Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

alashka, and a chapel was built at lytes, at Sitka. Then the Bishop made Oumnak.

Oonalashka his headquarters, and now In 1861 there were in the Russian Am- San Francisco is his seat, from which erican colonies seven churches and thirty- place as a center he administers the five chapels, several of them, including whole of his vast diocese, apportioning the cathedral, having been built at the the funds at his disposal according to the cost of the Russian American Company, needs of the various parishes. which also kept them in repair. The There are among the Aleutians two cost of maintenance was defrayed by parishes and one independent church orvoluntary contributions, and by the pro- ganization. The parish of Belkovsky in fits realized from the sale of candles. At the east embraces the Shumagin islands about this time the total capital of the and the settlements at the south end of churches amounted to more than 255,000 the Alaska peninsula; the Oonalashka rubles, and was kept by the treasurer of parish in the west comprises all the the Company, interest at five per cent islands from Avatanok to Attoo. The being allowed upon it. The contribu- parish churches are at Belkovsky and tions to the Church were made partly in Oonalashka or lliuliuk village, but there money and partly in furs, the Company is a small chapel at nearly every settleallowing the Church from seven to four- ment, where unpaid subordinate members teen rubles for the skin of a sea-otter. of the clergy read the prayers. On the The Company expended on behalf of the Pribylof or Seal islands there is an indeChurch nearly 40,000 rubles per annum, pendent organization, where the natives and built a residence for the Bishop at a maintain a priest and an assistant at cost of 30,000 rubles.

their own expense, and have erected, At the time of the transfer of Russian with some aid from the lessees of the America to the United States, the Greek islands, a fine church. Church maintained a considerable estab- When a community is too poor to mainlishment, consisting of a Bishop, three tain a priest or reader, the Bishop, with priests, two deacons, and numerous aco. money supplied to him from Russia,

[graphic][subsumed]

defrays the cost of maintaining a chapel roofs catching the tourist's eye ere the there. Where there is no resident priest, steamer has yet touched the wharf. the higher rites of the church, such as The church is a cruciform wooden buildbaptism, marriage, etc., are performed ing, consisting of a nearly square hall, by a regularly ordained clergyman from with a sanctuary to the east, and chapels Oonalashka, Belkovsky, Sitka, or even on its north and south sides. It is well from San Francisco, who makes the en- lighted by windows in and below the tire round of the religious establishments dome, which is supported by columns of in Alaska about once in two years. the Byzantine order and has suspended

Outwardly the Aleuts are intensely from its center a heavy silver candelapious, greeting you with a prayer, and brum. The church also contains eight bidding you farewell with a blessing. fine silver candlesticks more than four Before a meal they always ask the bless- feet in height. The belfry has a fine ing of God; when they enter a neighbor's peal of bells, the orignal cost of which house, they cross themselves, and in was 8,700 rubles in silver. On the altar most of their dwellings there is a picture used to rest a representation in miniature of a patron saint, towards which the of the Holy Sepulcher wrought in silver members of the household turn on rising and gold, and the communion cup was in the morning and retiring at night. of gold set with diamonds. But many of They will assemble for prayer whenever the books and vestments which were a priest's services can be obtained; and formerly at Sitka are now in San Franno matter how long the service may be, cisco, brought by Bishop Vladimir. they give it their whole attention without An Orthodox church consists of three manifesting any signs of weariness or parts: the sanctuary, for the clergy; the impatience. They listen with the great- nave, for the faithful; the porch, reest interest to the reading of the Bible, served in the ancient church for cateand keep all fast-days and other religious chumens and penitents. The sanctuary observances strictly. In every village to the east, is raised by steps above the there is a church or chapel; the churches nave, and is separated from it by a being erected and kept in repair, and the screen called the ikono-stas, or imagechapels supported, by the natives. No stand. An ikon is an oil-painting, the other religious denominations have suc- whole of which, except the face and ceeded among the Aleuts except the hands, is covered by heavy robes of Greek Church, the ornate services and chased silver, stamped with the mark of frequent festivals of which appeal the Imperial Mint at St. Petersburg. The strongly to their taste. They willingly ikono-stas is the most striking and charcontribute towards the maintenance of a acteristic detail of the interior of a Holy Reader or Deacon, who performs the Orthodox church; it is adorned with redaily services, and teaches the young presentations of Christ and the saints, people to read, first in the Aleut dialect, and has in it three openings, furnished and then in Russian.

