An Alaska Native man walks towards an Orthodox church in a screenshot from “Sacred Alaska.” (Promotional image courtesy Simon Scionka)

An Alaska Native man walks towards an Orthodox church in a screenshot from “Sacred Alaska.” (Promotional image courtesy Simon Scionka)

Church to screen film exploring Orthodox connection to Alaska Native cultures

“Sacred Alaska” screening will be held at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center and start at 6 p.m.

The Holy Assumption Orthodox Christian Church will on Monday host a free showing of “Sacred Alaska,” a documentary about the Orthodox faith and its contact with Alaska Native populations. The screening will be held at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center and start at 6 p.m.

Father Peter Tobias, from the church in Kenai, said Thursday that the film shows how Christians from Russia were able to share their gospel with Alaska Native populations in a way that incorporated their existing views and traditions — which differs from some other interactions between religious entities and Indigenous residents of Alaska.

What makes the film interesting, Tobias said, is its extensive interviews with members of Yupik cultures who share their voices and perspectives.

“It’s a very interesting view of the history of Alaska Natives,” he said.

The film’s director is an Orthodox Christian who lives in Colorado. Tobias said Bishop Alexei in Anchorage loved the film and asked priests to facilitate showings — to provide cultural and historical information and strengthen the faith.

Tobias said the film should inform and entertain anyone with an interest in Alaska Native history or who are interesting in sharing their faiths and beliefs without “Westernizing” or encroaching on traditional beliefs.

“There’s a way to do this lovingly,” he said.

For more information about the film, visit sacredalaskafilm.com. For more information about the local church, find “Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church Kenai AK” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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