[A hurried translation from Russian]
Publication of Metropolitan Clement's monograph on the history of Orthodoxy in Alaska
A book on "The Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska until 1917" by the Metropolitan of Kaluga was published at the the very beginning of 2009. The choice of subject is no accident for the author, who in 1980 administered the Patriarchal parishes in the United States and Canada. At that time Bishop Clement visited Alaska several times and met with Orthodox residents of the peninsula. And now, years later, this interest, warmed by love, reached its fulfillment in the book "The Orthodox Church in Alaska until 1917" , - noted the newly departed Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in his address to readers.
The extensive monograph covers the almost two-hundred-year history of «Russian Alaska» - beginning with the opening of the coast of Alaska during the second Kamchatka expedition in 1741 up until 1917, when revolutionary events in Russia broke the link uniting Alaskan parishes with the Russian Orthodox Church and disturbed the established system of missionary work. This temporary interval is clearly divided into two periods: «Russian», when Alaska was part of the Russian empire, and «American», which began in 1867, after the acquisition of the territory by the United States of America. Appropriately, this work, written in chronological order, is divided into two separate parts.
The study is a compilation and systematization of materials on church history, including those which have not yet appeared academic and generalized works. It analyzes many controversial issues, filling a significant gap in the historiography which barely pays attention to the period after the sale of Alaska to the United States. The work demonstrates that Alaska, having become of another country, did not lose its ties to the Russian Orthodox Church. A separate diocese was established for spiritually nourishing the Alaskan Orthodox who remained and were composed mainly of representatives of local people. In the future this diocese spread throughout the North American continent, and now continues its existence as the LocalOrthodox Church in America.
«Metropolitan Clement has managed to create a work of academic and scientific significance with an interesting and authentic narration of the heroic deeds of Russian people, through whose feats the territory of the Russian state and was enlarged, and the Orthodox faith spread throughout the Americas», - noted the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yu. S. Osipov. Written with extensive use of archival material, documents, letters and photographs, Metropolitan Clement's book will interest both specialists and all who are interested in the history of Russian Orthodox Church and Orthodoxy in America. Precisely now when the Church is renewing its missionary activities, including those in foreign languages, this work is particularly relevant to studying the experience of outstanding Russian missionaries who first brought the light of Orthodoxy to the American continent.
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