Our Own Leaders: Learning from the Alaskan Saints

Fr. Michael Oleksa

We have the blessing to get to know and learn from generations and generations of Orthodox servant leaders–the saints. Here in North America, the Alaskan saints provide us with a vision of what it means to live a life serving Christ through others. In this workshop, we will delve into the lives of the Alaskan saints and seek to understand the meaning of their witness to contemporary Orthodox life.


Fr. Michael Oleksa was born in Allentown, PA and educated at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY and the Orthodox Theological Faculty, Presov, Czechoslovakia. He has spent his entire adult life serving as a parish priest, a church administrator, seminary dean, and professor of Alaska Native history and cross cultural communications, teaching at all three main campus of the University of Alaska system and Alaska Pacific University as well. The recipient of numerous awards from the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, the Alaska State Legislature, the National Governors’ Association, Alaska Humanities Forum, and the Alaska Federation of Natives, Father Michael has also authored several books on Alaska Native History and Cultures. His four-part PBS Television series, Communicating Across Cultures, has been widely acclaimed. He resides in Anchorage with his Yup’ik wife, Xenia, two sons, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, and continues to offer courses through the Alaska Staff Development Network, while serving as a retired priest for St. Innocent Cathedral.