On Sunday August 2, 2015, we were blessed to be joined by the Reverend Father Andrew Damick, the pastor of St.Paul Antiochian Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Father Andrew was in Alaska as a teacher at the annual Eagle River Institute, but came to St. Herman Church at the request of Fr. Matthew Howell, who was a weekend intern at St. Paul Church during his three years of seminary. Father Matthew was ordained a priest two years after graduating from seminary, so this was Fr. Andrew’s first chance to see his former pupil serve the liturgy. Father Andrew preached a wonderful homily during the liturgy and then during coffee hour gave a one-hour teaching about the life of St. Raphael of Brooklyn. He told many stories about St. Raphael and told us how we have been affected by the saint’s life even though he reposed 100 years ago.
Joining Fr. Andrew on his journey to Alaska was his good friend, Subdeacon Andrew Hall. Subdeacon Andrew is a reader at Sts. Peter and Paul Mission in Boone, North Carolina. He sang in our choir for Great Vespers on August 1, Orthros and Liturgy on August 2, and then returned again on August 5 to sing during the Vesperal Liturgy for the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.
On Wednesday August 5, Fr. Matthew took Fr. Andrew and Subdn. Andrew to Anchorage to visit Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church. Father Andrew was classmates in seminary with Fr. Vasili Hillhouse, the pastor of Holy Transfiguration Church. On the way back to Eagle River they stopped at St. Innocent Cathedral (OCA), and capped off the afternoon with a hike to the St. Sergius Chapel at St. John Cathedral (Antiochian).
Father Andrew’s teachings were edifying to the entire parish, and Subdeacon Andrew’s experience and suggestions regarding music were quite helpful to the choir. We thank God for their visit and pray that He will grant them many years of fruitful labor in their respective parishes.