On several occasions I have
attempted to compose an article on Christian life that would present the
essence of what a Christian should know and do in a concise yet complete and
inspirational way. Although many parts of this topic had previously been
thought out and developed, how I could consolidate all this in a short format
eluded me. Then I came upon a booklet entitled "Indication of the Way into
the Kingdom of Heaven,"
written by "the Apostle of Alaska"
ó Saint Innokenty Veniaminov. Having read it, I understood that I could not
write anything better. Everything in it is excellent: the content, the style,
and the form of presentation. Therefore, I have gladly reprinted his sermon,
making therein some minor stylistic changes.
Bishop Innokenty (known in the world as Ivan Popov-Veniaminov) was born in
1797 in the village of Achinsk,
in the province of Irkutsk
in Siberia. Even in childhood, having lost his father,
he grew under Godís special care. He taught himself to read and write, and by
the age of seven he was already reading the Psalter and the Epistles. The
parishioners of his church convinced his mother to send him to school, and
Innokenty was accepted into the Irkutsk
seminary at government expense, graduating from it with distinction. Having
married in 1821, he was then ordained into the priesthood. In 1823 he was sent
as a missionary to Alaska, where
he went with his wife. Here, with great self-denial and success, he preached
the teachings of Christ among the primitive Aleuts. He compiled the first
alphabet and grammar of the Aleut language and translated Holy Scriptures,
sermons and divine services into Aleut. After several years in America,
Innokenty traveled to St. Petersburg
to obtain assistance for his missionary work from the Synod. While there, he was
informed of his wifeís death, whereupon he promptly entered the monastic life.
In 1840 he was consecrated bishop and was assigned to the Kamchatka,
Kuril and Aleutian bishoprics, and his missionary activity grew further.
Twenty-eight years later he was transferred to the cathedral of Moscow
as Metropolitan. He fell asleep in in the Lord in 1879. In February 1994,
Metropolitan Innokenty (Veniaminov) was canonized as a saint at the Joy of All
Who Sorrow Cathedral in San Francisco
together with Archbishop Nicholas, the Apostle of Japan.
Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
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