‘What Basis for Unity?’
The calamity that has befallen most of the Native American tribes of North America is an evil that needs to be repented of and atoned for in real, substantive ways:
We will let wiser souls decide on what needs to be done regarding that, but there is also a lesson that can be learned and applied today by the peoples of the world, taken from the North American Natives’ experience:
The West seeks unity by military conquest; the Orthodox East seeks unity by voluntary consent.
Two events from the history of the Natives of North America will illustrate this.
First is what is known as King Philip’s War (1675-6) in New England, where, initially, relations with the Natives were good. But things changed for the worse as time went on.
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Relations between the two groups had long been strained due to competition for land and resources. The natives had become increasingly dependent on English goods, weapons and food while their own resources dried up as the fur trade slowed, their tribal lands were sold, and Native-American leaders were forced to recognize English authority.
After rapid expansion of English settlements led to a steady succession of forced sales of the Native’s land, the relationship between the two sides began to deteriorate, according to the book Pictorial History of King Philip’s War:
“A second cause of war was the frequent demands of the settlers for the purchase of his lands. Philip was too wise not to discover that if these continued he would not have a home in all the territories which his father had governed. From a period long before the death of Massosoit, until 1671, no year passed in which large tracts were not obtained by the settlers. At length he made a kind of informal agreement with the Plymouth authorities, to sell no more land for seven years. After this, they endeavoured to entice him before the court, hoping that they could succeed better in negotiating with him there than in his own country. Philip evaded their invitation, but afterwards he sold several portions of land. All this was calculated to cause discontent among his people, and to arouse the suspicions of the chief as to the ultimate designs of his neighbours.”
In 1671, the colonists became suspicious that Philip was planning an attack against them and summoned him to Taunton, Massachusetts where they questioned him and demanded that he sign a peace treaty that required the Wampanoag to surrender their arms, which he did.
Then, in January of 1675, John Sassamon, a Christian Native-American, told Plymouth’s governor, Josiah Winslow, that King Philip was planning an attack against the colonists.
Winslow was slow to respond to the information until later that month, on January 29, when Sassamon was found dead at Assawampsett Pond and an Indian witness claimed he saw three Wampanoags murder him and throw his body into the war. The colonists arrested the three men, tried them and executed them at Plymouth plantation on June 8.
This one act set the stage for war, according to the book Pictorial History of King Philip’s War:
“This affair was the signal of war. The two parties had suspected each other so long, that all ties of friendship had been dissolved. Add to this the steady extension of the English, and consequent limitations of the Indians; the disputes about land, the death of Alexander, the mortifying ‘examinations’ to which Philip was subjected, and the increasing excitement both amongst colonists and Indians, occasioned by the rumours of war, and we may perceive that the opposing elements required but a single further act of aggression on either side to result in an explosion.”
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Source: Rebecca Brooks, http://historyofmassachusetts.org/what-was-king-philips-war/, opened 2 Dec. 2017
The result of the war was the nearly complete disappearance of the Natives from the region:
The effects of the war, on both the colonists and the natives, were disastrous. By the end of the war, more than 600 colonists had died, around 1,200 homes had been burned and around 12 out of 90 new settlements were destroyed.
The wide scale destruction caused such devastating financial losses the English expansion in the region completely stopped for 50 years.
The losses were far worse for the natives though. Out of the total population of 20,000 Native-Americans in southern New England at the time, an estimated 2,000 were killed, another 3,000 had died of sickness and starvation, around 1,000 were captured and sold into slavery, and an estimated 2,000 fled to join the Iroquois in the west or the Abenaki in the north. This adds up to a loss of between 60 to 80 percent of the native population in the region.
