Alaska Governor Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker joined His Grace, Bishop David at Saint Nicholas Church here on June 5, 2016 for the dedication and blessing of a new monument erected in memory of the many Aleuts who lost their lives in internment camps during World War II.
“Before the Japanese invasion of Attu and Kiska, Alaska in 1942, some 800 Aleuts living in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands had been forced to resettle to camps in southeast Alaska,” explained Bishop David. “It was estimated that over ten percent of the evacuees perished during this little-known era of World War II history.”
Archpriest Thomas Andrew, Rector of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Church, Kenai, AK and Chancellor of the Diocese of Alaska, was present for the blessing, as were General Jake Lestenkof and Boris Merculief of the Aleutian and Pribilof Island Trust, which sponsored the monument.
Following the blessing, a reception was held in the historic old rectory, which today serves as Saint Nicholas Church’s parish hall.
The following day—June 6—Bishop David offered welcoming remarks and the invocation at the dedication and opening of Alaska’s new Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum in downtown Juneau, AK.
Sixteen years in the making, the facility—known locally as SLAM—is named in honor of Archpriest Andrew Petrovich Kashevaroff, an Orthodox priest of Russian and Alaska Native heritage who was born in Kodiak on September 19, 1863. The son and grandson of missionary priests, Father Andrew served the Church as teacher, choir director, inspector, deacon, and priest for over 60 years in many locales throughout Alaska. He was also the first librarian and curator of the Alaska Historical Museum and Library when it relocated to Juneau in 1919. During his tenure there, he collected thousands of items for the museum, providing an insight into Alaskan history of incalculable significance. Father Andrew fell asleep in the Lord on April 3, 1940.