STAYING CLOSE – Jeanette Warner, right, and her daughter Elizabeth visit with their good friend Eunavae Ballou Tuesday at the Pioneers Home. Staff members of the state-run assisted living facility have provided chairs outside for visitors to sit on while speaking over cell phones to residents inside the building in order to facilitate visits while lessening the possibility of spreading COVID-19, (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)  

Metropolitan Theodosius, Once of Sitka, Dies at 86


His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor)

On Monday, October 19, 2020, His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor), former Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All-America and Canada, fell asleep in his Lord in Canonsburg, after an extended illness. He was the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America from 1977 until his retirement in 2002.

On Oct. 27, 1933, he was born Frank Lazor to John and Mary Lazor, immigrants from Galicia (what is today the southeastern corner of Poland), in Canonsburg. He was raised as a son of the Orthodox Church, a devout member of Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Canonsburg. He attended Canonsburg High School, where he was Student Council president, graduating in 1953.

He graduated from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1957, and in 1960 was awarded a master of divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. After a year of study and travel, he took monastic vows and was tonsured as a schema monk at Saint Sergius Chapel in Oyster Bay Cove, N.Y., by Archbishop Ireney of Boston and New England and given the name Theodosius. On Oct. 14, 1961, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in New York City, and on Oct. 22, 1961, the Hierodeacon Theodosius was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Saint Gregory’s Church in Homestead.

From 1961 through 1966, he served as rector of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church, Madison, Ill. In 1967 he was elected to the episcopacy to serve as Auxiliary to the Metropolitan and Bishop of Washington, D.C., and as administrator of the Diocese of Alaska. He was consecrated a Bishop and on Nov. 17, 1967, the Great Council of Bishops elected him as the diocesan Bishop of Sitka and Alaska.

During his tenure in Alaska, he helped oversee the rebuilding of St. Michael’s Cathedral,  which had been destroyed by fire. He also initiated regional conferences throughout the diocese and encouraged the establishment of a variety of educational programs and conferences. He also oversaw the renovation of the Bishop’s House, which originally had been built by Saint Innocent (Veniaminov). It is now listed as an official historic site. During his tenure in Alaska, he was adopted into an indigenous clan.

Another community contribution in Sitka was helping the New Archangel Dancers, a local group, learn Russian folk dances.

In May 1970, as Bishop of Alaska he headed the OCA’s delegation, which traveled to Moscow to receive the Tomos of Autocephaly, marking the beginning of the Orthodox Church in America. The Tomos guaranteed the right of self-governance for the Orthodox Church in America.

In 1972, he was reassigned to the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. On October 25, 1977, he was elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada during the 5th All-American Council in Montreal, Quebec. As Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Theodosius assumed leadership of one of the world’s 15 self-governing, or autocephalous, Orthodox churches.

In 1981, the Holy Synod of Bishops established a new diocese of Washington, D.C., as the seat of the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. As Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan Theodosius presided over this diocese, in addition to his duties as Primate.

In 1990, he was the first Orthodox primate to be officially invited by the newly-enthroned Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow, and in 1992, he was invited to participate in the 600th Anniversary of the repose of Saint Sergius of Radonezh.

Metropolitan Theodosius was a frequent guest at the White House in Washington, D.C., having been called upon by Presidents Bush and Clinton for advice on religious and political affairs in various parts of the world, especially after the fall of communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During the crisis in Kosovo, he boldly defended the rights of all peoples in the region while calling upon President Clinton to end the NATO air campaign.

On September 28, 1994, Metropolitan Theodosius was the guest of Dr. James Billington at the Library of Congress for the opening of an historic display highlighting the contribution of the Orthodox Church and Native Alaskan cultures to North America. During the ceremony, Metropolitan Theodosius was greeted by U.S. President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

In spring 2001, Metropolitan Theodosius was granted a four-month medical leave of absence from his archpastoral and primatial duties. However, he continued to suffer the residual effects of strokes and found the ever-increasing burdens of his office too demanding. On July 22, 2002, His Beatitude Metropolitan Theodosius opened the 13th All-American Council and presented his report on the last triennium. At the conclusion, he retired as Metropolitan of All America and Canada.

During his retirement, he lived in Washington. He actively attended the Divine Services at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Canonsburg, and became a beloved presence once again in his home community. As his health continued to fail, he entered an assisted living facility during the last years of his life and then a nursing facility as his health failed.

Services were held at Saint John the Baptist Church, Canonsburg, on October 21-22. On Friday, October 23, Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration, Ellwood City, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. will be followed immediately by interment.

 

Due to COVID restrictions, only invited clergy served at the services.

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 11-27-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:15 p.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 724

Total statewide – 29,554

Total (cumulative) deaths – 118

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 678

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 39

Hospitalizations in Sitka – 3

Cumulative Sitka cases – 188 (167 resident; 21 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 149 cumulative

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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20 YEARS AGO
November 2000

Photo caption: Robin Bergey and her baby, Kate, and Holly Samuelson join much of Sitka and the rest of America this morning in shopping for day-after-Thanksgiving Day sales. Holiday decorations are up around town, and shopping bargains are being offered.

50 YEARS AGO
November 1970

Telephone communications in Southeast Alaska were considerably advanced this month by the inauguration of a new microwave system between Juneau (Lena Point) and Sitka.Completed July 17, 1970, by RCA Alaska Communications, the system will become a major segment of the long lines of telecommunications operations in Alaska.

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