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As destructive as it was, King Philip’s War was a turning point in American history though because it gave the colonists control of southern New England and cleared the way for English expansion in the area, according to the book Pictorial History of King Philip’s War:
“Philip’s war had admirably prepared the colonies for this result. They had suffered, but they had also triumphed; and the triumph was of that sure nature which leaves for the victor no future apprehensions of his foe. That foe was extinct; he had left the wilderness, and the hunting-ground, and the stream from whose waters he had often drawn his daily food, and the hills where his ancestors sat viewing their noble domain, when the coming of the white man was announced to them, to his conqueror. Though the colonists were at this time so poor that they could scarcely defray the expense of the government, yet there never had been a period in their history when they had more solid grounds of encouragement. Almost the whole country was before them; and, what was still a great advantage, there were no enemies to oppose their immediately taking possession.”
Rather than show humility or restraint, the Puritans, deluded by their ideas of being ‘chosen by God’ to inherit the lands of North America, kept pushing their claims until a war broke out. Not even the terrible effects of the war, however, would awaken any sorrow in their hearts over what they had done:
The Puritans interpreted their victory as a sign of God’s favor, as well as a symbolic purge of their spiritual community.
Source: http://www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/king-philips-war, opened 2 Dec. 2017
However, there was another group of settlers in North America interacting with the Natives other than those from the nations of Western Europe, and their example is far more uplifting: the Russians.
The second event we will look at, then, is the interaction of the Russian Orthodox missionary saints with the Natives of Alaska.
Saint Herman of Alaska
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In the second half of the 18th century the borders of Holy Russia expanded to the north. In those years Russian merchants discovered the Aleutian Islands which formed in the Pacific Ocean a chain from the eastern shores of Kamchatka to the western shares of North America. With the opening of these islands there was revealed the sacred necessity to illumine with the light of the Gospel the native inhabitants. With the blessing of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Gabriel gave to the Elder Nazarius the task of selecting capable persons from the brethern of Valaam for this holy endeavor. Ten men were selected, and among them was Father Herman. The chosen men left Valaam for the place of their great appointment in 1793. (The members of this historical mission were: Archimandrite Joseph (Bolotoff), the Hieromonks, Juvenal, Macarius, Athanasius, Stephan and Nectarius, Hierodeacons, Nectarius and Stephen, and the monks Joasaph, and Herman.)
As a result of the holy zeal of the preachers the light of the evangelic sermon quickly poured out among the sons of Russia, and several thousand pagans accepted Christianity. A school for the education of newly-baptized children was organized, and a church was built at the place where the missionaries lived. But by the inscrutable providence of God the general progress of the mission was unsatisfactory. After five years of very productive labor, Archimandrite Joasaph, who had just been elevated to the rank of bishop, was drowned with his party. (This occurred on the Pacific Ocean between Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands. The ship, Phoenix, one of the first sea-going ships built in Alaska, sailed from Okhotsk carrying the first Bishop for the American Mission and his party. The Phoenix was caught in one of the many storms which periodically sweep the northern Pacific, and the ship and all hands perished together with Bishop Joasaph and his party.) Before this the zealous Hieromonk Juvenal was granted the martyr’s crown. The others died one after another until in the end only Father Herman remained. The Lord permitted him to labor longer than any of his brethren in the apostolic task of enlightening the Aleutians.
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In America, Father Herman chose as his place of habitation Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam. This island is separated by a strait about a mile and a quarter wide from Kodiak Island on which had been built a wooden monastery for the residence of the members of the mission, and a wooden church dedicated to the Resurrection of the Savior. (New Valaam was named for Valaam on Lake Ladoga, the monastery from which Father Herman came to America. It is interesting to note that Valaam is also located on an island, although, this island is in a fresh water lake, whereas, Spruce Island is on the Pacific Ocean, although near other islands and the Alaskan mainland.)
Spruce Island is not large, and is almost completely covered by a forest. Almost through its middle a small brook flows to the sea. Herman selected this picturesque island for the location of his hermitage. He dug a cave out of the ground with his own hands, and in it he lived his first full summer. For winter there was built for him a cell near the cave, in which he lived until his death. The cave was converted by him into a place for his burial. A wooden chapel, and a wooden house to be used as a schoolhouse and a guest house were built not too distant from his cell. A garden was laid out in front of his cell. For more than forty years Father Herman lived here.
