|Saint Peter the
A native of Kodiak
Island, Cungagnaq had been baptized by the monks of St. Herman's missionary party,
receiving the Christian name Peter.
| Returning a while later, the priests
found that the Aleuts again refused to renounce Orthodoxy. They took Peter and cut
off a toe from each foot, but Peter simply repeated, "I am a Christian; I will not
betray my Faith." The Spanish priest-inquisitor ordered a group of California
Indians to cut off each finger of Peter's hands, one joint at a time, eventually cutting
off his hands altogether. Finally, he ordered that Peter be disemboweled.
Peter quickly died as a result of the tortures, witnessing to his Faith in God to his last
breath. Just as they were ready to start on the next Aleut, the Spaniards received
an order to stop the proceedinggs. This eyewitness account of Peter's martyrdom is
told by some of his comrades who were eventually released.
When the incident was reported to St. Herman, back on Kodiak Island, the monk turned to his icon, crossed himself and exclaimed, "Holy, new-martyr Peter, pray to God for us!" Peter the Aleut was formally glorified as a saint, as the "Martyr of San Francisco;" in 1980. His feast day is commemorated on September 24.