with doors opening inwards. The center The best specimen of a Greek church doors are called the Royal Gates ; they and one of the most interesting structures are double, but are not solid throughout, in the United States is the cathedral at the upper portion being of open wood or Sitka, whose · dome and graceful metal work; behind is a veil which is spirelet are the most striking objects of drawn as the ritual directs. At Sitka the that town, the peculiar green hue of their Royal Gates are of bronze, the panels

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

representing the Annunciation and the men and boys, though the presence of
Four Evangelists; above them is the women in it is not prohibited. All Rus-
Last Supper in silver. The north side of sian church music is for soprano, alto,
the ikono-stas is adorned with an ikon of tenor, and basso ; in good choirs there is
St. Nicholas, a painting of the angel also a contra-basso.
Gabriel, and an ikon of the Virgin and Among the treasures which the war-
Child. On the south side are a figure of den, George Kostrometinoff, brought out
Christ, and a painting and ikon of St. for our inspection was a miter, woven of
Michael, the patron saint of the church. gold and silver threads, and set with

High above the bronze Royal Gates is precious stones, chief among them being
a picture of the Transfiguration, below a single emerald of remarkable size and
which is a portrayal of the same subject depth of color. Bridal crowns, too,
on an oblong canvas attributed to the were there, of gilded silver with crosses
master Raffaelle. The wall space to the at the top, to be worn by bride and
right and left of, and below, the Trans- bridegroom during the marriage-service;
figuration is occupied by other sacred and stoles of Genoese velvet embroidered
subjects. A somewhat ghastly painting in silver and gold by the nuns of Russian
of John the Baptist's head in a charger, convents.
and some pictures by a local artist are Later, on board the G. W. Elder, Mr.
found in another part of the church, but Kostrometinoff gave me some interesting
are of little merit. The most beautiful facts about his Church. The warden
object in the church is the well-known and the priest at Sitka are responsible to
Madonna, in which the faces of the Holy the Bishop at San Francisco. There are
Mother and Child are executed with as about two hundred Russians at Sitka, and
much skill and delicacy as in a miniature the resident priest there receives a little
on ivory.

more than $1,600.00 a year and a house in the middle of the sanctury stands the rent-free. The salary of the Bishop in altar, with a cloth of rich brocade thrown San Francisco is about $3,850.00 per over a linen cover. Behind the altar is annum. The Russian government still a representation of the Crucifixion, and

contributes from forty thousand dollars before it a seven-branched candlestick. to forty-five thousand dollars a year to On the altar are a cross, a book of the the cause of religion and education in Gospels, and a ciborium for the sacred Alaska. In small villages, where there is elements. When the ciborium contains

Co Bisk

the

no resident priest, a choir-master or Reader the Holy Sacrament reserved for the com has charge of a chapel, and receives a munion of the sick or absent, it has a salary of $37.73 a month, the money burning lamp hanging in front of it. The

being sent out from London, and by raised floor of the sanctury projects west the change from rubles to dollars ward into the nave, and furnishes a resulting in this curious sum. In each standing place for the choir ; in the middle

parish there are many chapels, in one as is the ambo, from which the deacon reads

many as eighteen. Besides those which the Gospel. As the attitude of worship have been mentioned there are churches is standing, there are no seats in a Greek at Killisnoo (built in 1889), at Juneau church; and as instrumental music is (built in 1894), at Nushegak on the not employed, there is no organ. The Yukon River, and at the Apollo gold choir sometimes stand in a gallery at the mine at Unga. At Jackson, California, west end of the church, and consists of

is a church, and at Portland and Seattle

the Bis

there are churches served by mission celebration. Lamps and tapers burn, aries.

about the altar, and before the shrines

and ikons; at the Easter matins and on The Bishop now lives at San Fran several other occasions all the worshipcisco, his cathedral being the church of ers hold lighted candles. St. Basil. The building, having been It must be admitted that the cause of adapted from an ordinary house, is not a native religion and education suffered very good specimen of a Greek church: by the transfer of the Russian colonies though its decorations are elaborate. to the United States. Formerly there The walls are covered with enlarge were in the Creole settlements of the ments from famous pictures in the

Kadiak and Aleutian districts schools, at churches of Russia.. On the south side which the children were taught to write, of the ikon-stand is a picture of St.

to read the catechism, some prayers, Basil the Great, kneeling in the robes of and a few chapters of the Bible, in the a bishop at the altar painted by the Russian language or in one of the native noted Russian artist Dumitrashko. An dialects, but since 1867 nearly all these other painting represents St.

