“Alaskan Liturgical Hymns, Our Lady of Sitka and the ‘Presence of the Holy’ in Cross-town Traffic.”
Reprinted from The Sleepy Weasel, campus magazine of Benedictine University Springfield (formerly Springfield College in Illinois), Volume 12, May 2008, and archived here because it’s the first thing I wrote about “creolized” or ethnically blended music, my current topic of historical research. Picture shows the writer at Old St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska Native village of Eklutna.
Early May in southcentral Alaska is like March back home in Illinois. The snow and ice have melted away, leaving little moraines of rock salt and gravel along sidewalks and intersections. The sun’s warm, and it doesn’t set till 10 o’clock at night, but it’s chilly in the shade. It’s spring, all right, but it’s still early … just before the rates go up, the cruise ships start arriving and the tourist season begins. So when my wife was invited to speak at a conference in Anchorage a couple of years ago, I tagged along and we experienced Alaska in a way other tourists might not.
Old St. Nicholas Church and “spirit houses” at Eklutna.
The big attractions weren’t open yet, but open-air vendors already grilled hot dogs and reindeer sausage at noon outside the Old City Hall on 4th Avenue. We found a couple of funky little chowder houses, most of Anchorage’s bookstores and a nice Indian restaurant on Northern Lights Boulevard. We rented a car and visited off-the-beaten-path attractions like the Iditarod dog racing headquarters and a Salvation Army store in the Mat-Su valley (when we stopped at the Sally to ask for directions and use the bathroom). We saw at least a few traces of Russian Alaska, too, because we went looking for them.
I’ve always been fascinated with Russia, ever since I saw the Hollywood version of War and Peace starring Audrey Hepburn as Natasha and Mel Ferrar as Prince Andrei. Later I even read the book. I’ll admit I was scared off by Dostoevsky. Too gloomy, too many monks and inquisitors for my taste. But Tolstoy is one of the few authors I keep coming back to. Once I visited the former Soviet Union, too, gawking at art galleries, museums and onion-domed cathedrals on a one-week tour of Moscow and Leningrad.
So I wanted to learn what I could about Russia’s colony in Alaska during the 1700s and 1800s, even though my knowledge of it comes mostly from James Michener’s novel Alaska. Since I teach a course in Native American cultural studies, I also knew the Russian missionaries had a unique way of dealing with the Alaska Native peoples. Nancy Bonvillain, whose book Native Nations we used as a text the semester before my Alaska trip, explains:
The missionaries followed policies set forth by church officials in Russia, who instructed the priests to respect the customs and cultures of indigenous peoples, learning native languages and translating the bible and other religious texts. They also opened schools in some coastal communities and established a seminary in the town of Sitka to train Aleut and Inuit coverts to become members of the clergy so that they could expand missionary work among their own people. (559)
It seemed like it would be an instructive contrast to the way all too many Christian missionaries operated in the “Lower 48” states.
So over the weekend before the conference, we drove down to Kenai on Cook Inlet where 19th-century Russian fur traders established a fort named for St. Nicholas and a church dedicated to the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The next day we took the Glenn Highway up to a Russian Orthodox church in the Native village of Eklutna, where brightly painted “spirit houses” in the graveyard combine Dena’ina Athabascan and Orthodox spiritual traditions. On my last day in Alaska, while Debi was speaking, I visited a museum on A Street at 6th Avenue, across the street from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. It was a low, narrow building, about the size of two doublewide trailers set end-to-end, painted a vivid green and topped by a little cupola with a golden onion dome on top.
It was called the Russian Orthodox Museum and Cupola Coffee Gift Shop, and it wasn’t quite like anything I’d ever seen before.  Next to the A Street door was the gift shop, where you could buy a cup of espresso, a glass of Russian tea or an assortment of lacquered Russian souvenirs. A couple of small tables, like those in an old-fashioned ice cream shop, stood next to the espresso stand, and framed watercolors covered the available wall space.
To the left of the coffee shop was the museum display, with glass cases housing old books and manuscripts in Russian calligraphy, jewelry, icons and other artifacts including a striking priest’s vestment decorated with buttons in the Tlingit Indian style. Above the museum hung the wooden frame of a baidarka, or kayak, like those used by Russian missionaries who spread the word from Russian settlements at Sitka, Kodiak and Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands. Behind it was a chapel, brightly lit and newly constructed with an iconostasis, a wooden screen on which icons, or religious paintings, were displayed. All the time I looked through the museum, there was music playing in the background.
