Native Alaskan healer named North America’s first female saint in Orthodox Church

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — A Native Alaskan midwife known for her healing love, especially toward abused women, has become the first female Orthodox Christian saint from North America after she was glorified at a meeting of bishops of the Orthodox Church in America in Chicago this week.Expected for more than a year, her glorification is the result of a bottom-up process that begins with lay members’ veneration and the gathering of accounts of holiness by a church committee. Unlike Catholicism, the Orthodox do not require miracles to confirm a saint, but some women have credited Olga with miraculous intercessions.
On Nov. 2, Bishop Alexei of Sitka and Alaska wrote a letter to the OCA’s highest-ranking cleric, Metropolitan Tikhon, formally requesting that she be considered for sainthood. 
“The first peoples of Alaska are convinced of her sanctity and the great efficacy of her prayers,” he wrote.
The synod then agreed in a Nov. 8 statement that “the time for the glorification of Matushka Olga has arrived, fulfilling the hopes and prayers of pious Orthodox Christians throughout Alaska and the entire world,” using an honorific for priests’ wives in the Russian Orthodox Church.
“The Holy Synod determined that the time for Matushka’s glorification is now simply based upon its prayerful reflection and the growing witness to her holiness expressed through the voice of the Faithful,” Archbishop Dani …

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