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The way in which Father Herman looked upon the natives of America, how he understood his own relations with them, and how he was concerned for their needs he expressed himself in one of his letters to the former administrator of the colony, Simeon Yanovsky. He wrote, “Our Creator granted to our beloved homeland this land which like a newly-born babe does not yet have the strength for knowledge or understanding. It requires not only protection, because of its infantile weakness and impotence, but also his sustenance. Even for this it does not yet have the ability to make an appeal on its own behalf. And since the welfare of this nation by the Providence of God, it is not known for how long, is dependent on and has been entrusted into the hands of the Russian government which has now been given into your own power, therefore I, the most humble servant of these people, and their nurse (nyanka) stand before you in their behalf, write this petition with tears of blood. Be our Father and our Protector. Certainly we do not know how to be eloquent, so with an inarticulate infant’s tongue we say: Wipe away the tears of the defenseless orphans, cool the hearts melting away in the fire of sorrow. Help us to know what consolation means.”
The Elder acted the way he felt. He always interceded before the governors on behalf of those who had transgressed. He defended those who had been offended. He helped those who were in need with whatever means he had available. The Aleuts, men, women and children, often visited him. Some asked for advice, others complained of oppression, others sought out defense, and still others desired help. Each one received the greatest possible satisfaction from the Elder. He discussed their mutual difficulties, and he tried to settle these peacefully. He was especially concerned about reestablishing understanding in families. If he did not succeed in reconciling a husband and wife, the Elder prevailed upon them to separate temporarily. The need for such a procedure he explained thus, “it is better to let them live apart, or believe me, it can be terrible if they are not separated. There have been incidents when a husband killed his wife, or when a wife destroyed her husband.”
Father Herman especially loved children. He made large quantities of biscuits for them, and he baked cookies (krendelki) for them; and the children were fond of the Elder. Father Herman’s love for the Aleuts reached the point of self-denial.
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The Elder was concerned in particular for the moral growth of the Aleuts. With this end in mind a school was built for children-the orphans of the Aleuts. He himself taught them the Law of God and church music. For this same purpose he gathered the Aleuts on Sunday and Holy Days for prayer in the chapel near his cell. Here his disciple read the Hours and the various prayers while the Elder himself read the Epistle and Gospel. He also preached to them. His students sang, and they sang very well. The Aleuts loved to hear his sermons, gathering around him in large numbers. The Elder’s talks were captivating, and his listeners were moved by their wonderous power. He himself writes of one example of the beneficial results of his words.
“Glory to the holy destinies of the Merciful God! He has shown me now through his unfathomable Providence a new occurrence which I, who have lived here for twenty years had never seen before on Kodiak,” he wrote. “Recently after Easter, a young girl about twenty years of age who knows Russian well, came to me. Having heard of the Incarnation of the Son of God and of Eternal Life, she became so inflamed with love for Jesus Christ that she does not wish to leave me. She pleaded eloquently with me. Contrary to my personal inclination and love for solitude, and despite all the hindrances and difficulties which I put forward before accepting her, she has now been living near the school for a month and is not lonesome. I, looking on this with great wonder, remembered the words of the Savior: ‘that which is hidden from the wise and learned is revealed to babes’” (Matthew 11:25).
This woman lived at the school until the death of the Elder. She watched for the good conduct of the children who studied in his school. Father Herman willed that after his death she was to continue to live on Spruce Island. Her name was Sophia Vlasova.
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The time of the Elder’s passing had come. One day he ordered his disciple Gerasim to light a candle before the Icons, and to read the Acts of the Holy Apostles. After some time his face glowed brightly and he said in a loud voice, “Glory to Thee, O Lord!” He then ordered the reading to be halted, and he announced that the Lord had willed that his life would now be spared for another week. A week later, again by his orders, candles were lit, and the Acts of the Holy Apostles were read. Quietly, the Elder bowed his head on Gerasim’s chest; the cell was filled with a sweet-smelling odor; and his face glowed, and Father Herman was no more! Thus he died in blessedness, he passed away in the sleep of a righteous man in the eighty-first year of his life of great labor the 25th day of December 1837. (It was the 13th of December according to the Julian Calendar, although there are some records which state that he died on November 28th and was buried on December 26th).