The music was quiet and meditative, with the deep bass tones and complex harmonies I associate with the Russian choral tradition. I liked it immediately. I’m descended from two generations of church musicians in Norway, and I grew up listening to old-fashioned LPs of Bach cantatas and Lutheran chorales sung by the St. Olaf College Choir. I’m a member of my church choir (a bass, no less). I’ll drive hundreds of miles on two-lane blacktop roads to sing shape-note spirituals from the Sacred Harp or Christian Harmony. And I’ve written academic articles on the American folk hymns and camp meeting spirituals of the 19th century. In all, I have a strong interest in sacred music.
So I bought two CDs, an Akathist Service to Our Lady of Sitka and a collection of Russian Orthodox liturgical music dedicated to St. Herman of Alaska, an 18th- and early 19th-century Russian missionary on Kodiak Island. I usually do this on trips: I buy as many local books and CDs as I can cram into my airplane luggage, and when I get home I read and listen to whatever I bought. If nothing else, it’s a way of extending the vacation. So when I got home I was as happy as a pig in mud, reading up on Alaska, searching the Internet and ordering material on interlibrary loan.
Background. Russia’s colony in Alaska only lasted a little more than a hundred years, from 1741 to 1867, and there were never more than a few hundred ethnic Russians there, many of them Siberian fur traders. But Russian Orthodox missionaries left an enduring legacy, and the churches they planted in Alaska are considered the birthplace of the Orthodox Church in America.  Missionaries protected the Native peoples from harsh colonial exploitation, learned their languages and worked tirelessly to create synthesize Native and Russian spiritual traditions into something that honored both perspectives and brought them into harmony.
As the Russians intermarried with Unangan and Sugpiaq Aleuts, Yup’ik Eskimos and Tlingit and Dena’ina Athabascan Indians, their descendants – whom the Russians called Creoles – created what we would now call a multicultural society.  In fact, says historian Andrei Znamenski, the Russians and indigenous people from Kodiak, the Aleutian Islands and Siberia moved around and intermarried so much that “in speaking about Russian-native relations … we should use the definition of ‘Russian’ with large reservations” (6). Especially after Russia sold Alaska in 1867 and the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 cut off funding for Russian missionaries, the Orthodox church was kept alive by Alaska Natives. And now, as a BBC News reporter noted in 2004, pilgrims from Russia travel to Alaska (Dixon). The Russian Orthodox church is the largest denomination in Alaska.
Father Michael Oleksa, who has taught at the Orthodox seminary in Kodiak and served parishes in western Alaska, Juneau and Anchorage, says Alaska Natives are ravaged by the effects of alcoholism, unemployment and poverty, like Native Americans in the Lower 48, and more basically by a secular society that erodes tradition and devalues their “essentially cosmic” spiritual beliefs. But he also says they have taught much to the Orthodox Church in America, and they have much to teach the world, for that matter, about how “the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament His handiwork” (“Cosmic Christianity”). All in all, the story of the Russian Orthodox in Alaska has an epic sweep all its own. I think it is one of the great stories of American history.
Music and arts were always an integral part of the story. As the Russians set up parish schools, often they taught “reading, writing, and arithmetic, Biblical history, penmanship, music, and, at times, as many as four languages simultaneously: Russian, Old Church Slavonic, English, and a Native language,” according to Russian-American linguist Vyacheslav Ivanov.  In fact, the curriculum was basically the same as in Russia, where children learned their catechism, Church Slavonic, Russian, choir, counting and Russian history (Semyonova 45). Even where the Russians didn’t learn the local language, as among the Dena’ina Athabascan Indians along Cook Inlet, they relied on Native Alaskan songleaders, teachers and lay leaders to communicate with their parishioners. Znamenski, who translated the journals of several missionaries to says “the major promoters of Orthodoxy among the Dena’ina were mixed-bloods of Russian-Aleut, Russian-Sugpiaq and Russian-Dena’ina origin and Dena’ina lay leaders.” Sometimes putting “their own creative spin” on Orthodox theology, they translated, taught the rudiments of singing the Russian liturgy and sometimes taught the language as well (27-32). In short, Russian Alaska was was multicultural and multilingual.
