Subdeacon John was the traveling Subdeacon with Bishop NIKOLAI. He was born, raised and Baptized in Anchorage. In 2006, he graduated from Robert Service High School. He worked in music production with friends who had a Rap/Hip-hop band. The band is now called "Odd Ones Out". He still helps when needed.
Subdeacon first served the Church at the age of five, and over the years wanted to be a priest. Bishop NIKOLAI was a huge influence on his decision to go to seminary. Vladyka recognized John was well-disciplined in his work for the Church. When Vladyka asked John about his plans, John told him he wanted to serve the Church.
John accompanied Vladyka NIKOLI to the St. Herman Pilgrimage in 2002. He began serving with His Grace at St. Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage - reading the Hours and Epistle. John learned a lot in a short period of time. He often traveled with Bishop NIKOLAI as his Subdeacon.
When Bishop NIKOLAI retired in 2007, John lost trust in some of the Alaska clergy. This led to too much partying. He took on low-paying jobs to get by and help his mother. One morning, John woke up and asked himself "What are you really trying to do?"
He decided to quite partying get back into the church. When he went to Fr. John Zabinko, Dean of St. Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage, he was greeted warmly. Father John, thrilled to see him, told Subdeacon John he should get settled in Anchorage, pay his bills, etc. With the direction of Fr. John, Subdeacon John followed this plan and enrolled at St. Herman Seminary in May 2011. He was accepted in July 2011. His first year was amazing.
He loves being at seminary and helps with the teaching. He loves the peacefulness of Kodiak. He is glad he stayed with his decision to go to St. Herman Theological Seminary. He knows Evil was tempting him, and he is glad to serve the Lord and bring people to Him. He has many ideas for helping the community including bringing in the locals to participate with seminary needs and projects.
Sponsored by Greater Dallas Clergy Brotherhood Dallas - Fr. Worth and surrounding area - TX Pan-Orthodox Group
June 17. 1987
Anchorage/250,000/St. Innocent Cathedral
V. Rev. John Zabinko
St. John the Theologian
After graduating from Zacharias John William Memorial High School in 1989, Alexander joined the Alaska National Guard. His duties included infantry, paper work, etc. After 12 years, he had received two honorable discharges. He then worked in accounts receivable for the school district in Akiachak. Before going to seminary, Alexander worked with the IRA as a Tribal Court Administrator.
He met his wife, Fannie in 1989 in Akiachak. As a young person, Alexander grew up attending church. He helped clean and attended Sunday School. God pulled his heart towards seminary. He and Fannie talked about this, and he began researching St. Herman Theological Seminary (SHS). In 2007, he attended a conference at SHS and liked the environment for learning.
He feels he is good at talking with elders. At seminary, he's served in the altar, sung in the seminary choir and helped raise money for the seminary mission trip. He wants to help SHS in any way possible with fundraising. His favorite class last year was Slavonic. Studying was hard at first, but as the years progress, he knows it will get easier. Reading is a challenge for him. Last year the students helped each other out with homework and other difficulties.
Fannie has applied for a teaching position in Kodiak. The most difficult thing for the family is being homesick for the village life. Now, they have adjusted to city life, become comfortable with seminary teachers and students and generally like being in Kodiak.
Alexander and his family arrived in Kodiak the end of August 2013 to begin their second year at St. Herman Theological Seminary. Since his village does not have a home parish, the community of Achiachak is planning to build an Orthodox Church. The name will be St. John the Forerunner. Alexander will be instrumental in the starting of this new parish.
Sponsored by St. John of Damascus Orthodox Church Poway, CA OCA
April 3, 1969
Akiachak /900/St. John the Forerunner
Fr. Vasily Fisher, Napaskiak, AK
Sergius graduated from High School in 2004. He then went to Anchorage to attend University of Alaska where he met his wife, Christine. They dated for a few years, then lived together and worked. He and Christine had two children before they married in 2010. Sergius was drinking alcohol extensively during these years. Christine prayed consistently that he would stop this behavior.
During a prayer service, when he was chosen to be a Godfather, he felt a "smack" on his face indicating he needed to make this change in his life. He realized as he held his new godchild that he needed to stop the life he was living and become responsible to his wife and children. He felt he should start serving God. He worked three years as an Instructive aid for children with extreme high needs - both physically and psychologically.
In 2012, his son, Carl, became ill and was taken to the clinic in New Stuyahok. Fr. Alexie Askoak prayed with them at the clinic, and Carl became much better. This was a very important event in Sergius' life.
He listens to Ancient Faith Radio. This influence, that of his priest and his priest's son led him to consider seminary. Christine at first objected to seminary, but has been more supportive since they've been at seminary.
She is more of a mother and wife. He has leaned that she must be taken care of and come first. He is always attending classes/services. He is practicing self-control by not indulging in earthly things but rather indulging in the spiritual things that the Lord gives us in His Church.
No sponsor at this time.
March 23, 1986
New Stuyahok/550-600/St. Sergius of Radonenezeh
Archpriest Alexei Askoak
Mary graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1998. She continued her education with four years at University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF) and five years at University of Alaska at Anchorage (UAA). She worked while in college. Her work during these years and prior to coming to seminary was as a Social Worker. She was a case worker for persons with disabilities with a focus on autism/fetal alcohol syndrome. She managed a $275,000 grant from the State of Alaska and wrote grants for projects.