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Having witnessed the life of Father Herman glorified by his zealous labors, having seen his miracles, and the fulfillment of his predictions, finally having observed his blessed falling asleep, “in general, all the local inhabitants,” Bishop Peter witnesses, “have the highest esteem for him, as though he was a holy ascetic, and they are fully convinced that he has found favor in the presence of God.”
Source: https://oca.org/saints/lives/2016/08/09/102241-glorification-of-the-venerable-herman-of-alaska-wonderworker-of, opened 2 Dec. 2017
St Innocent of Alaska
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St. Innocent, né Ivan (John) Evseyevich Popov-Veniaminov, was born on August 26, 1797, into the family of a church server in the village of Anginskoye, Verkholensk District, Irkutsk province, in Russia. His father died when John was six.
In 1807, John entered the Irkutsk Theological Seminary. In 1817 he married, and on May 18, 1817 he was ordained deacon of the Church of the Annunciation in Irkutsk. He completed his studies in 1818. He was appointed a teacher in a parish school, and on May 18, 1821 he was ordained priest to serve in the Church of the Annunciation.
At the beginning of 1823, Bishop Michael of Irkutsk received instructions to send a priest to the island of Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Father John Veniaminov volunteered to go, and on May 7, 1823, he departed from Irkutsk, accompanied by his aging mother, his wife, his infant son Innocent, and his brother Stefan. After a difficult one-year journey, they arrived at Unalaska on July 29, 1824.
After John and his family built and moved into an earthen hut, he undertook the construction of Holy Ascension Church on the island and set about studying the local languages and dialects. He trained some of his parishioners in construction techniques and with them undertook the construction of a church, which was finished the following July.
Father John's parish included the island of Unalaska and the neighboring Fox Islands and Pribilof Islands, whose inhabitants had been converted to Christianity before his arrival, but retained many of their pagan ways and customs. Father John often traveled between the islands in a canoe, battling the stormy Gulf of Alaska.
His travels over the islands greatly enhanced Father John Veniaminov's familiarity with the local dialects. In a short time he mastered six of the dialects. He devised an alphabet of Cyrillic letters for the most widespread dialect, the Unagan dialect of Aleut and, in 1828, translated the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew and other church materials into that dialect, which were eventually published in 1840 with the blessing of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1829, he journeyed to the Bering Sea coast of the Alaskan mainland and preached to the people there. In 1836, his travels even extended to the south, to the Ross Colony north of San Francisco and to the Spanish missions of northern California. At Ross Colony he conducted services at its small, wooden chapel.
In 1834, Father John was transferred to Sitka Island, to the town of Novoarkhangelsk, later called Sitka. He devoted himself the Tlingit people and studied their language and customs. His studies there produced the scholarly works Notes on the Kolushchan and Kodiak Tongues and Other Dialects of the Russo-American Territories, with a Russian-Kolushchan Glossary.
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Source: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Innocent_of_Alaska, opened 2 Dec. 2017
St Jacob Netsvetov
Father Jacob (Netsvetov) of Alaska was born of pious parents in 1802 on Atka Island, Alaska. His father, Yegor Vasil’evich Netsvetov was a Russian from Tobolsk. His mother, Maria Alekseevna, was an Aleut from Atka island. Yegor and Maria had four children who survived infancy; Jacob was the first born, followed by Osip (Joseph), Elena, and Antony. Yegor and Maria were devoted to their children and, though of meager means, did all they could to provide them with the education which would help them in this life as well as in the life to come. Osip and Antony were eventually able to study at the Saint Petersburg Naval Academy in Russia, becoming a naval officer and a shipbuilder, respectively. Their sister, Elena, married a successful and respected clerk for the Russian-American Company. But Jacob yearned for a different kind of success, a success that the world might consider failure for “the righteous live forever, their reward is with the Lord” (Wis. Sol. 5:15). And so, when the family moved to Irkutsk in 1823, Jacob enrolled in the Irkutsk Theological Seminary and placed all his hope in Christ by seeking first the Kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33).
