As recovery efforts continue after the back-to-back earthquakes that rocked Alaska on Friday, November 30, 2018, His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska reported that faithful across Alaska “continue to live through thousands of aftershocks, some of which reached a 4.6 magnitude.
“Only now are we seeing the extent to which the quakes disrupted life in the Anchorage region and beyond,” he added. “When one considers the magnitude of these quakes and the possibility of a tsunami, we can clearly see how our prayers to the Alaskan saints—Herman, Juvenaly and his companion, Peter the Aleut, Yakov, Innocent, Tikhon and Matushka Olga—were at work in helping to save so many lives from destruction. We remain vigilant and in prayer so that our Good Lord, the Holy Virgin Mary and all the saints will continue to protect and guide us.”
Bishop David said that while there were no known deaths as a result of the disaster, many parishioners had lost personal items and experienced damage to their homes, adding that Anchorage’s Saint Innocent Cathedral also had sustained damage, albeit minor.
“The cathedral’s iconostasis and some of the icons mounted on the walls were damaged, and cracks in the plaster were evident throughout the building,” Bishop David noted. “In most cases the losses are insufficient to file a major insurance claim. Donations sent directly to the Diocesan Chancery will be used on an as-needed basis.”
Meanwhile, in Wasilla, AK—some 40 miles northeast of Anchorage—Archpriest Mikel Bock of Saint Juvenaly and His Companion Mission described how travel between Anchorage and Wasilla had become almost impossible after the quakes.
“There is only one way out of Anchorage north-bound, and one way in—the Glen Highway—which suffered major damage, especially with regard to bridges,” Father Mikel explained. “I live in Anchorage but the church is in Wasilla, so getting to the church was a challenge, to say the least.”
Father Mikel reported that there was little damage to Saint Juvenaly Church.
“The wall between the narthex and the nave had cracks running along the entire wall, which seems to be the extent of damage to the building,” he added. “The seven-branch candelabra fell and was damaged, and many icons fell off the walls and were damaged in some way, either from broken glass or damage to the icons themselves. Thankfully, the faithful were safe and no lives were lost.”