150th anniversary of the establishment of the North American diocesan see in San Francisco

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

February 3, 2022


This year marks the 150th anniversary of the transfer of the bishop’s see of the Diocese of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska from Sitka to San Francisco in 1872. As we observe this milestone in the spread of the Orthodox Church’s presence in North America, let us reflect on the historical background and significance of this event.

A number of factors and events had served to set the stage for relocation of the diocesan see. In October 1867, the purchase of Alaska by the United States from Russia was completed.  Saint Innocent (Veniaminov), who by then had been a missionary in Alaska and Siberia for more than four decades, was Archbishop of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands and resided in Siberia but Alaska was also part of his diocese. In the wake of the sale of Alaska, a rumor reached Saint Innocent from Moscow that he was advocating the closing of the Orthodox mission in Alaska as it was no longer a Russian territory. In order to dispel this rumor, Archbishop Innocent wrote a letter to the Ober-Procurator of the Most Holy Governing Synod dated December 5, 1867 laying out his vision for the future of Orthodoxy in North America. One of his key points was that the see of the Diocese should be transferred from Sitka to San Francisco in order to facilitate the Church’s mission throughout the continent.

... Read the rest at the Orthodox Church in America


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