Jacob was tonsured as a Subdeacon on October 1, 1825. He married a Russian woman (perhaps also a Creole) named Anna Simeonovna, and in 1826 graduated from the Seminary with certificates in history and theology. On October 31, 1826, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and assigned to serve the altar of the Holy Trinity-Saint Peter Church in Irkutsk. Two years later, on March 4, 1828, Archbishop Michael, who had earlier ordained Father John Veniaminov (Saint Innocent), elevated the godly deacon Jacob to the Holy Priesthood. This, however, was no ordinary ordination. As if he were a new Patrick, hearing the mystical call of his distant flock, Father Jacob yearned to return to his native Alaska. And the all-good God, who “satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Ps.107:9) heard the prayer of his servant.
Archbishop Michael provided Father Jacob with two antimensia: one for the new Church which would be dedicated to the glory of God in honor of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker in Atka, and one to be used for missionary activity. On May 1, 1828 a molieben for travelers was served, and Father Jacob, his father, Yegor, (now tonsured as reader for the Atka Church), and his matushka, Anna, set out for Alaska.
Who can tell of the perils and trials associated with such a journey? Travel in those days was never easy, either overland or over the waves of the sea. Nevertheless, aided by prayer and confidence in God’s providence, the Netsvetov family arrived safely in Atka over a year later, on June 15, 1829. The new assignment for the newly-ordained Father Jacob would also prove to be quite a challenge. The Atka “parish” comprised a territory stretching for nearly 2,000 miles and included Amchitka, Attu, Copper, Bering and Kurile Islands. But this did not deter the godly young priest, for when he was clothed in the garments of the Priesthood, he was found to be “clad with zeal as a cloak’ (Is. 59:17), and so he threw himself wholly into his sacred ministry. His deep love for God and for his flock was evident in everything that he did. Both in Atka and in the distant villages and settlements which he visited, Father Jacob offered himself as a “living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). Having “no worry about his life” (Mt. 6:25 ff), the holy one endured manifold tortures of cold, wet, wind, illness, hunger and exhaustion, for to him life was Christ (Phil 1:21). Showing himself as a “rule of faith,” his example brought his people to a deep commitment to their own salvation. Being fully bilingual and bicultural, Father Jacob was uniquely blessed by God to care for the souls of his fellow Alaskans.
When he arrived in Atka, the Church of Saint Nicholas had not yet been built. So, with his own hands Father Jacob constructed a large tent (Acts 18:3) in which he conducted the services. For Father Jacob the services of the Church were life: life for his people and life for himself. It was in the worship of God that he found both strength and joy. Later he would transport this tent with him on his missionary journeys, and like Moses in the wilderness, the grace of God was found wherever this tent was taken (Num 4:1 ff; 10:17 ff).
When his first six months had ended (end of 1829), Father Jacob recorded that he had baptized 16, chrismated 442, married 53 couples, and buried 8.
Once the church was constructed, Father Jacob turned his attention to the building of a school in which the children would learn to read and write both Russian and Unangan Aleut. The Russian American Company provided some of the support initially, with the students providing the remainder. This continued until 1841, when it was reorganized as a parish school and ties with the company ceased. Father Jacob proved to be a talented educator and translator whose students became distinguished Aleut leaders in the next generation.
. . . He labored over the creation of an adequate alphabet for the Unangan-Aleut language, and the translation of the Holy Scriptures and other appropriate literature into that language. Saint Innocent praised the young pastor for his holiness of life, his teaching, and for continuing this work of translating which he, himself, had begun earlier among the native peoples. After fifteen years of service, Father Jacob was awarded the Nabedrennik, Kamilavka, and Gold Cross. Later, he would be made Archpriest and receive the Order of Saint Anna.
