Friday, 14 May 2010

The Death of Fr. Juvenaly

A friend of mine send a link to me. I don't know why he did, but I'm very glad he did because it has a very good account of 1790s history in it. It's about the death of one of Alaska's earliest missionaries, Fr. Juvenaly. Fr. Juvenaly was a Russian orthodox, and moderately old for point in history - remember than amongst Whites in America, half of America was under the age of 16 in 1790. He was, therefore, a bit old to be "gallivanting around" as a missionary. None the less, he apparently came first to the Kenai, then to Kodiak, where he crossed to the Alaska Peninsula/Iliamna area, never to be seen or heard from again. What fate had he met? Was it the Iliamna monster?
[...] Then, about a hundred years later, an American historian, Hubert Bancroft, published an account of Father Juvenaly’s death purportedly based on the priest’s own words as he recorded them in a diary that a man named Ivan Petrov claimed to have found and translated. According to this diary, Father Juvenaly fell into temptation, having been seduced by the daughter of a local Indian chief, and then was hacked to death for refusing to marry her. That is all I knew about this incident until my Yup’ik father-in-law, Adam Andrew, who was born about 1914 in the mountains near the source of the Kwethluk River, decided to tell me the story about “the first priest to come into our region.”
The whole story is wonderful. You can continue reading here.

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