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The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven
by Saint Innokenty Bishop of Alaska


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)

Published with the kind permission of Bishop Alexander Mileant

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