Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Repose of St Innocent the Metropolitan of Moscow the Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to the Americas

Commemorated on March 31

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.

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).

For further information on St Innocent, Apostle to America, see the: Celebration of the Year of St Innocent (1997) in the special features section.

Troparion - Tone 4

O Holy Father Innocent
In obedience to the will of God
You accepted dangers and tribulations
Bringing many peoples to the knowledge of truth.
You showed us the way,
Now by your prayers help lead us into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Troparion - Tone 2

You evangelized the northern people of America and Asia,
Proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the natives in their own tongues.
O holy hierarch Father Innocent,
Enlightener of Alaska and all America, whose ways were ordered by the Lord,
Pray to Him for the salvation of our souls in His Heavenly Kingdom!

Kontakion - Tone 2

A true celebration of the providence and grace of God
Is your life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our land.
In hardships and dangers you toiled for the Gospel's sake
And God delivered and preserved you unharmed.
From obscurity He highly exalted you as an example
That the Lord truly guides a man in the way he should go.

Kontakion - Tone 2

Your life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our Land,
Proclaims the dispensation and grace of God!
For laboring in dangers and hardships for the Gospel of Christ
You were kept unharmed and exalted in humility.
Pray that He may guide our steps in the way we should go.



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