The Miterd Archpriest Phillip Alexie fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, September 29, 2019.
Father Phillip was born on October 13, 1952 and raised in the village of Kwethluk, Alaska on the Kuskokwim River, into a pious Orthodox family. He was the oldest of four children, Phillip, Christopher, Harry, and Eleanor. Father Phillip and his family lived a subsistence lifestyle, fishing and hunting to fulfill all their needs. This life-skill continued to serve Father Phillip as a priest in rural Alaska, ensuring the ability to provide for his family.
As was customary in Alaska villages, students could only attend elementary school up to eighth grade in their home community. All students had to travel somewhere else for a high school education. Father Phillip, like most of his classmates from Kwethluk, spent his high school years in Sitka, Alaska at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. There he continued to attend the Liturgies on Sunday at St. Michael’s Cathedral during the time of Bishop Gregory (Afonsky). Father Phillip and other students walked some distance every weekend from the high school to the Cathedral, regardless of the weather. There he had his first opportunities to be a Reader and a Choir member, and when needed, to vest the Bishop.
Father Phillip was inspired to serve the Church by his cousin, the Subdeacon Martin Alexie, who went to St. Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, PA, for a year. Add to that his years in Sitka, his ambition was clearly to help the Alaskan faithful and to serve the Church. After graduating from high school, Father Phillip enrolled at St. Herman’s Pastoral School in Kenai, AK, as one of the first group of students, and one of the first of many Kwethluk men who have fulfilled the same vocation.
The Pastoral School was eventually moved to Kodiak, AK and the name was changed to St. Herman’s Theological Seminary and Phillip moved with it. Just prior to his senior year at St. Herman’s Seminary, Phillip married Mildred M. Brink on September 15, 1976 in Nunapitchuk, AK and together they raised two daughters, Matrona Harriet and Katherine Alexie. They later adopted a son, Basil. Phillip was ordained a Deacon on February 2, 1977 at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak, AK by then Bishop Gregory (Afonsky) of Alaska. Completing his theological education in 1977, Deacon Phillip was the recipient of the first Bachelor’s Degree awarded by the Seminary. He was later ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Gregory, during the Regional Kuskokwim River Conference on August 2, 1977 at St. Jacob Church in Napaskiak, AK.
Father Phillip served on the St. Herman’s Theological Seminary Board of Directors as the Alumni Representative from 2002 to the present. He was the Dean of the Kuskokwim Region for 15 years and was the first known Native Alaskan priest awarded the right to wear a Mitre, which was presented to him on August 18, 2018.
Father Phillip was preceded in death by his brother Harry and his parents Galila and Anna Alexie. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Matushka Anna, his daughters Matrona and Katherine and their spouses and children, his son Basil, and 11 grandchildren.
On Tuesday, October 1, at 1:00 PM, family will receive friends at St. James Church, Napaskiak, AK. An Akathist to St. Herman will be celebrated at 5:30 PM. On Wednesday, October 2, the Divine Liturgy, followed by a Panikhida, will be celebrated by His Eminence, Archbishop David. The Funeral Service for a Priest will be celebrated at 4:30 PM. On Wednesday, October 3, at 9:00 AM the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated, followed by a Panikhida. At 1:00 PM, travel to Presentation of the Theotokos Church, Nunapitchuk, AK for the burial.
May Father Phillip’s memory be eternal!