Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Article makes it clear author knows little about church history

This letter comes to you from the newly established and recently dedicated and blessed St. Yakov Center for Orthodox Christian Learning in Soldotna.

This is a God-given dream which began to take shape for Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula especially, when a small house on 1.44 acres of wooded land became available in Soldotna. It will serve as a resource center and will be available to all who wish to become better acquainted with the Orthodox faith, as well as those Orthodox Christians who would like to come to a better understanding of the faith of their forefathers.

Since your office was notified regarding the special open house when an explanation for its purpose was explained, we wish you had utilized our available resources on church history prior to publishing the article, "300 years -- and counting, Russian Old Believers hang on in Oregon," by Andrew Kramer in Friday's Peninsula Clarion. Mr. Kramer, obviously, is unclear about the main issues which transpired and caused a group in Russia to break away from the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and to form the sect: the Old Believers.

This is apparent when Mr. Kramer says that "the schism concerned such seemingly trivial issues as how many fingers should be extended while making the sign of the cross: The Old Believers use two, modern Russian Orthodox three."

First of all, "the Old Believers" are in reality the "modern Russian Orthodox," being in existence for only, according to the author, "300 years." The One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church from which this group broke away to form a sect had its birth from Pentecost and continues to the present. Secondly, there is a deep meaning for Orthodox Christians when we make the sign of the Cross. Orthodox Christians pray in the name of the Triune God, (Holy Trinity). When we make the sign of the Cross we say: "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The two index fingers and the thumb of the right hand are joined together at the tips to show that we believe in God the Father Who loves us, God the Son Who saves us, God the Holy Spirit Who lives in us. The three fingers are joined together to show that we believe not in three gods but in one.

The remaining fingers stand for the two natures of God. These two fingers are brought down into the palm of the hand to show that Jesus came down from heaven for our salvation. Orthodox Christians, when making the sign of the Cross are praying with our whole body; with our whole person, body, mind and heart. This act reminds us of the price Jesus our Savior paid to save us. When we touch our forehead, we are saying "In the name of the Father," that we love Him, our Lord God, with all of our mind, heart, soul and strength. When we touch our chest, we reconfirm our love to God, the Son, with heart and soul. When we touch our shoulders, in the name of the Holy Spirit, we are telling Him that we love Him with all of our strength.

"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Today, more than a thousand years later, the Orthodox Apostolic Faith of the inspired New Testament record, remains intact and in full communion.

We who live in Alaska are the recipients of those who have come before us: Saint Herman, Saint Innocent, Saint Yuvenaly, Saint Peter the Aleut and Saint Yakov -- selfless servants of God and of His Church. We are on Holy Ground.

Sincerely, a servant in Christ,

Varvara (Barbara Sediakina-Larson)


Puppies' tragic deaths point to need for responsible humans

I have lived on the Kenai Peninsula since 1983 during which time I have made precious friendships and met some very caring, responsible people. Unfortunately, I have also observed and read about the opposite side of the human condition, in varying degrees and situations.

I was infuriated and horrified to read of the cruelty case of puppies recently thrown into an Anchor Point Dumpster on a sub-zero night, all but one suffering a painful and unnecessary death. The one lucky female "Holly Beary" nearly died as well before being saved by a kind teen-ager who heard her cries and went for help.

My first reaction to "whoever you are" was to tell you that you are despicable! How dare you treat lives who have as much right to live and be cared for as you do this way! My second thought is to realize that you are in dire need of help for this and your apparent other social and behavioral problems that go hand-in-hand with this sort of thing.

I can find compassion for you only in the hope that you will realize what you have done and vow to never ever harm an innocent creature again. Take a moment to stand alone outdoors on a clear winter night in our magnificent wilderness and think about the misery and suffering you unnecessarily caused these innocent puppies, ask for forgiveness, and most importantly get yourself some help!

To the families who inquired about "Holly" and to the family who adopted her as soon as they were allowed to, it's people like you who give our world hope and make it a better place. To anyone who knows the individual(s) responsible for this heartless act, it is your moral obligation to notify the Alaska State Troopers so that this sort of thing is not allowed to happen again. Our world is different now, and each and every one of us needs to work one day at a time to make our world both safe and loving "for all creatures." I am confident that the majority of the residents on this peninsula share my opinion.

I appreciate the vast coverage that the Peninsula Clarion gave to this situation, and its continued work toward educating the community as to the correct and humane treatment of animals. To the offender, there were so many other solutions to your problem of not wanting these puppies. They would have been better off having been taken to the local animal shelter where they would have at least been warm and fed and had a chance or an animal rescue group been contacted.

And what about these puppies' mother? I think we are all worried about her well-being, too. Please consider bringing her to a spay clinic so that she does not suffer this trauma again.

Susan Webster


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