Appeal to Support the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska

December 30, 2023

Dear Reverend fathers and their parish council members

RE: Urgent need to send support for our suffering brother priests in our founding home Diocese of Alaska

At the Archdiocesan Assembly in July 2023, Bishop Alexei of Alaska gave an impassioned presentation on the dire status of his diocese, and especially his clergy.

This foundational Diocese has given us our precious saints, Herman, Peter the Aleut, Innocent, Juvenal and last month our first female North American saint Olga. May God have mercy through their prayers.

The situation of our mother diocese in Alaska is desperate. There is not even enough money for many of our brother priests to feed their families, let alone travel the vast and difficult terrain to the remote Alaskan parishes. If a priest were to go to serve one of the faithful historic Orthodox villages so badly in need of a priest, there are no houses/rectories available, and travel costs are very high. The average family income in Alaska is $78,000. The average priest’s annual income is $7,200 - $26,000 below the poverty line. These statistics are only seen in third world populations, and it is a shame that our dear fellow clergy are left to labour in such poverty without our assistance in Alaska - our original Orthodox home diocese for North America.

My brothers and sisters, please allow your hearts to take on some of their burden and make a commitment to share regularly through the STAS Alaska Fund or send your tender Alms with love to the Archdiocese directly to distribute through to Alaska. (2 Cor. 8:14) “…that your abundance may supply their lack, and that their abundance may also supply your lack – that there may be equality.” For surely there is no truer way to store up treasure in heaven that storing our excess in the stomachs of our fellow brothers and sisters in great need.

Recent changes by the CRA have now enabled us to help our brethren, and also to allow our donations to qualify for tax receipts in Canada.

The Archdiocese has entered into an agreement with the diocese of Alaska whereby our Canadian Archdiocese will send money to the Alaskan diocese throughout the year.

The goal will be to further the mission of the Orthodox Church by the support of the clergy, conducting divine services as well as praying for the wellbeing of people via lists of names submitted, and the preaching of the gospel across the Alaskan diocese. Please do include lists of your living and departed for prayer with your contributions.

There are two ways that people can give to the Alaskan diocese and have their donation qualify for a tax receipt in Canada.

The first way is that people can donate to STAS - either by periodic or preset donations. The donations must be designated for the Alaskan diocese.

The second way is that people can donate directly to their home parish, again with the money designated for Alaska. The treasurers can either send a cheque or e-transfer to our Archdiocese for the amounts received for Alaska.

Our Archdiocesan treasurer will send the money to Alaska along with any lists of names submitted for prayers. The Alaskan diocese will keep track of the money they receive from us and will update our diocese twice per year on how the money was used to further the mission of the Church.

This has been approved by CRA in a rare new exemption allowing us to send our donations beyond the Canadian border and still qualify for a charitable tax receipt.
Please act to help our brothers in Alaska. St. Tikhon: “Let us donate ourselves to the Orthodox faith not in tongue only but in deed and truth.”

Love in Christ,
Fr Rodion Luciuk
Treasurer - Archdiocese of Canada (OCA)
306-782-2482 treasurer@archdiocese.ca

Fr Andrew Applegate:
STAS Western Director
250-420-1582 frandrewapplegate@gmail.com

Dr John Hadjinicolaou
STAS Eastern Director
514-738-4018 Johnhadjinicolaou26@gmail.com

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