Innocent of Irkutsk

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Innocent of Irkutsk
Innocent of Irkutsk.jpg
Apostle to Siberia
Born c. 1680
Chernigov region, Russia
Died November 27, 1731
Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia
Canonized February 9, 1804 by The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church
Major shrine Znamensky Monastery, Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia
Feast November 26 (repose)
February 9 (translation and glorification)
September 2 (second translation)

St. Innocent of Irkutsk (Russian: Иннокентий Иркутский, c. 1680-November 27, 1731) was a missionary to Siberia and the first bishop of Irkutsk in Russia.

In 1721 he was consecrated bishop of Pereyaslavl in preparation for his leadership of the Orthodox mission to China. As a bishop he was not permitted entry to China and was therefore appointed to the see of Irkutsk in 1727. He died in 1731 and was buried beneath the altar of the Tikhvin church of Ascension Monastery.

During restoration work on the church in 1764, Innocent's relics were found to be incorrupt. After numerous miracles attributed to his intercession, he was glorified a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1804. Since the actual date of his repose coincides with the commemoration of the icon of the Theotokos "Of the Sign" of Novgorod, his feast day was moved to the day prior.

In 1921 the Soviet government confiscated his relics and placed them on display in various museums as a "Siberian mummy". The relics were returned to the Church on September 7, 1990.

This saint is occasionally confused with the later Innocent of Alaska who was named in his honor. Because of his appointment as head of the Orthodox mission in China St. Innocent is regarded as the patron saint of China by many Chinese Orthodox today.


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