Monday, April 19, 2010

St. Innocent of Alaska (Aug. 26, 1797 to March 31, 1879)

Beef stroganoff, white rice with vegetables, a crisp garden salad, crunchy bread with butter, and chocolate cake with strawberries for dessert. What better than to enjoy comfort food at a long wooden table in a dining room with an ocean view of Kodiak, Alaska?
I was a guest at St. Innocent's Academy for an afternoon of music and dance.
This is a blog about Roman Catholic saints but I was so impressed with what I saw at the Eastern Orthodox church/school for at-risk students, that I've chose to write about St. Innocent.
Many of the teenagers at the academy were orphaned, abused, or unwanted. Now, they are loved and respected.
In addition to going to school and doing chores and side jobs there, they help on the island in a variety of ways including building stone walls, carpentry, yard work, and lending their time as waiters and waitresses and musicians for local events.
Sure, something like this might not be accepted in Rhode Island or New York City. Still, I think it's a good thing for the small island community,
The academy was named for St. Innocent of Alaska (also of Moscow) who was born on Aug. 26, 1879 in Anginskoye, Irkutsk Oblast. He was a Russian Orthodox priest, bishop, archbishop, and Metropolitan of Moscow and Russia. His mission work brought him to Alaska.
St. Innocent died on March 31, 1879 in Moscow. He was canonized in 1977 and his feast days are March 31 and April 13.

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