Archbishop David with Father Innocent.
The ruling hierarch of the Diocese of Alaska of the Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop David Mahaffey Jr, passed away last Friday after leaving Alaska to seek treatment for cancer in the fall.
He is remembered fondly by Archpriest Innocent Dresdow, Dean of the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak.
“One of the things that he brought to Kodiak and he brought it as well to throughout Alaska was an unconditional love,” Dresdow said.
“He was a very accessible to not only the clergy, as clergy, but also to the faithful. And he would answer his own phone, he would visit with people, he always wanted to be amongst the people.”
Dresdow has no shortage of stories about Archbishop David. He shares stories of David’s first visit to Kodiak in 2014, being in awe of the mountains and the sea while viewing them from the air, and other tales of boating trips gone awry. But mostly, he remembers the spirit of friendship that Archbishop David embodied.
“He and I had long conversations about the deeper need of building that trust,” Dresdow said.
“And by building healing relationships with first the clergy and the clergy families, and in the clergy, and the faithful, the communities that they serve, not just in Kodiak, but also Alaska. And I’ve benefited very, very greatly from those conversations.”