. Upon reaching Monk's Lagoon, participants boarded a small boat that took them to the shores of Spruce Island. The afternoon on Spruce Island was crowned with an Akathist Service to St. Herman celebrated in the Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam Chapel.
On Tuesday, October 17, St. Herman Seminary returned to its normal schedule of morning Matins and classes, and visitors were invited to attend classes, visit other points of interest in town, and make one last trip to Holy Resurrection Cathedral to venerate the relics of St. Herman. Almost the entire seminary community gathered to see their guests off, as they made their way to the Kodiak Airport. In Anchorage the pilgrims were invited to dinner with His Grace, Bishop Nikolai, and other members of the diocesan community.
Holy Trinity Seminary would like to express its sincere thanks to His Grace, Bishop Nikolai, the Orthodox-Inter Seminary Movement, St. Herman's Seminary, and all who made this pilgrimage possible, for the gracious hospitality and generosity shown to our seminarian.