The Primary Chronicle, which tells of the conversion of Prince Vladimir of Kiev in 822, tells how he sent emissaries to study Islam and Christianity. In Constantinople, they reported:
… the Greeks led us to the buildings where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss to describe it. We know only that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty.
From the beginning, Russian churches “sought to re-create this experience of beauty,” says American scholar James H.Billington in The Icon and the Axe, and the conversion of Kiev brought with it “a fresh flowering of Byzantine art and letters on Russian soil” (6-7). But there was always a purpose to the beauty; in a way, it was to duplicate the experience of Prince Vladimir’s emissaries and bring worshipers closer to God.
Over time, the esthetic became part of Native Alaska. S.A Mousalimas, an expert on shamanism in Siberia and Alaska, finds a sense of the presence of God in all of creation in Russian folklore and the common “ancestral Arctic cultures(s)” alike. He quotes Father Zossima, a character in Dovstovesky’s Brothers Karamazov, “the Word is for all: all creation, all creatures, every leaf, are striving towards the Lord, glorify the Lord, weep to Christ, and unknown to them, accomplish this” (119-21, 221). When reporter Tom Kizzia of The Anchorage Daily News attended a Christmas service in a Yup’ik village church a thousand years later, he was struck with a sense of continuity from “[f]rom Constantinople across Russia to Lower Kalskag, where in its own way, the beauty of St. Seraphim Church overwhelmed” (180-83). When kayaker Gail Ferris visited Kodiak in 1996 to study the antique baidarkas in a museum there, she visited Sunday services and bought a tape recording of Russian Orthodox singing. “I had never heard church music sung from the heart as this music is,” she said. “I played the music over and over again giving me great inspiration and peace of mind.” When she returned to her home in Connecticut, she joined an Orthodox church choir.
In Orthodox Alaska, Oleksa tells of Subdeacon Matthew Berezkin, an Aleut from Unalaska whose work transcended the hardships of what must have been a difficult life in a succession of Native villages in the bush of western Alaska:
Early in the [20th] century he was assigned to Kolmakovskii, on the Kuskokwim, but his Unangan wife deserted him after the death of their infant daughter near Chuathbaluk. Reduced to lay status, Berezkin remarried at Napaskiak and labored for nearly forty years, translating scriptural and liturgical texts and training readers and singers in English, Yup’ik and Slavonic years after his eyesight failed. These translations became part of Orthodox vespers, most of matins, and the fixed sections of the eucharistic liturgy. Choirs memorized the words and sang entire services by heart in their own language. (188)
Visual arts also flourished. In Sitka, where the Russians had their colonial headquarters, an icon was donated to the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in 1850 by workers of the Russian American Company, most of whom were Creoles of mixed Native and Russian ancestry. It was “written” or painted by imperial court artist Vladimir Borovikovsky in the style of Our Lady of Kazan, an icon that had inspired Russian armies to victory over Polish invaders in 1612 and over Napoleon in 1812. When it survived a fire that destroyed the old cathedral in 1966, it was considered a miracle. It is this icon that is celebrated in the CD of Alaskan hymns that I brought home from Anchorage.
* * *
Analysis. When I got back to Illinois, listening to my new CDs of Russian Orthodox music from Alaska turned out to be quite a different experience from what I’d expected. For one thing, I was almost totally unfamiliar with Orthodox chant.
I’d heard it exactly once before, and then only for a couple of minutes, when I toured Russia in 1981 with a bunch of college students under the watchful eye of a Soviet tourist guide. When we stopped at what was then known as the Lenin Hills overlooking the city of Moscow, the view was breathtaking, but some of us were more interested in a little church, white with green trim, set back from the overlook. We noticed people going in the church, so we slipped away from our Intourist guide and followed them inside.
It was like stepping into another world. Gold-framed icons covered the walls, incense drifted through the air, and two bearded priests in ornate vestments chanted over the clink of the incense pots. Everyone stood, the priests facing a group of older women wearing drab wool coats and babushka scarves. We stood there spellbound for several minutes, until the Intourist guide swept in and herded us back to the tour bus, scolding us for wasting time on what was to her a relic of bourgeois decadence when we hadn’t even seen the Lenin Museum yet.
It was one of the high points of that trip, but it didn’t prepare me for listening to the CDs I brought home from Alaska.
First I put on the CD of hymns to Our Lady of Sitka.
“Bless, master,” a soloist intoned.
“Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages,” chanted another soloist, in response.
“Amen,” responded the whole choir, singing in harmony.
