Western American Diocese
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX
 CHURCH OUTSIDE
 OF RUSSIA
Western American Diocese
His Grace THEODOSY Bishop of Seattle Visited Victims of the Recent Fires

On Sunday the October 29th, 2017, His Grace THEODOSY Bishop of Seattle served Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Santa Rosa, CA, which has recently suffered from many wildfires in that region.

14 families (45 people) from the parish of Saints Peter and Paul and the parish of Saint Seraphim of Sarov (OCA) have lost their homes and possessions in the wild fires of Sonoma and Napa Counties.

After Divine Liturgy, in the presence of a great gathering of faithful, His Grace gave an icon of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker to each of the families that had suffered. The icons were inscribed with the following text:

“With prayers for consolation to the servants of God who suffered due to the fires in October of 2017.

May our All-merciful Lord by the prayers of the His Most-Blessed Mother and Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Wonderworker give you spiritual fortitude, patience and love during this very difficult time.”

Icon of Saint John gifted to each family
Icon of Saint John gifted to each family
Icon of Saint John gifted to each family
Certificate inscription
Certificate inscription
Certificate inscription
Julie Saharoff-Pilacelli sharing with Father Alexander her experience
Julie Saharoff-Pilacelli sharing with Father Alexander her experience
Julie Saharoff-Pilacelli sharing with Father Alexander her experience

The Sisterhood organized a dinner in the church hall at which time representatives from various organizations brought gifts for the suffering and provided information about resources that will help them recover from the loss.

One of the wildfire victims, Julie Saharoff-Pilacelli, recalled the night of fire:

"We saw fires all around and on our roof! We ran to the car and drove to the Home Depot parking lot. I watched our burglar alarm signal on my smartphone. The front door opened, then the rear door, then the windows... The home is now three feet tall."

Bishop Theodosy with wildfire victims
Bishop Theodosy with wildfire victims
Bishop Theodosy with wildfire victims

The hall and grounds of Saint Peter and Paul’s Church had become a place of refuge for the fire victims. Currently, with the help of many generous people who have sent funds directly to the parish, and also through numerous charitable organizations like the Russian American Community Services (RACS) the Russian Children’s Welfare Organization – to name only two, those who have suffered from the fire are receiving financial assistance to help them restore their material lives as they start from nothing.

Many thanks to all the parishes, charitable organizations and individuals throughout the United States and even abroad who have offered aid to the victims of the wildfires both through their prayers, and moral and material support.

Below is a video demonstrating moments from that day.

The Culmination of the Liturgy
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