Anchorage, November 29, 2023
The Diocese of Sitka and Alaska of the Orthodox Church in America issued a call to prayer this morning after one of its most beloved priests, Archpriest Michael Oleksa, suffered a stroke.
Call for prayer:
Today, the Chancery received word that Archpriest Michael Oleksa suffered a stroke early this morning and was medivac to Anchorage from Nanwalek. His Grace, +Bishop Alexei in the presence of clergy and family prayed over Father Michael the last rites and anointed him with holy and sacred oil. Vladyka Alexei asks the entire Church of Alaska to keep Father Michael and his family in their prayers during this time.
Most Holy Theotokos, save us.
Fr. Michael Oleksa is well known as a missionary priest and student of Native Alaskan culture who has dedicated decades of his life to the Church in Alaska. He has served as a priest in over a dozen Native Alaskan villages over the years.
His biography from fatheroleksa.org reads:
The Reverend Dr. Michael James Oleksa has spent the last 35 years in Alaska, serving as village priest, university professor, consultant on intercultural relations and communications, and authoring several books on Alaska Native cultures and history. A 1969 graduate of Georgetown University and of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Father Oleksa earned his doctoral degree in Presov, Slovakia, in 1988. His four-part PBS television series, Communicating Across Cultures, has been widely acclaimed.
The recipient of numerous awards from local, state and federal agencies, as well as the Alaska Federation of Natives, Father Michael has taught on all three main campuses of the University of Alaska system and at Alaska Pacific University as well. He currently resides in Anchorage with his Yup’ik wife, Xenia, his daughter Anastasia and one of his three grandsons.
Fr. Michael has authored books such as Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission, Everyday Wonders: Stories of God’s Providence, Alaskan Missionary Spirituality, and Another Culture/Another World, and many more.
He recently joined Fr. Nicholas Molodyko-Harris to speak about the recent canonization of St. Olga of Alaska.