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Gleanings from the Internet

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    The following was posted on the Internet. I am told that, during the 19th Century, the United States Government gave various Native American Tribes to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 8, 2000
      The following was posted on the Internet.

      I am told that, during the 19th Century, the United States Government
      "gave" various Native American Tribes to various Church groups for
      their oversight. Some tribes of Aleut or other Orthodox Native
      Americans were placed under the care of Seventh-Day Adventists, who
      would permit only those who converted to Adventism to purchase food
      from the church-run stores. Those who would not died of starvation,
      preferring martyrdom for the sake of their love for the Holy Trinity and
      Orthodoxy.

      In addition, I have been told that, in an attempt to erase from memory
      any trace of Russian presence in Alaska, Orthodox Churches were
      demolished by our U.S. army personnel.

      Does anyone have any information about either of these matters, or any
      sources to which we might refer?
      ***********
      2 replies

      1) The US government was encouraging missionaries until the 1960s to
      convert the Orthodox of Alaska.

      In addition, I have been told that, in an attempt to erase from memory
      any trace of Russian presence in Alaska, Orthodox Churches were
      demolished by our U.S. army personnel.

      During WWII, Aleut villages were burned, the people were deported to
      camps where many died. Before burning, the GIs apparantly looted the
      houses. The compensation offered Aleuts was about half that offered
      Japanese-Americans, and no official apology has been made, to the best
      of my knowledge.

      2) From Simeon Ianovskii to Igumen Damascene of Valamm, dated 22 Nov
      1865. In this letter, Ianovskii describes how he told the story of a
      martyred Aleut to the monk Herman.

      "Once I {Ianovskii} related to him {St. Herman of Alaska} how the
      Spaniards in California had taken fourteen of our Aleuts prisoner, and
      how the "Latins" had tourtured one of them, to try and force them all
      to take the Catholic Faith. But the Aleuts would not submit, saying 'We
      are Christians, we have been baptized,' and they showed them the
      crosses they wore. But the "Latins" objected saying 'No, you are
      heretics and schismatics; if you do not agree to take the Catholic faith
      we will tourture you.'

      And they left them shut up two to a cell until evening to think it
      over. In the evening they cam back with a lantern and lighted candles,
      and began again to try and persuade them to become Catholics. But the
      Aleuts were filled with God's grace, and firmly and decisively answered,
      'We are Christians and we would not betray our failth.'

      Then the fanatics set about torturing them. First they tortured on
      singly while the other one was made to watch. First they cut off one of
      the toe joints from one foot, and then from the other, but the Aleut
      bore it all and continued to say: 'I am Christian and I will not betray
      my faith.' Then they cut a joint off each finger - first from one hand,
      then from the other; then they hacked off one foot at the instep, then
      one hand at the wrist. The blood poured out, but the martyr bore it all
      to the end, maintaining his stand, and with this faith he died, from
      loss of blood...

      This was related to me by an Aleut who was an eyewitness - a colleague
      of the man put to death - and who later escaped from the Spaniards.
      At the time I reported all this to the Head Office in St. Petersburg.

      "When I had finished telling him this, Father Herman asked me, 'What was
      the name of this tortured Aleut?' 'Peter,' -- I replied, -- 'but I
      cannot remember the other name.'

      "Then the Elder stood before the icon, devoutly crossed himself and
      said 'Holy, newly-martyred Peter, pray to God for us!'"
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