The choir went on from there, chanting and responing in the same antiphonal pattern, which reminded me of the call-and-response in the old camp meeting songs. An akathist, I learned from the Orthodox Wiki website, is a hymn to the Mother of God that follows a structure dating back to the 6th century. The Sitka akathist lasts 45 minutes, and none of it is what I would consider easy-listening music. The first time I played it, the telephone rang. I left the CD on while I answered the phone, and I checked my email after I hung up. The CD was still playing in the background.
Something like this happens when I try to meditate, too. I get distracted and wham, bam, the meditation is over.
Zen masters have a word for that –- they call it “monkey mind.” It happens to everyone. So the next time I played the CD, I decided to put my monkey mind to work. I popped it into the changer in my car on my weekly trip out to Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site, where I was playing Appalachian dulcimer in the historic village that summer. It’s a 25-minute drive to New Salem from my house in Springfield, so I figured I could let my inner monkey watch the road while I listened to the music.
So I began to notice the rich harmonies as one of the soloists intoned:
With compassionate forethought for your Alaskan people, you have sent forth from your icon in the Cathedral of Sitka a stream of wonders enlightening the minds and souls of those lying in ignorance of God. Granting a safe haven and good fishing to those on the seas you protect all on their paths, and for this, in love we cry to you.
And the choir responded:
Rejoice, illumination of all men with the shining rays of your wonders.
Rejoice sight of the blind.
Rejoice, glory of Alaska.
Rejoice, calm haven of those seeking salvation.
Rejoice, pure Theokotos [Mother of God].
Rejoice, shelter and defender of children.
Rejoice, queller of the ocean’s fierce waves.
Rejoice, joy of all the poor and the afflicted.
Rejoice zealous defender
Of the Orthodox faithful in America. (5)
The CD was recorded by a men’s choir during a diocesean retreat in the spring of 2005, and it was sung as the icon of Our Lady of Sitka was taken on a pilgrimage of the “Lower 48” in September and October of that year. At a seminary in upstate New York, a writer for the official website described the same service I was listening to:
As twilight fell over St Vladimir’s Seminary, His Grace Nikolai, Bishop of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska, gave blessings to the members of the community as they entered Three Hierarchs Chapel. His Grace stood at the top of the steps ready to greet the wonderworking Sitka Icon of the Mother of God. There was silence in the packed chapel as the faithful waited. Soon the icon was in the center of the church, the deacon intoned “Bless, Master,” and an Akathist service to Our Lady of Sitka began.
The icon has been described as “so delicately and artistically done that the more one looks at it the more difficult it is to tear one’s gaze away.” One little girl, the daughter of a St Vladimir’s seminarian, seemed drawn to the icon as she stood and offered silent prayers to the mother of us all. With her stuffed animal under her arm, she reverently kissed the icon and was anointed by His Grace Bishop Nikolai with oil from the lamp that hangs before the icon.
The rest of the CD consists of six Native Alaskan hymns from the Divine Liturgy, the Orthodox service corresponding to the Catholic Mass or Protestant Holy Communion. Sung by a mixed choir of men and women from St. Innocent’s Cathedral in Anchorage, they’re not in English but in several of Alaska’s Native languages.
One is a bright, melodious setting of an ancient prayer to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is sung to a Yup’ik traditional melody, according to the liner notes. It is followed by a Yup’ik version of the Cherubic Hymn, a part of the Eastern liturgy in which the faithful prepare to receive communion. It is stately and reverent, almost ethereal, a soprano descant soaring over the melody and grounded by a low, resonant bass that must be a full octave below the other voices. Another is a joyful version of the ancient text “Glory to God in the highest” is attributed to Bishop Alexi Ponteleif who established a bilingual school at Unalaska (Hudson). Another melody from the Pribilofs, with a text sung in Slavonic, sounds to me for all the world like a Christmas carol. I’ve been drawn to music like this all my life, especially the old American shape-note folk hymns … simple, melodious, very singable pieces of music that were cherished and handed down by ordinary people far from the centers of power and artistic fashion.
When September came, and with it fall semester, class preps, faculty committee meetings, to-do lists and a daily cross-town commute, I found the music helped me focus on my way to and from classes. Even when traffic was backed up on North Grand and West Jefferson Avenue.
So I won’t claim popping a CD into the changer qualifies as spiritual practice, but it did give me a better perspective on life, even in heavy traffic.
