Mar 30 – Innocent of Alaska

Mar 30 - Innocent of Alaska

Innocent of Alaska
30 March 1879

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From the Satucket Lectionary

Innocent of AlaskaInnocent of Alaska (August 26, 1797 – March 31, 1879), also known as Saint Innocent of Moscow (Russian Митрополит Инноке́нтий) was a Russian Orthodox priest, bishop, archbishop and Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia. He is known for his missionary work, scholarship and leadership in Alaska and the Russian Far East during the 1800s. He is known for his great zeal for his work as well as his abilities as a scholar, linguist and administrator. He was a missionary and later a bishop and archbishop in Alaska and the Russian Far East. He learned several native languages and was the author of many of the earliest scholarly works about the native peoples and their languages, as well as dictionaries and religious works in their languages. He also translated parts of the Bible into several native languages.

Innocent was born Ivan Evseyevich Popov (Иван Евсеевич Попов) on August 26, 1797 into the family of a church server in Irkutsk Province, in Russia. On May 18, 1821 he was ordained a priest to serve in the Church of the Annunciation in Irkutsk. In Russian he was known as Father Ioann, the religious version of Ivan.

At the beginning of 1823, Bishop Michael of Irkutsk received instructions to send a priest to the island of Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Father Ioann volunteered to go and on May 7, 1823 he departed from Irkutsk, accompanied by his aging mother, his wife, his infant son Innocent, and his brother Stefan.

His travels over the islands greatly enhanced Father Ioann’s familiarity with the local dialects. He devised an alphabet of Cyrillic letters for the most widespread dialect, the Unagan dialect of Aleut and, in 1828, translated portions of the Bible and other church material into that dialect.

n 1834, Father Ioann was transferred to Sitka Island. He devoted himself to the Tlingit people and studied their language and customs. His studies there produced the scholarly works Notes on the Kolushchan and Kodiak Tongues and Other Dialects of the Russo-American Territories, with a Russian-Kolushchan Glossary.

In 1838, Father Ioann journeyed to St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev to report on his activities and request an expansion of the Church’s activities in Russian America. While he was there, he received notice that his wife had died. It was suggested that he take vows as a monk. Father Ioann at first ignored these suggestions, but, on November 29, 1840 he was tonsured a monk. He chose the name Innocent in honor of Saint Innocent, the first bishop of Irkutsk, and was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.

On December 15, 1840, Archimandrite Innocent was consecrated Bishop of Kamchatka and Kuril Islands in Russia and the Aleutian Islands in Russian America. On April 21, 1850, Bishop Innocent was elevated to Archbishop. Archbishop Innocent took up permanent residence in the town of Yakutsk. and devoted much energy to the translation of the scriptures and service books into the Yakut (Sakha) language.

On November 19, 1867, he was appointed the Metropolitan of Moscow, replacing his friend and mentor, Saint Filaret, who had died. As metropolitan, he undertook revisions of many church texts that contained errors, raised funds to improve the living conditions of impoverished priests and established a retirement home for clergy.

Innocent died on March 31, 1879. He was buried on April 5, 1879 at Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, outside of Moscow.

— more at Wikipedia



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