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The territory of what is now the Diocese of Alaska was the beginning of the presence of Orthodox Christianity in the Western Hemisphere when Russian monks arrived as missionaries to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the indigenous peoples in the 1790s. This mission expanded into the formation of a series of dioceses and vicar sees that became the Archdiocese of the Aleutian Islands and North America during the first decade of the twentieth century with the territory of Alaska served by an assistant/vicar bishop.

With the establishment of the diocese of the Aleutian Islands and North America, the position of an auxiliary/vicar bishop was established for Alaska, first held by Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky). When the Church of Russia granted autocephaly to the Metropolia, the successor organization to the Archdiocese of the Aleutian Islands and North America, the territory of Alaska was organized as a diocese of of the new Orthodox Church in America, with a diocesan bishop.

Recent Struggles

Beginning in 2007, the diocese was forced to deal with a crisis regarding the leadership of its bishop, including allegations of abuse against both the bishop and the diocesan chancellor, Archimandrite Isidore (Brittain). His Grace, the Right Reverend Nikolai (Soraich), the diocesan bishop, was placed on a leave of absence beginning March 4, 2008, which was rescinded shortly thereafter and then reinstated on April 17, 2008. The leave became voluntarily permanent in May 2008, followed by his official retirement.

Diocesan bishops

Alaska Vicariate of the North American Diocese
Diocese of Alaska


  • Ss. Sergius and Herman of Valaam Chapel in Spruce Island, AK
  • St. Herman's Seminary in Kodiak, AK
  • Outreach Alaska mission based in Wichita, KS
  • Protecting Veil of the Theotokos Community in Anchorage, AK
  • St. Yakov Center for Orthodox Christian Learning in Soldatna, AK
  • ROSSIA Inc. - Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska Inc.


  • Alaska Missionary Deanery
  • Anchorage Missionary Deanery
  • Bethel Deanery
  • Dillingham Deanery
  • Kenai Deanery
  • Kodiak Deanery
  • Russian Mission Deanery
  • Sitka Deanery
  • Unalaska Deanery


External links