When I came home from Alaska with my carry-on luggage full of books and CDs, I thought I was going to learn something about Alaska Natives. What I got instead was an enthusiasm for a kind of music I’d hardly known about before, and a new appreciation for the contributions made not only by Native peoples but also Eastern European immigrants to the diversity of American culture. In the fall I picked up another CD, with selections from settings of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky as well as Russian liturgical composers. I even bought a copy of The Brothers Karamazov over the summer, although I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. And currently I’m downloading material on Russian Orthodox hymnody from Novgorod State University’s website. I can’t say it’s making me an expert on Russia, or liturgy, but the music helps me forget my day-to-day crises and resentments when I listen to it, even in heavy traffic.
So if nothing else, I’ve added another selection to an nondescript playlist of sacred music that includes not only my Sacred Harp sprituals but also Bach’s B Minor Mass, Mahalia Jackson, Bob Marley (whom I consider essentially a Rastafarian gospel singer) and Willie Nelson singing “Have a Little Talk with Jesus.” As I listen to the Alaskan hymns I think of Subdeacon Berezkin translating liturgical hymns into Yup’ik in the bush of western Alaska until his eyesight failed, of the Creole workers who chipped in to buy the wonder-working icon of Sitka for their cathedral and of Dostoevsky’s Father Zossima, for whom every creature, every leaf glorified the Lord.
Besides, anything that helps me resist the urge to honk and curse at other drivers in rush hour traffic on West Jefferson is all to the good.
 When I visited the museum, I didn’t take notes. So my recollection relies heavily on articles by Elizabeth Manning and Shiela Toomey in The Anchorage Daily News and a photo essay on the museum’s grand opening on the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska’s website.
 My broad interpretation of the history follows Lydia Black, Russians in Alaska, 1732-1867, and her paper “Fusion of Cultures and Meeting of the Frontiers: In Memory of Ordinary People.” I also am heavily indebted to Oleksa’s Orthodox Alaska; Sergei Kan, Memory Eternal: Tlingit Culture and Russian Orthodox Christianity through Two Centuries, Andrei Znamenski’s introduction to Through Orthodox Eyes; and an article by Eric Powell, editor of Archaeology magazine, on excavations at Kodiak and Sitka. Of the online encyclopedias I consulted for various purposes, I found OrthodoxWiki the most useful and consulted it frequently.
 In referring to Alaska Natives, I follow the convention described by Tom Kizzia of The Anchorage Daily News as “using an uppercase N, a typographical clue used by newspapers in Alaska to distinguish indigenous people from the sons and daughters of pioneers” (7). The terminology for different Native peoples has changed over the years, and some of the changes have been controversial. The Russians, apparently, were no better at assigning names to the peoples they encountered than English- and French-speaking explorers. I simply follow the usage of my sources.
 Church Slavonic is an archaic form of Russian used in the Orthodox liturgy. My discussion of Russian Orthodox hymnody relies on Dimitri Conomos’ overview of Byzantine hymnody; Paul Barnes’ article “Music as Sacrament”; and the Novgorod State University website My Voice Shalt Thou Hear: Russian Orthodox Hymnody.
Akathist Service to Our Lady of Sitka. Anchorage: Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska, 2005. 17 March 2008. PDF file available at http://www.oca.org/MDcontent.asp?SID=13&Month=Akathists
Akathist Service to Our Lady of Sitka, with other Alaskan Liturgical Hymns. CD. [Anchorage:] Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska, 2005.
Barnes, Paul. “Music as Sacrament.” Orthodox Research Institute. 2001-2005. 17 March 2008. http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/music/barnes_music_sacrament.htm
Beautiful Beyond: Christian Songs in Native Languages. CD. Prod. Howard Bass. National Museum of the American Indian. Washington: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2004.
Billington, James H. The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretive History of Russian Culture. New York: Knopf, 1967.
Black, Lydia T. “Fusion of Cultures and Meeting of the Frontiers: In Memory of Ordinary People.” Paper presented at Meeting of Frontiers Conference, Fairbanks, 17-19 May 2001. Library of Congress. 17 March 2008. http://www.loc.gov/rr/european/mofc/black.html
__________. Russians in Alaska, 1732-1867. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2004.
Bonvillan, Nancy. Native Nations: Cultures and Histories of Native North America. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 2001.
