Friday, March 31, 2017

Innocent of Moscow

Was born in Siberia on August 26, 1797, and was named John Popov.

While in seminary at Irkutsk, he spent so much time with Bishop Benjamin that the dean gave him the name "Veniaminov" (son of Benjamin). He married Catherine Sharina in 1817 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1821.

The Russian-America Company had requested the bishop to send a priest to the Aleutian Islands. Fr. John heard of this and volunteered. He enthusiastically worked to establish the Church in America and to evangelize the native peoples.

Metropolitan Theodosius, in 1997, characterized St. Innocent as a "renaissance man", as he designed churches, sewed his own vestments, built furniture and his own house, while learning the native languages and cultures. He worked with an Aleut leader to devise a written alphabet and grammar for the local Aleut dialect and translated the Gospel of Matthew and liturgical texts.

After his wife died in 1839, he entered monastic life and took the name Innocent. He was elected the first resident bishop of Alaska (1840-58). When Alaska was purchased from Russia, he immediately replaced the Russian in the services with English. In 1868, he was appointed Metropolitan of Moscow and founded the Orthodox Missionary Society, primarily to continue to work to establish an American Orthodox Church. He reposed in Moscow on March 31, 1879 and was canonized on October 6, 1977.

Propers for Innocent - 31 March - Missionary to Alaska and Bishop of Moscow

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Innocent, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the people of Alaska: Raise up, we pray thee, in this and every land, heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may make known the unsearchable riches of Christ, and may increase with the increase of God; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.

THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things. while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

The Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9.

AFTER these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor pack, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

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