Moscow, February 7, 2014
It will repeat the route of the outstanding missionary of the 19th century, Holy Hierarch Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, who went down in history as enlightener of peoples of Siberia, the Far East, the Aleutian islands, and North America.
The organizing committee of the project, initiated by the governor of the Irkutsk region Sergei Eroshchenko, will be headed by minister of the regional development of the Russian Federation Igor Slyunyaev. This was resolved at the meeting in Moscow, reported the regional government's press service.
"The idea that came up in Irkutsk, found its support in Yakutia, the Amur and Sakhalin regions, the Khabarovsk, Kamchatka, and Transbaikal territories, the Chukchi autonomous district, as well as in the American state of Alaska, where the great Russian Orthodox missionary and scientist, researcher of nature, ethnography, and languages of peoples of Siberia and Alaska is venerated," stated Sergei Eroshchenko.
In 2014, events in honor of St. Innocent are to take place in the Transbaikal territory, Yakutia, the Amur region; in 2015, in the Khabarovsk territory, on Kamchatka, and in the Chukchi autonomous district; in 2016, in the Sakhalin region; in 2017, in the Irkutsk region, and in the USA—in Alaska, California, and Hawaii.
An each point of the route, there will be conferences, prayer services, and readings.
At the birthplace of St. Innocent in the village of Anga of the Kachug district of the Irkutsk region, a spiritual-educational center is to be opened in 2015. In 2017, when the 220th birth anniversary of the saint is celebrated, the expedition will finish in Moscow. Here the meeting of the Russian geographical society, dedicated to the commemorative anniversary, will take place, and a solemn service will be celebrated in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
The apostle of Siberia and America, Bishop Innocent (Veniaminov; 1797-1879) built churches and schools in Russia and America, and personally taught many children reading and writing. He also introduced mass smallpox vaccinations. In 1977 he was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America as apostle of Siberia and America.
The Irkutsk region's project, "The way of St. Innocent" has been included in the federal special-purpose program, "Consolidation of the Russian nation and the ethno-cultural development of Russian peoples" by the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation.
90% of the funds to support it will be assigned from the federal budget, and 10% from the regional budget.