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Fourth of July at Fort Ross - 06/30/16

His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, invites the clergy and faithful of the Diocese and all Orthodox Christians to attend the Divine Liturgy and annual picnic at Fort Ross State Historic Park on Monday, July 4th. His Eminence will preside at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. The Liturgy will begin at 10:00 AM. All clergy are invited to serve (green vestments).

A picnic follows on the grounds of the Fort. Please bring food and drink.

Faithful have been gathering at Fort Ross every year since July 4, 1925, for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the first Orthodox chapel of prayer in the lower forty-eight. More history can be viewed at and an account of the first pilgrimage in 1925 can be viewed here. The Fort’s chapel, dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, was built in the mid-1820s. Although Although Ross had no resident priest, in 1836 Father Ioann Veniaminov — glorified in 1977 as our St. Innocent of Alaska — visited the settlement and conducted sacraments of marriage, baptism, and the Divine Liturgy. The faithful of the Bay Area worked with the State of California and other benefactors in the twentieth century to preserve the Fort and the Chapel.

The annual Fourth of July visit to Fort Ross is a beautiful opportunity for the faithful of the Diocese of the West to gather together and to offer thanksgiving to God for those who brought the faith to this land and for the United States, where we are free to worship the Most Holy Trinity in the Orthodox manner. This is a precious moment for fellowship with people from all parishes and a family-friendly setting.  A photo album from last year can be viewed here.

"My chains, the bond of our unity" - 06/30/16

This letter was received from Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo who, as you may know, is the brother of Patriarch John X of Antioch and who was abducted in 2013. I encourage our clergy and faithful to continue to pray for him. That he is still alive after all this time and the drama that is unfolding in Syria is truly a miracle of prayer and God's mercy. But, I think his letter is moving and worthy of reading by a wider audience.  -Archbishop Benjamin


Buenos Aires, June 24, 2016

An open letter from
addressed to all the Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church on the Feast of the Holy Spirit

My chains, the bond of our unity

“Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you… may become what I am, except for these chains”
(Acts 26:29)

Your Holinesses, Your Beatitudes, Your Eminences and Your Graces,Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church,
My Fathers and brothers in the grace of the episcopate,“Apostles of Christ” and “Servants” of the people of God in all the oikoumene,

This year, an inexpressible joy flooded my heart on the Feast of Pentecost, because of the Holy Spirit who unites us, in a visible and invisible way, in the apostolic ministry that the Lord bestowed on us.

Pacific Northwest Summer Camp - 06/29/16

More than 80 children and volunteer staff had a great time at our annual Pacific Northwest Deanery Summer Youth Camp, June 20-23rd. Located on Raft Island near Gig Harbor, All Saints Camp is quiet, peaceful and leafy, surrounded by water.

Fr. Barnabas and Pda Lela Powell organize and lead the camp drawing on their many years of experience with the Rocky Mountain Youth Camp in Colorado. Each day follows a natural pattern of prayer, meals, spiritual instruction and activities for youth according to their various ages, with campfire singing and skits in the evening. After the younger campers head to bed in their various cabins, the teens have time around the campfire to ask clergy any questions they may have. It is amazing how quiet the camp became after that, the healthfully tired campers ready to hit the sack, especially by their second night.

Orthodox Alaska Cruise Septemebr 2-9! - 06/28/16

With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, and the support of Bishop David of the historic diocese of Alaska (who will be on board!), a cruise and conference at sea will be held September 2-9, 2017.

Sailing from Seattle and while exploring Juneau, Sitka, Glacier Bay, and other sites on the Holland America Westerdam, conference participants will attend a wide variety of daily lectures, services and workshops offered by Fr Michael Oleksa, a recognized authority on Alaskan history and spirituality, and Fr Laurent Cleenewerck, Rector of Saint Innocent Church, Eureka, CA, who is also an academic and author.

Detailed information, including rates and agenda, may be found at

 Only 50 “seats” are available for this event, and registrations are accepted now on a first-come, first-serve basis.

REFLECTION - All Politics are Local - 06/25/16

by Father John Dresko

Tip O’Neill, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, once famously said that “all politics are local.” What he meant was that if potholes are not fixed, no one can get a job where they live, and house prices are skyrocketing out of reach for most people, no one will be happy with the work of any politician, no matter how eloquent or hard-working. Grand visions (if there are any) are words wasted as they float off ignored into the air.

Patronal Feast of the Trinity celebrated in San Francisco - 06/20/16

This past weekend, His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin presided at services in San Francisco marking the "the last day, that great day of the feast” (John 7:37). Pentecost, also called Trinity Sunday, is the celebration by the Church of the coming of the Holy Spirit as the end—the achievement and fulfillment—of the entire history of salvation. This special moment in the life of the Church is also the particular “altar feast” of Holy Trinity Cathedral, the see of the Archbishop of San Francisco and the West.

Parishes can be good neighbors - 06/16/16

Reprinted with permission by Catholic Sentinel

Our Milwaukie, OR parish is highlighted in the article for its efforts.

by Kristen Hannum

This is the third and final part of a series on how parishes in the Archdiocese of Portland can prepare for “the big one,” the subduction zone earthquake off the coast that scientists say is overdue.

Catholics in the Archdiocese of Portland experienced a mild preview of what an earthquake feels like 23 years ago, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake jolted the Mount Angel area in March 1993.

St. Mary Church, one of the archdiocese’s architectural and artistic gems, was damaged more than was first thought. None of the windows had imploded, and the statues and altar were mostly unscathed, and yet the shaking had damaged the building to such an extent that  it needed extensive shoring up.

Another earthquake rumbled through southern Oregon six months later, in September 1993, with the Klamath Falls earthquake.

While those earthquakes were memorable for those who lived through them, comparing them to the subduction quake that experts are warning Oregonians about is like comparing the danger of a kitten (watch her claws!) to that of a hungry lion.

Once the inevitability of tsunamis are added to the mix, Sheryl Getery of Coos Bay says it’s important for parishes to do what they can to get people thinking about their own disaster plans.

Elizabeth Lien, a parish nurse for the (Orthodox) Church of the Annunciation in Milwaukie, prepared an article for the national Orthodox Churches of America about parish emergency preparedness.

Her parish established an emergency preparedness team in 2009 in preparation for a potential H1N1 influenza epidemic.

The team educated other parishioners and, after the scare had passed, decided they could help their parish and community in case of another emergency.


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