21-Year-Old Man Jailed after Vandalizing and Desecrating Kodiak’s Russian Orthodox Church

Kodiak's Holy Resurrection Cathedral was vandalized on Wednesday evening. Image-Orthodox Church in America

Kodiak’s Holy Resurrection Cathedral was vandalized on Wednesday evening. Image-Orthodox Church in America

A 21-year-old man is in jail on felony charges of Burglary II and three counts of Criminal Mischief III after he was caught by Kodiak Police exiting the Russian Orthodox Church there on Wednesday evening.

21-year-old Arkimedes Garcia was apprehended after he exited the church partially clothed police reported. 

A KPD officer was in the vicinity when the department got a call of someone kicking at the church’s door to gain entrance at * pm Wednesday night. 

“A Kodiak police officer was in the downtown area and was able to arrive on scene quickly,” police wrote. “The officer contacted a male, identified as 21-year-old Arkimedes Garcia, after he emerged partially unclothed from the church and placed him under arrest.

No less than ten windows were broken in the Eastern Orthodox church on Wednesday and many of the cathedrals holy relics lay damaged and strewn on the floor. Included in the items desecrated and damaged were holy items from Alaska’s Saint Herman, who arrived as a monk to Kodiak Island in 1794, two years before the original church was built. Saint Herman was canonized in 1969, many of his holy relics, including his skufia (a traditional hat worn by clergy), wrought iron cross and chains, were enshrined at the church. 

The church was established in its present location in 1796. The current church is the fourth to be built there. This newest church was built in the 1940s after a fire destroyed the previous one.

The fate of the items, now desecrated, may face burning. That decision will be made by Alaska’s Orthodox Bishop.

Although his motive is unknown, Garcia did not steal the money from the money plate on the candle stand, and seemed bent on destruction.

Volunteers immediately began cleanup, boarding up the windows after the initial investigation at the scene was completed. Further cleanup efforts by volunteers took place on Thursday evening.

The church is a very popular tourist attraction and is actively utilized by the huge Russian Orthodox population on Kodiak Island.