These ecclesiastical awards do not tell of the personal sufferings of this warrior for Christ. In March of 1836, his precious wife, Anna, died of cancer; his home burned to the ground in July of 1836; and his dear father, Yegor, died of an undetermined illness in 1837. Who can utter the depth of sorrow felt by this God-pleaser? Yet he lifted up his voice with that ancient sufferer and cried, “shall we indeed accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity? In all this he did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:10). In his journal Father Jacob attributed all to “the Will of Him whose Providence and Will are inscrutable and whose actions toward men are incomprehensible.” He patiently endured hardships and sufferings like the Holy Apostle Paul. He saw in these misfortunes not a Victory by the hater of men’s souls (i.e. the devil) but a call from God to even greater spiritual struggles. With this in mind, Father Jacob petitioned his ruling bishop to return to Irkutsk in order to enter the monastic life. A year later, word reached him that permission was granted contingent upon the arrival of a replacement. None ever came.
Instead, Bishop Innocent soon came to Atka and asked Father Jacob to accompany him on a voyage by ship to Kamchatka. Who can know the heavenly discourse enjoyed by these two lovers of Christ as they traveled over the waves? This, however, is clear, the holy archpastor was able to accomplish three things in Father Netsvetov. Firstly, he applied the healing salve of the Spirit with words of comfort; secondly, he dissuaded Father Jacob from entering the monastery; and thirdly, he revealed to the godly priest the true plan of the Savior for his life, that he ‘might preach (Christ) among the Gentiles” (Gal. 1: 16) deep in the Alaskan interior. Father Jacob continued to serve his far-flung flock of the Atka parish until December 30, 1844. A new zeal had taken hold of him, and it was then that Saint Innocent appointed him to head the new Kvikhpak Mission in order to bring the light of Christ to the people of the Yukon. Here, aided by two young Creole assistants, Innokentii Shayashnikov and Konstantin Lukin, together with his young nephew, Vasilii Netsvetov, Father Jacob “settled’ in the wilderness of Alaska.
He learned new languages, embraced new peoples and cultures, devised another alphabet, built another church and Orthodox community, and for the next twenty years, until his health and eyesight failed, continued to be an evangelical beacon of the grace of God in southwestern Alaska.
Establishing his headquarters in the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Ikogmiute (today’s ‘Russian Mission’) he traveled to native settlements hundreds of miles up and down Alaska’s longest river (the Yukon) as well as the Kuskokwim River region. At the insistence of Indian leaders, he traveled as far as the middle of the Innoko River baptizing hundreds of Indians from various, and often formerly hostile, tribes. “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps 133:1). He built the first Christian temple in this region, and dedicated it to the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross. Here Father Jacob, in spite of failing health, joyfully celebrated the Church’s cycle of services, including all of the services prescribed for Holy Week and Pascha.
. . . due to his ever-worsening health, he remained in Sitka for his final year serving a Tlingit chapel. He died on July 26, 1864 at the age of 60 and was buried on the third day at the entry of the chapel. During his final missionary travels in the Kuskokwim/Yukon delta region, he had baptized 1,320 people—distinguishing himself as the evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo and Athabascan Indian peoples.
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Once in November of 1845, Father Jacob was preaching in the village of Kalskag, where the local chief was also the head shaman. He spoke for all of the villagers and resisted the Word of God forcefully. But the saint, calm and full of the Holy Spirit, continued to sow the seeds of right belief and piety. After many hours, the chief fell silent and finally came to believe. The villagers, in solidarity with their leader, also joyously expressed their belief in the Triune God and sought Holy Baptism.
Father Jacob was a physician of bodies as well as souls. He often cared for the sick among his flock even to his own detriment. During the winter of 1850-1851 the saint was himself ravaged with illness. Yet he cared for the sick and dispensed medicine to them every day. Father Jacob’s preaching often brought together in the Holy Faith tribes who were traditional enemies. One example from his journal reads:
“Beginning in the morning, upon my invitation, all the Kol’chane and Ingalit from the Yukon and the local ones gathered at my place and I preached the word of God, concluding at noon. Everyone listened to the preaching with attention and without discussion or dissent, and in the end they all expressed faith and their wish to accept Holy Baptism, both the Kol’chane and the Ingatit (formerly traditional enemies). I made a count by families and in groups, and then in the afternoon began the baptismal service. First I baptized 50 Kol’chane and Ingalit men, the latter from the Yukon and Innoko. It was already evening when I completed the service. March 21, 1853.”
