ΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΠΡΙΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ, ΔΕ ΘΑ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΟΤΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ

(ΠΑΡΟΙΜΙΑ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΩΝ ΜΟΝΑΧΩΝ)

Τετάρτη, 14 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

Holy New Martyr Peter the Aleut


St. Peter the Aleut (Feast Day - December 12 and September 24)

MYSTAGOGY
ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΓΙΑ ΤΟΝ ΑΓΙΟ, ΕΔΩ

Saint Peter the Aleut is mentioned in the Life of St Herman of Alaska (December 13). Simeon Yanovsky (who ended his life as the schemamonk Sergius in the St Tikhon of Kaluga Monastery), has left the following account:

"On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits (actually Franciscans) were forcing all of them to accept the Catholic Faith. But the Aleuts would not agree under any circumstances, saying, 'We are Christians.' The Jesuits argued, 'That's not true, you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you to death.' Then the Aleuts were placed in prisons two to a cell. That evening, the Jesuits came to the prison with lanterns and lighted candles. Again they tried to persuade two Aleuts in the cell to accept the Catholic Faith. 

'We are Christians,' the Aleuts replied, 'and we will not change our Faith.' Then the Jesuits began to torture them, at first the one while his companion was a witness. They cut off one of the joints of his feet, and then the other joint. Then they cut the first joint on the fingers of his hands, and then the other joint. Then they cut off his feet, and his hands. The blood flowed, but the martyr endured all and firmly repeated one thing: "I am a Christian.' He died in such suffering, due to a loss of blood. The Jesuit also promised to torture his comrade to death the next day.

But that night an order was received from Monterey stating that the imprisoned Aleuts were to be released immediately, and sent there under escort. Therefore, in the morning all were sent to Monterey with the exception of the dead Aleut. This was related to me by a witness, the same Aleut who had escaped torture, and who was the friend of the martyred Aleut. I reported this incident to the authorities in St Petersburg. When I finished my story, Father Herman asked, 'What was the name of the martyred Aleut?' I answered, 'Peter. I do not remember his family name.' The Elder stood reverently before an icon, made the Sign of the Cross and said, "Holy New Martyr Peter, pray to God for us."



We know very little about St Peter, except that he was from Kodiak, and was arrested and put to death by the Spaniards in California because he refused to convert to Catholicism. The circumstances of his martyrdom recall the torture of St James the Persian (November 27).

Both in his sufferings and in his steadfast confession of the Faith, St Peter is the equal of the martyrs of old, and also of the New Martyrs who have shone forth in more recent times. Now he rejoices with them in the heavenly Kingdom, glorifying God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, throughout all ages.



*****
A miracle of st Peter the Aleut in Greece
(from a Greek friend)

Dear brethren, greetings in the Lord!

The idea that saint Peter the Aleutian may not be a saint had preoccupied me one evening several years ago, as I was reading about him in the biography of saint Herman of Alaska (at the time I had not considered that he may have been an entirely nonexistent person; just the possibility that he may not have been a saint).

I went to bed and the next day, around the same hour, a friend from another town rang me quite unexpectedly, to tell me about something that was preoccupying her. She was facing very serious health problems as well as family issues.  So, she told me that she had begun to see - between sleeping and waking - a man, who said the following to her: "I am Peter the Aleutian, and I have taken you under my protection. Do not worry, everything will be just fine."  In fact, he told her the way that one of her problems could be solved, and it was indeed solved (her problems in general were solved eventually - glory be to God).

The lady had heard of saint Peter the Aleutian and had prayed to him, but to actually see him once or twice a week was altogether unexpected.  Many of us pray to saints for serious problems, but we do not see them before us and in fact repeatedly.  She not only wanted to tell me of her experience, but to also ask me why the saint said "I am Peter" and not "I am saint Peter".  She didn't know that during their appearances, saints do not characterize themselves "saint" - obviously out of humility but also perhaps out of respect for the source of saintliness, God.  However, this detail also reveals that the appearance of the saint to her was in fact a real one and not her imagination, otherwise, he would indeed have said "I am saint Peter", just as she had expected to hear from him.

After suggesting that she speak about this to her spiritual father, I asked her how long she had been seeing the saint.  She replied "About one month" (or two?). That was when I sensed that the saint had responded to my own doubts:  even though he had already been appearing for a month to my friend, it was only when I had my doubts about his sainthood that my friend called me to announce his appearances to her.

I thank you and I pray that saint Peter and all the saints of America will bless you!
Respectfully yours
T.R.
From Greece
*****
 
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

Today Alaska rejoices and America celebrates for the New World has been sanctified by martyrdom. Kodiak echoes with songs of thanksgiving, Iliámna and Kenái observe the Festival of Faith. The apostle and martyr Juvenaly is glorified and Peter the Aleut is exalted by his voluntary sacrifice. In their devotion and love for the Lord they willingly endured persecution and death for the Truth. Now in the Kingdom of Heaven they intercede for our souls.


Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Today Valaam joins Alaska in celebrating this joyous feast, as her spiritual son Juvenaly embraces the New Martyr Peter with love. Together they suffered for the Lord in America and united the Old World with the New by their voluntary sacrifice. Now forever they stand before the King of Glory and intercede for our souls.


Apolytikion in the First Tone

O Peter, upon the rock of thy faith hath Christ built His Church, and in the streams of thy blood hath He hallowed our land. In thee thy people hath been sanctified, O Aleut; from the farthest islands of the west hath He raised thee, a light unto all. Glory to Him that hath glorified thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.


Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

As a skilful fisherman, the Martyr Peter was not harmed when he was caught by adversaries of the Faith; but in a sea of martyric blood, he gained the Kingdom and drowned bitter heresy. 

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