Conomos, Dimitri. “Early Christian and Byzantine Music: History and Performance.” Monachos.net Library. May 2003. 17 March 2008. http://www.monachos.net/liturgics/chant_history.shtml
Dixon, Martha. “Religious Legacy Lives on in Alaska.” BBC News. 12 Sept. 2004. 17 March 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3531458.stm
Ferris, Gail. “Kodiak Alaska to Paddle, Study the Aleut Baidarka and Adventures in Fine Driving: The Time I Rented a Ford Fiesta.” 1996. 17 March 2008. http://www.nkhorizons.com/Kodiak.html
Hudson, Ray. “Education at Unalaska.” Unalaska City School District Newsletter 1991. Rpt. Alaska Studies for Educators (ALST 300), Linda Green. University of Alaska Southeast. 17 March 2008. http://pec.jun.alaska.edu/ALST/pages/ed_at_unak.html
Ivanov, Vyacheslav. Introduction. In the Beginning Was the Word: The Russian Church and Native Alaskan Cultures. Exhibition, Library of Congress, Oct. 7, 1994 – March 4, 1995. 17 March 2008. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/russian/russch0.html
Kan, Sergei. Memory Eternal: Tlingit Culture and Russian Orthodox Christianity through Two Centuries. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999.
Kizzia, Tom. The Wake of the Unseen Object: Travels Through Alaska’s Native Landscapes. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.
Manning, Elizabeth. “New Museum Focuses on Orthodoxy in Alaska.” Anchorage Daily News 3 July 2005. 17 March 2008. http://www.adn.com/life/story/6673357p-6560015c.html
Metzger, Jim. “Alaskan Russian Orthodox Christmas: Starrring.” Pulse of the Planet. National Science Foundation. 13 Jan. 2004. 17 March 2008. http://www.pulseplanet.com/archive/Jan04/3097.html
Mousalimas, S.A. From Mask to Icon: Transformation in the Arctic. Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2004.
Novgorod State University. My Voice Shalt Thou Hear: Russian Orthodox Hymnody. 1998-2007. 17 March 2008. http://www.novgorod.ru/english/read/information/orthodox-hymnody
Oleksa, Michael. “The Alaskan Orthodox Mission and Cosmic Christianity.” 1994. Jacob’s Well. 17 March 2008. http://www.jacwell.org/Supplements/alaskan_orthodox_mission_and_cosmic.htm
__________. Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1992.
Orthodox Church in America. Biographies of St. Innocent of Alaska; St. Herman of Alaska and St. Jacob, Enlightener of the Native Peoples of Alaska. 1996-2007. 17 March 2008. http://www.oca.org/FSnasaints.asp?SID=4
__________. “The Divine Liturgy.” The Orthodox Faith: Worship. 1996-2007. 17 March 2008. http://www.oca.org/OCIndex-TOC.asp?SID=2&book=Worship§ion=The%20Divine%20Liturgy
Powell, Eric A. “Unearthing American’s Czarist Heritage.” Archaeology Sept. 2006: 59-64.
Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska. “Clergy Retreat, March 8-10, 2005.” 17 March 2008. http://dioceseofalaska.org/html/clergyretreat05.html
__________. “Grand Opening of the Russian Orthodox Diocese Museum and Cupola Coffee Shop On the Corner of A & 6th, Anchorage, Alaska, July 5, 2005.” 17 March 2008. http://dioceseofalaska.org/html/grand_opening_2005.html
__________. “Pilgrimage of the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Sitka.” 2005. 17 March 2008. http://dioceseofalaska.org/html/sitka_travels.html
__________. “History of the Wonder-Working Sitka Icon of the Mother of God.” 17 March 2008. http://dioceseofalaska.org/pdf/SitkaIcon-History.pdf
Toomey, Sheila. “Touch of Russia.” Anchorage Daily News 15 March 2006. 17 March 2008. http://www.adn.com/play/dining/_content/index/content1/story/7534815p-7445720c.html
St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. “Wonderworking Icon Comes to St. Vladimir’s Seminary.” 17 Oct. 2005. 17 March 2008. http://www.svots.edu/News/Recent/2005-1017-sitkaicon/
Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, Olga. Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia. Ed. David L. Ransel. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1993.
Znamenski, Andrei A., trans. Through Orthodox Eyes: Russian Missionary Narratives of Travels to the Dena’ina and Ahtna, 1850s-1930s. Rasmuson Library Historical Translation Series 13. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2003.