So it was that this apostolic man, this new Job, conducted himself during his earthly course. There are many other deeds and wonders which he performed, many known and many more known only to God. Few missionaries in history have had to endure the hardships which Father Jacob faced, yet he did so with patience and humility. His life of faith and piety are the legacy which he leaves to us, his spiritual children in America, and indeed to all Christians throughout the world.
Source: https://oca.org/saints/lives/2016/07/26/102091-repose-of-st-jacob-netsvetov-the-enlightener-of-the-peoples-of-a, opened 2 Dec. 2017
Because of the goodwill engendered by the Orthodox missionary saints, many Natives of Alaska have remained Orthodox, so much so that
As of 2013, the [Alaska] Diocese includes 89 parishes, which represents the highest concentration of Orthodox Church in America parishes among the states.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Church_in_America_Diocese_of_Alaska, opened 3 Dec. 2017
Considering these experiences together with King Philip’s War, we may see the following.
That the thoughts of pride, superiority, and chosenness of the Western settlers, from mighty Spanish conquistadors to simple English frontier farmers, begat hatred in and conflict with the Natives, even those they were friendly with in the beginning, while the love and humility of the Orthodox missionaries nurtured a reciprocal love and friendship in the Natives they encountered, even in those who were initially hostile to them.
This is the general rule. There are exceptions to it. William Penn and his colony of Pennsylvania treated the Natives well and enjoyed good relations with them for many years; some of the Russian traders treated the Aleuts, etc. badly, as one may see in the life of St Herman. But overall the general rule holds true.
One may see this rule at work even in Western Europe herself. Prior to Charlemagne, the Crusading Popes, and the revolutionary armies of Protestants and individualistic liberals, when Western Europe was still in the fold of the Orthodox Church, peaceful monasticism was the usual means of bringing the heathen to the Faith. St Martin of Tours, St Columba of Iona, St Columbanus of Luxeuil and Bobbio, St Gall of Switzerland, and many other monastic missionaries like them attracted converts by their good and holy deeds as much as by their life-bearing words. Compulsion was not their way.
Throughout the 7th and 8th centuries, the Gospel was slowly accepted by more and more of Europe, but it must be remembered that much of Europe was still staunchly pagan. Many of the European peoples were so fierce that their eventual acceptance of the gentle Jesus of Nazareth is considered by some historians to be the greatest miracle of Christian history. Evangelism at this time was conducted mainly by monks, and their principles were very sound and are relevant today. They would found a monastery in a lonely place, away from human habitation in a pagan area. Some among them might preach to the people, but only if they had a special gift for this. The other brethren would simply live their Gospel lifestyle to the fullest. With the passage of time, the local inhabitants would discover the true nature of the Christians' lives, and when they liked what they saw, they would be near to Baptism. The compunction and orderly beauty of the church services also warmed the hearts of these peoples, and served to convert them as much as any conversation or reasoning. In Western Europe, it was the Irish monks who were the most active missionaries; in Central Europe, Benedictine monks and nuns from England christianized the German lands.
Source: Fr Aidan Keller, https://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/pocket_church_history.htm, opened 2 Dec. 2017
But with the coming of Charlemagne and the other Schismatics who followed him, in their spiritual confusion thinking themselves blessed and all others accursed, the West was taught a new method for handling recalcitrant peoples - threaten them with war: Submit to the West’s way of life or be slaughtered.
Things remain much the same today. From the West one still hears the ultimatum of submission to their spiritually diseased values or destruction. From the Orthodox East, centered in Russia, a nation is still offered voluntary cooperation formed through peaceful friendship.
The post-Schism Western European utopia founded on cultural (and sometimes physical) genocide of the ‘other’, or the New Eden of the Orthodox Church, founded on the self-sacrifice of the Son of God and His holy saints: Hopefully the world (including a repentant West) will not be long in deciding in favor of the latter.
In short, one would not be far wrong in saying, ‘Heal the Great Schism in the West, and help bring peace to the world’.