Matushka Olga of Alaska: Canonization Commission Continues Preparation for Upcoming Canonization

ANCHORAGE, AK [DOM] – Meetings were held by the Canonization Commission of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and the Diocese of Alaska from February 15 through February 18 in preparation for the canonization of Matushka Olga of Alaska. At the Regular Fall Session of the Holy Synod of the OCA in Chicago, IL, a formal proclamation was announced to begin the process of canonizing the Blessed Olga of Alaska.

His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest, Chair of the Canonization Commission, arrived in Alaska on Thursday, February 15, and was greeted by His Grace Bishop Alexei of Sitka and Alaska. The following day the hierarchs had planned to travel to Kwethluk, AK, the village in which Matushka Olga is buried, but weather prevented travel to the remote village. Instead, meetings were held at the Chancery of the Diocese of Alaska.

The meetings were led by Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Alexei, and attended by Archpriest Daniel Charles, Chancellor, Priest Alexander Koranda, Priest Simeon Johnson, and Deacon Thomas Rivas. A wide range of topics were discussed including the location of the canonization service along with other logistical details for the occasion. It was also determined that the Diocese of Alaska would begin the process of commissioning an official icon of Matushka Olga, along with composing services texts. During this meeting it was also noted that the grave of Matushka Olga received improvements from the local faithful.

A second day of meetings were held on Saturday morning through the afternoon going into further review of the timeline of the celebration and general diocesan life. Archbishop Daniel noted, “this is the first saint of that reposed in the autocephalous Church in America. The canonization of a saint is one of the most exciting aspects of life in the Church. God is glorified in His saints.”

Following the meetings, Archbishop Daniel and Fr. Alexander were given a tour of St. Tikhon of Moscow Church in Anchorage, AK. The day would end with the serving of the All-Night Vigil at St. Innocent Cathedral, Anchorage, AK.

On Zacchaeus Sunday, February 18, Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Alexei concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Innocent Cathedral, Anchorage, AK. The were joined by Archpriest Archpriest Daniel Charles, Chancellor, Priest Alexander Koranda, and the cathedral clergy.

Bishop Alexei gave the homily reflecting on faith, and the good news of the faith and the good news of the upcoming season of Great and Holy Lent. Following the service, Bishop Alexei welcomed Archbishop Daniel and explained his visit as being a part of the preparation for the canonization of Matushka Olga. His Eminence then offered a few words regarding the work of the canonization commission and the exciting time ahead. “Matushka Olga is not only being glorified for the faithful of Alaska, or even the faithful of America, but for the entire Orthodox Church. Her story of constant and steadfast faith and peace will be an inspiration for all of those who walk along the path of Christ.”

After the veneration of the cross, everyone was invited for a meal in the cathedral hall. During that meal, the hierarchs invited people to come and share their reflections and memories of Matushka Olga. Several of the people who were gathered knew Matushka Olga personally and were able to voice their thoughts on the upcoming canonization. The hierarchs concluded by inviting those who have memories, stories, or even have experienced miracles, to submit them to the Diocese of Alaska for the benefit of the Church.

According to Bishop Alexei, “the visit of Archbishop Daniel was a great blessing, allowing for profitable meetings about the next steps in the glorification process of Saintly Matushka Olga, gracing St. Innocent of Irkusk Russian Orthodox Cathedral with the joy of having two hierarchs celebrating the hierarchical vigil and divine liturgy, and providing the opportunity to hear from revered indigenous elders about the importance of Matushka Olga for the healing and spiritual vitality of the Kuskokwim and Yukon regions.”

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