Orthodox Cathedral Desecrated During Vandalism Spree In Kodiak

A 21-year-old man is under arrest for allegedly vandalizing one of Kodiak’s most historic buildings, the Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and many of its contents.

In a press release from the Kodiak Police Department, Arkimedes Garcia was arrested around 8:00 Wednesday night as he was exiting the church.

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Northeastern side of the Holy Resurrection Church, a Russian Orthodox church in Kodiak, a city in the Kodiak Island Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. Built in 1945, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 12 December 1977.  Photo by NPS.
Northeastern side of the Holy Resurrection Church, a Russian Orthodox church in Kodiak, a city in the Kodiak Island Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. Built in 1945, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 12 December 1977. Photo by NPS.

Thursday morning, Father Innocent Dresdow, the Dean of the Holy Resurrection Church, said many holy items were damaged.

“It’s clear from the pattern of destruction that this dear soul is deeply troubled and his anger and his rage appeared to be directed at, frankly God. And from the perspective of the Church, he knew exactly which things were holiest. And those were the things that were in absolute disarray.”

He said the most holy items have been removed from the church to an undisclosed location and are being re-blessed.

Father Innocent said Garcia broke several windows and made his way into the church’s Sanctuary behind the Nave where he not only did damaged items, but desecrated them as well.

“You can see in the hand crosses fi you look carefully – they’re bent upward. All of the crosses that he just damaged are bent upward in the same pattern, including St. Herman’s Monastic Cross, which is the most priceless damage that was done last night. The tabernacle is where the reserve sacraments, the Holy Mysteries, body, blood of Christ are kept. Well, that was on the floor, with the Holy Mysteries and all the holy items that were on the alter were on the floor on both sides. He bled on the holy table, he bled on the back wall, he bled in the church in different places, and on the alter particularly is a major desecration.” “So he injured himself?” “He injured himself, yes.”

Father Innocent said that even though the church sustained physical damage in the attack, services will go on as planned.

“Scheduled services for tonight, at 6 p.m., the Akathist to St. Herman, will be held as scheduled. We have a clean up crew coming in at 1 p.m. People are welcome to join us from the community. They don’t have to be Orthodox if they want to come and help. We’re essentially trying to go over the floor, chairs, everything to make sure all, the minutest glass shards are out of the floor and items. We have lots of children here and we want to make sure nobody gets hurt.”

According to the Kodiak Police Department press release, Garcia emerged from the church “partially unclothed,” but did not explain further. Police Chief Ronda Wallace was unavailable for comment. Garcia was booked on four felony counts of burglary and criminal mischief.