Orthodox And Non-Orthodox Christians Gather To Celebrate Slaviq

Jan 8, 2018

Eastern Orthodox Christians around the world began celebrating Slaviq on Sunday. The feast day celebrates Christmas according to the old Julian calendar. In the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, the festivities last a week and meld Yup’ik and Orthodox traditions. KYUK joined the morning service in Bethel.

The church is small and ornate, warm with deep reds, browns, and gleaming gold. Women wear scarves over their heads and everyone except the very old and very young are standing.

The service lasts about two and a half hours - a full-body, sensory experience of incense, bells, communion, and almost unbroken song.

At the end, four young boys stand in front of the church. Behind them glows the iconostasis, a wall of gilded icons. Two boys spin wooden stars, representing the eastern star followed by the three kings to the Christ child. The other boys hold banners, stitched with an icon of the Nativity. A candle burns in front of the image, representing Christ’s light in the world.

Everyone exits the church, and the procession begins traveling from house to house, singing.

In the small homes, bodies press tight against bodies, spilling out the doors as the community, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, comes together. Though many people are gathered, each one of them eats and leaves with gifts.

The visiting, sharing, and celebration continue through Saturday.

Bethel Slaviq Schedule

Saturday, January 6

6 p.m. Great Compline with Litia

Sunday, January 7

10 a.m. Divine Liturgy
Father Michael Trefon 327 B City Sub
Trim Nick 514 City Sub
Martha Beaver 448 City Sub
Church 5 p.m. Vespers
Ana Hoffman 221 6th Ave.
Don Johnson 217 Alex Hately
Balasia Larson 5418 A Kasayulie

Monday, January 8

10 a.m. Divine Liturgy
Samantha Michael 229 Kaligtuq
Macrina Andrew 166 2nd Rd.
Thor Williams 1420 Hoffman Sub
Rachel Sallaffie 221 Hoffman Sub
Sarah Walker (singers) Swanson’s Apt.

Tuesday, January 9

12 p.m. Start
Frank Temple 114 Ptarmigan
Jeanette Swope 914 Delapp
Lucy Pitka 220B Kilbuck St.
Gary Riley 218 City Sub
Alex Nick 5706A Kasayulie
Bessie Allen 9354 Tundra Ridge

Wednesday, January 10

12 p.m. Start
Zach Brink 9217 Tundra Ridge
Lulu Herron 407 Ptarmigan
Bautista House 381 4th Ave.
Alice Noes 218 Kilbuck
Sharon Strauss 206 Slough
Martha Chief 200 Slough

Thursday, January 11

5 p.m. Start
Robert Lekander 180 1st Ave.
Allison Samuelson 4206 Larson Sub
Sophie Jenkins 9429 Tundra Ridge 
Tim Andrew 9413 Tundra Ridge