She would like to see the church more involved in social issues in Alaska. She feels the church has a place particularly suicide and substance abuse counseling within the foundation of the Church. Mary is seeking her education in Clinical Pastoral Education - CPE - counseling within a clinical setting.
Mary converted to Orthodoxy in 2007. She was raised nondenominational and always felt she was getting only "part of the story". After her best friend committed suicide, she started going back to the protestant church. Someone told her to go to the Orthodox Church and the minute she attended, she knew she would be Orthodox. She was counseled by Fr. John Zabinko, Dean of St. Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
Mary attended the Spruce Island Pilgrimage just a few days after her baptism in 2007. During the pilgrimage, she was seated at a table with Fr. Michael Oleksa during a meal. She knew that SHS had a counseling program but thought men could only attend SHS. Fr. Oleksa told her that SHS does accept female students. She went back to her room, prayed, walked and prayed more. She visited the seminary and talked with Matushka Bea Dunlop - wife of seminary Dean, Fr. John Dunlop. Mary visited with her parents and Fr. John Zabinko. She then applied for seminary and was accepted.
Mary currently maintains a 4.0 GPA and worked for Fr. David Mahaffey at the Diocese of Alaska Administrative office during summer 2013. Her calling to establish social work services within the Diocese of Alaska is supported by the diocese administrator, V. Rev. Fr. David Mahaffey. It is her plan after graduation to work for the Diocese of Alaska helping address the social issues in Alaska.
Sponsored by Father Gary Breton and Matushka Mary Buletza Point Pleasant, NJ - OCA
January 29, 1980
Anchorage/300,000/St. Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Fr. John Zabinko
When Herman was 16 years old, he got in trouble with the law. This was largely due to youthful activity making wrong choices on alcohol and drug use and other issues. His frandfather, Judge Roy Madsen, gave him the choice to become part of the St. Innocent Academy or go to jail. Herman chose the academy and went there under the tight structure of Fr. Paisius De Lucia.
His mother abandoned him when he was a child and left him with his paternal grandmother. He had never been baptized but had attended an Orthodox church with an aunt. His grandmother was Episcopalian. Once Herman was taken St. Innocent Academy, he knew he wanted to turn his life around. He was baptized by Fr. Paisius at the academy in 2003.
Herman graduated from Kodiak High School in 2006. He then attended University of Alaska Anchorage in Kodiak for one semester to work on his CNA - Nurse Assistant Certificate. After working at a local clinic in Kodiak for one year, he returned to UAA for his nursing degree. This was not completed at this time. e then worked for a while at an assisted living home before changing to work at the hospital. During 2013, he worked for the Karluk Native Corporation on landing craft hauling transport goods to villages near Kodiak.
It was about this time that he met Erika Mary Johnson - a student at St. Herman Theological Seminary. They fell in love, but he did not have the support from Fr. Paisius on his choice of Erika. He was told he had to give up his association with her or leave the academy. He left the academy and was living on his own while working on a landing craft. One day he was walking near the seminary and ran into Bert Nicholas Montiegel - a student there. Bert told Herman that there was an empty room at the seminary and suggested that he enroll at seminary and study for service to the church in Alaska. By now, Herman was a member of Holy Resurrection Cathedral, and his priest was Fr. Innocent Dresdow. He prayed the Akathist to St. Herman that night for guidance. The next day he talked with Fr. John Dunlop, Dean of the seminary who suggested he talk with Fr. Innocent.
As he walked to Fr. Innocent's house near the seminary, Fr. Innocent drove up in his car and motioned to Herman that he was needed to help take some pilgrims to Spruce Island - the home of St. Herman. While he was on Spruce Island, he felt that God was there and that it was confirmed this was the direction he was to go - attend St. Herman Theological Seminary. He prayed at all of the Holy Places on Spruce Island. Then he jumped into the river and caught a fish with his hands. That was a sign for him - he was to go.
When he returned to Kodiak, he gave notice to his boss that he would be leaving his job. This was not a happy exchange. His boss was not happy to lose Herman because he was such a good worker. He expressed his anger but it did not change what Herman knew he was meant to do. In 2014, he applied to SHS and was accepted as a first year student. His favorite subjects are Doctrine and Spirituality. He feels that he has acquired a good structure at seminary.
On May 4, 2014, Herman and Erika Mary were married at Holy Resurrection Cathedral with Bishop DAVID Mahaffey and several Alaska clergy officiating and overseeing the marriage ceremony. Herman and Mary spent their honeymoon in Sitka where they met Fr. Michael Doyle - Dean at St. Michael the Archangel Cathedral. Here they did some hospital visitation. Herman hopes to help with drug/substance abuse prevention in Alaska as well as the education of the faithful in their Orthodox parishes. He is expected to graduate from St. Herman Theological Seminary in May of 2017. Erika Mary graduats in May of 2016.
Sponsored by Father Gary Breton and Matushka Mary Buletza Point Pleasant, NJ - OCA
August 29, 1986
Kodiak/2,010/Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Fr. Innocent Dresdow