St. John schools have been discontinued. VeniChrysostom, holding a two-branched aminof asserted that in his day in some candelabrum in one hand and a cross in places all the Aleuts except the young the other : and there is a picture of children could read well, but this is . Jesus showing the imprints of the nails rather doubtful. It certainly could never and the hole in his side to the doubting have been said of the Kadiakers and Thomas. On the north side are pictures Koloshes; for the first books printed in of the Holy Virgin, of St. Nicholas the Kadiak language were not published proclaiming his faith at the Ecumenical till 1848, and there were none in the Council, and of St. Innocentius, the Kolosh dialects till several years later. Bishop of Siberia. In the nave or body These books contained translations from of the church is the copy of an old ikon the Russian of prayers, hymns, anthems, of the Virgin of Tichoin in Novgorod; it the ten commandments, two of the four is of silver-gilt. In the altar space is Gospels, and a small list of words and the bishop's throne. Bishop Vladimir was common phrases. At the present day, succeeded in 1892 by Bishop Nicolas, of the natives who are members of the the present incumbent of the see. Greek Church only a few can read and Bishops, being generally monks, have write, though in places where there are only one Christian name.

parish churches perhaps one third of the The regular position of the priest is population have an elementary educatowards the east facing the throne, and tion. during the celebration the details of the The natives and Creoles, all along consecration of the wine and bread are the coast from Mt. St. Elias westward, not visible to the congregation. The Holy are wedded to the faith of the Greek Sacrament is celebrated with leavened Orthodox Church, which in 1880 claimed bread, and the chalice contains wine and 10,950 members, distributed over the water mixed at the table of oblations. parishes of Sitka, Oonalashka, Belkovsky, Much incense is employed, the sanctuary Kadiak, Pribylof, and the missions of and the whole church being perfumed at Nushegak, Yukon, and Kenai. Of the beginning of the service, and repeat course, the church is poor, and most of edly during the more solemn acts of the the chapels are in the hands of natives

and Creoles who are not clergymen. traders and hunters squatted down and These readers drone lazily through the smoked, and sometimes even laughed so appointed services, and preside on feast loudly that the priest could not go on days. The number of members of the with his duty. The priests baptized a Church is, doubtless, placed too high, few natives every year, and visited and does not really exceed seven or such of the villages as were situated eight thousand.

near to the trading-posts, but they did Speaking generally, it may be said very little to spread the word of God or that, except among the Aleuts, who have

to help and comfort the poor in their become thoroughly Russianized, the hours of suffering and distress : nor did Russian Church never acquired any they make any serious efforts to induce strong hold upon the natives of Alaska. the natives to adopt more settled and Many of the Aleuts write and speak industrious habits. Sir George Simpson Russian, and are able to follow the and other travelers accuse them of being church services, which are conducted in hard drinkers, and Mr. Dall mentions the old Slavonian language. But the one, who, after serving for seven years preaching of the Russian clergy, with as a missionary on the Yukon, thanked the exception of Veniaminof, made very God, that he was about to return to little impression on the savage Koloshes Russia, where a glass of rum could be and Kadiakers, who retain most of their bought for twenty-five kopecks. old superstitions and practise Shaman Yet on the fog-begirt Pribylof islands ism to the present day. The Kadiakers and in other dreary parts of the vast have had missionaries among them since territory of Alaska, the brilliant services 1794, but they show little interest in and numerous festivals of the Greek religious observances. Under Baranof's Church lend a few touches of brightness administration the priests were held in to the hard, dull lives of the natives, scant respect, even by their own country- and help to save them from utter stagnamen, During the sermons the rough tion.

Arthur Inkersley.

AFTERWARDS.

A SHATTERED ship sailed in from sea;

Wild were the seas thro' which she'd passed, -
Her sailors laughed and danced with glee;

For they were home at last.

And so they furled the tattered sails;

They chaffed the Storm King in defeat;
They made of dangers merry tales,
And bitterness turned sweet.

Frederick A. Bisbee.

« AnteriorContinuar »