The Great Blessing of the Water
The Orthodox Church traveled throughout Bristol Bay, blessing the regions many rivers and lakes. They traveled with a message of peace and spoke of the importance of respecting the very waters that sustain us. Father Michael Oleksa stated, "Hundreds of Orthodox Alaska Natives have banded together to oppose the State of Alaska’s authorizing the development of the Pebble Project. In an effort to express support for them in their struggle to save their culture, their way of life, their commitment to the land that has sustained them and their ancestors for the last 12,000 years, the Diocese of Alaska passed a unanimous resolution in 2009, invoking God’s blessing on any development that would improve the economy and enhance the quality of life in rural Alaska and withholding such approval for any that threatened to pollute or poison the ecosystem."