The Blessing of the Fleet and Saints Peter and Paul Feast - 07/10/15

The life of a village priest is never boring, especially when he has to visit some of the most remote parishes. Father John Dunlop spent this last weekend in the village of Akhiok, located on the south end of Kodiak Island. One hour away from Kodiak by bush plane, the village of 70 people still maintains an Orthodox lifestyle: kids have traditional church names, icon corners adorn the homes, and people still come to the airstrip to greet the priest, whom they call simply “Father.”

While in Akhiok, Father John visited the parishioners, served Vespers and Divine Liturgy, observed and participated in the after-church session of Sunday school, blessed a fishing cabin, and performed a traditional blessing of the Akhiok fleet. To make his stay more exciting, Akhiok Mayor and Church Reader Linda Amodo took Father John halibut fishing. She also showed him around Alitak Cannery, one of the oldest in Kodiak, founded in 1917.

Akhiok fisherman Walter Simeonoff took Father John to Cape Alitak, the mystery-laden place where Native people warred and whaled for millennia, leaving after themselves hundreds of petroglyphs, the largest conglomeration of these in Alaska.

Finally, Father John was weathered in – the scheduled bush plane could not arrive because of the fog and rain, customary in Akhiok. This gave Father a chance to visit some more. The evening plane, however, made it through the fog and Father, laden with gifts of the sea, left for Kodiak to resume his duties as Seminary Dean.