St. Innocent of Alaska Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of North America
St Innocent (Veniaminov), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomensk (August 26, 1797 – March 31, 1879), was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church on October 6, 1977. He was born in the village of Anginsk in the Irkutsk diocese. The Apostle of America and Siberia proclaimed the Gospel “even to the ends of the earth”: in the Aleutian islands (from 1823), in the six dialects of the local tribes on the island of Sitka (from 1834), among the Kolosh (Tlingit); in the remotest settlements of the extensive Kamchatka diocese (from 1853); among the Koryak, Chukchei, Tungus in the Yakutsk region (from 1853) and North America (in 1857); in the Amur and the Usuriisk region (from 1860).
Having spent a large part of his life in journeys, St Innocent translated a Catechism and the Gospel into the Aleut language. In 1833, he wrote in this language one of the finest works of Orthodox missionary activity INDICATION OF THE WAY TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. ( see:The Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven)
In 1859, the Yakut first heard the Word of God and divine services in their native language. Twice (in 1860 and 1861) St Innocent met with St Nicholas the Apostle to Japan (February 3), sharing with him his spiritual experience.
A remarkable preacher, St Innocent said, “Whoever abounds in faith and love, can have mouth and wisdom, and the heart cannot resist their serving it.”
Having begun his apostolic work as a parish priest, St Innocent completed it as Metropolitan of Moscow (January 5, 1868 – March 31, 1879). He obeyed the will of God all his life, and he left behind a theme for the sermon to be preached at his funeral: “The steps of a man are rightly ordered by the Lord” (Ps 36/37:23).
St Innocent is also commemorated on October 5 (Synaxis of the Moscow Hierarchs) and on October 6 (his glorification).