St Innocent of Alaska Bicentennial (Ioann Veniaminov)

I had a chance to help Prof. Lydia Black with her organizing of the Veniaminov Bicentennial, by acting as a digital translator. 2007-03-13 Lydia T. Black 1925 to 2007

Ioann Veniaminov is the world’s most famous Alaskan, except in Alaska and the USA.

Travelling exhibit icon panel

I was fortunate to find the Orthodox Church in America which hosted the Internet exhibitions and related conference materials. The original website is no longer extant, but some parts are available from the Wayback Machine. I have some additional photos posted here, St Innocent Bicentennial

    Veniaminov Bicentennial Year (1997)

Proclamation by Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, September 9, 1996

    1997 marks the bicentennial of the birth of Ioann (John) Veniaminov, the distinguished Russian Orthodox missionary, teacher, administrator, linguist, ethnographer, and architect. John Veniaminov served as the first priest at Unalaska, the first Orthodox bishop in Alaska, and head of the Orthodox Church of Russia. In 1977 he was canonized a saint — St. Innocent, Apostle to North America and Siberia.

    Communities throughout the United States, Russia, and England are observing Veniaminov’s contributions to Alaskan, Russian, and American history by presenting exhibitions and conferences, and the publishing of new books of his writings. Such observances will be prominent in Alaska where Veniaminov served as missionary priest and bishop from 1825 through 1852. A major exhibition featuring the life and legacy of Veniaminov will travel to many communities in the state.

    John Veniaminov (Bishop Innocent) is honored by Alaska Natives for his dedication to preserving Native languages, for his development of the Aleut orthography, for many translations into Aleut, and for his pioneering development of a Tlingit Alphabet. He is also honored as a teacher, founder of the first school at Unalaska and of the first Orthodox school, seminary, and orphanage at Sitka.

    John Veniaminov was an accomplished builder, having designed and constructed the National Historic Landmark Cathedral of St. Michael in Sitka. He also built the first Church of the Holy Ascension at Unalaska. State, federal, and private monies are presently restoring this National Historic Landmark which contains many of the architectural features from the original church of 1825.

    The occasion of the rededication of the historic Unalaska church is an appropriate time to proclaim the Veniaminov Bicentennial.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim 1997: The Veniaminov Bicentennial Year in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to join in recognizing the contributions to Alaska of this great Russian missionary, scholar, and statesman.

    DATED: September 9, 1996

Introductory page Year-of-St-Innocent/UAF-Exhibition/

On-line Exhibit Announcements/1997-0208-UAF.html

Travelling exhibit, UAF 1

    Ioann Veniaminov in Alaska and Siberia and his Contribution to Arctic Social Science (University of Alaska Fairbanks, December 5-7, 1997)
  • Veniaminov Project (University of Alaska Fairbanks)
  • “Papers Presented at Symposium Ioann Veniaminov in Alaska and Siberia and his Contribution to Arctic Social Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks USA / December 5-7, 1997” Year-of-St-Innocent/UAF-Symposium/
  • Prof. Lydia Black, Ph.D.Prof. Lydia Black, Ph.D. at the conference

  • special report for radio by Arctic Science Journeys
  • St Gabriel Orthodox Church, Kongiganak
    St Gabriel Orthodox Church, Kongiganak, Alaska

      Orthodox Churches in Alaska

    1997 — pim-index.html

    2006 — Parishes in Alaska location=AK&x=22&y=16&SID=9&CLASS=P&TYPE=STATE


    Biography of St. Innocent of Alaska

    “Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven,” written by “the Apostle of. Alaska” — Saint Innokenty Veniaminov. …

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    6 responses to “St Innocent of Alaska Bicentennial (Ioann Veniaminov)

    1. Thanks for the excellent listing of links provided above! Another good Internet resource containing most of St. Innocent’s Aleut and Tlingit translation work on-line can be found at:

      The original works of St. Innocent have been electronically re-transcribed, and include:

      Aleut – Indication of the Pathway into the Kingdom of Heaven, written 1833, published 1840 and re-printed 1899

      Aleut – Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew (plus Pascha readings), published 1840, re-printed 1896

      Aleut – Nachatki Hristianskogo Uchenia (Introduction to Christian teachings), published 1840, re-printed 1893

      Aleut – Two Sermons delivered in Atka Island during his visit in July 1842 (see reference in Paul Garrett’s excellent “St. Innocent – Apostle to America” biography published by SVS Press, pg 159.), published 2006

      Aleut – a fragment from Opyt Grammatiki Aleutskogo Yazyka (Tentative Grammar of the Aleut Language), published 1846

      Tlingit – Indication of the Pathway into the Kingdom of Heaven, published 1901

    2. Thank you for adding to the resources. It also reminds me that the Smithsonian did a recording of sacred music which featured two hymns in Yup’ik from St Herman’s.

      “Beautiful Beyond: Christian Songs in Native Languages”
      Various Artists. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings – SFW40480 2004

      Presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. This anthology of hymns and songs from Native American communities throughout the United States demonstrates how music has helped to preserve and perpetuate Native languages. Singers from the Southeast to the Plains and from the Southwest to Alaska and Hawai’i demonstrate the dynamic interplay between language and faith, and show the importance placed on the singing of these songs in keeping alive the culture embodied in their Native languages.

    3. Meeting of Frontiers: Siberia, Alaska, and the American West (Library of Congress)

      Meeting of Frontiers tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Project partners include the Library of Congress, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Russian State Library, the National Library of Russia, and more than twenty libraries, archives, and museums located in cities in Siberia and the Russian Far East.

      The Library of Congress website is I’ll look for the specific link.

    4. Yes, thanks for reminding about this on-line resource. The U.S. Library of Congress exhibit: “Meeting of Frontiers” can be found on-line at:

      It is in both English and Russian, and contains lots of good photos of historic artifacts (maps, manuscripts, books, etc.)

    5. Another good collection of resources,

      Alaskan Orthodox Texts, English version / русская версия

      This project, digitizing original Alaskan Orthodox materials, has been blessed by His Eminence SERAPHIM, Archbishop of Ottawa and all Canada, and by His Grace Right-Reverend NIKOLAI, Bishop of Sitka, Anchorage & Alaska.

      Alaskan Orthodox texts (Aleut, Alutiiq, Tlingit, Yup’ik)
      This site is an electronic library of historic Orthodox Christian resources in the indigenous languages of Alaska. Included in this site are:
      • printed texts in the Aleut, Alutiiq, Tlingit, and Yup’ik languages,
      • audio libraries of liturgical hymns in mp3 format,
      • links to published materials for further research,
      • links to other web-sites dedicated to Alaskan Orthodoxy.

    6. Pingback: Summary of Third International Conference on Russian America: Irkutsk, August 2007 « Biocultural Science & Management