St. Innocent: Instructions

To the Missionary at Nushagak, Theophanus, Hieromonk


St. Innocent is fondly remembered for his efforts at evangelizing Alaska, which at the time was under the Russian Empire; primarily being a trading outpost for the Russian-American Company. Orthodoxy entered into Alaska by way of priests and monks who ministered to the Russian faithful at remote outposts. It was not long until these ministers also began to seek to share the faith with the native population. The manner and approach by which Orthodox missionaries conducted their efforts is partly encapsulated in this 19th century letter by St. Innocent to a priest working within the native population of Alaska. In his instructions, St. Innocent lays out how one is to to expound the faith to those unfamiliar with care and delicacy that has come to typify the best of Orthodox evangelization.

[Source PDF]

To leave one's native country and seek places remote, wild, devoid of many of the comforts of life, for the sake of turning to the path of truth men who are still wandering in the darkness of ignorance, and of illuming with the light of the Gospel them that have not yet beheld this saving light—this is an act truly holy and apostolic. Blessed he whom the Lord selects and appoints to such a ministry! But doubly blessed he who labors with undivided zeal, sincerity and love in the work of conversion and enlightenment, enduring the hardships and sufferings which he encounters in the course of his ministry, for "his reward is great in heaven!" But woe unto him who is called and appointed to tell the good news, and who does not tell it! And woe still more unto him who, after traveling over land and seas to convert men, makes them he has converted into sons of Gehenna, worse than himself!

And so thou, O priest art now appointed to a work for which thou shalt either "enter into the joy of the Lord," as a good and faithful servant, or receive condemnation, as a false, wicked, and slothful servant. And may the Lord preserve thee from the latter fate and grant thee the will and the strength to compass the former! When thou findest thyself in the place of thy ministry, thy duties shall be many and peculiar—1st spiritual, as celebrant at the altar and preacher of the word of God; 2nd temporal, as a member of a well-ordered community's government, and therefore do I here offer thee, for thy guidance, a few instructions bearing on both classes of duties.

Part First:

Most Essential Instructions, Concerning a Missionary’s Spiritual Duties.

The instructions bearing on this subject are very clearly set forth in the Ukaz of 1777, in which it is said "that he should not regard as his duty the hasty administration of baptism (to converts), but should do his best to instill into them the force of Christian teaching, and to guide them towards all manner of good morals, without which baptism administered to savages can hardly be called anything but an abuse of one of the greatest Sacraments of the Christian religion".

I. Preparation to Missionary Work.

1) The first and most efficient preparation is prayer, which alone can open the spring of highest teaching and bring down a blessing upon every good beginning and work. Therefore always, and especially before addressing those whom thou wishest to illumine with the light of truth, turn towards God in ardent prayer.

2) Cultivate always a modest and lowly spirit, and do not presumptuously promise thyself extraordinary or certain success in thy labors. Such expectations proceed from pride, and grace is not granted unto the proud. Remember always that the conversion of a sinner or a heathen to the right path cometh not from us or from our skill, but, directly and solely from God. If it be His pleasure to convert anybody, then the simplest Words (so they be full of the truth), from the lips of a simple reader will touch the hearer's heart and sink deep into it: and bear fruit in due time. If it be not His pleasure—the most convincing words from the lips of the greatest orator will have no saving effect. For we all, from the first to the last, are nothing but tools in the hands of God.

3) Every time that thou addressest thyself to thy work, strive to be calm and to have full control of thy faculties, else canst thou not put into words what thou knowest most thoroughly.

4) Do not begin any work without previous thought, and do not perform it in a careless and absent-minded way, for thy work is God's work, and he is accursed that does it negligently.

5) Remember always that if the preacher has not within himself love to his work and to them to whom he is preaching, the very best and most eloquent expounding of the doctrine may remain absolutely without effect, for love alone creates—therefore do thou strive to cultivate within thyself the spirit of holy love.

6) Make it a rule, when thou visitest remote localities (where the foundations of Christianity have already been laid), not to begin any service, nor to administer any Sacrament without first giving to them thou visitest if only some brief instruction.

7) Thou shouldst naturally begin to preach the word of God there where thou hast thy permanent residence. But should circumstances compel thee or opportunity induce thee to visit remoter places, then, even though thou shouldst not as yet have accomplished much among those who live in thy own vicinity, do not miss a chance of going anywhere, and be ready to teach in any place and any body, according to age, condition and time.

8) Choose for thy teaching and for talks with the natives preferably such times when they are all assembled together. For this purpose thou mayest either go to them, or, if feasible, invite them to come where thou shalt be thyself.

9) At first, while still ignorant of the natives' language, thou shouldst employ an interpreter, to translate thy words for them. Take care to elect for the post a man from among the most pious and well-intentioned, and instruct him in good time in the Catechism. It will be best to employ always the same interpreter.

II. The Order of Preaching.

10) Christianity is a need, and a comfort which appeals principally to the heart, not to the mind alone, and therefore, when instructing in the faith, the teacher should aim at acting more on the heart than on the mind. The mind's curiosity is insatiable; but he who feels in his heart the craving for faith, who tastes of its comfort—he will receive it quickly and with ease, and it shall not remain within him barren of fruits. But in order to act on other men's hearts, a man must speak from his own heart. “From out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh”. Hence his lips and wisdom only shall prove irresistible to the hearts of his hearers, whose own heart overflows with faith, and he alone shall know without fail how and when to speak, and what to say. Do thou therefore note and take, advantage of such moments when the hearts of them that listen to thee are well disposed. That is the favorable time for the sowing of the Word.

11) Methods of instruction vary according to the state of mind, age, and faculties of him who is to be instructed. Bear in mind, with regard to this, that those with whom thou shalt have to deal are in manners and ideas, heathens and erring, and in grade of culture—children. To these facts should be adapted the method and order of instruction in the saving truths.

12) The order of instruction should be made to conform to that which Providence itself points out to us.

The law of Moses was given earlier than the law of the Gospel; and even before the written law of Moses, the unwritten natural law was known and the author of it God Almighty, the Creator. Just before the law of Moses solemn signs were manifested of God's power, almightiness and glory.

Keeping in view this great and universal model, do thou order thy small and individual work as follows:

a.) Starting from the existence and harmony of visible things, demonstrate the existence (which, however, none of those people appear to doubt), the almightiness, power and glory of the Creator of the Universe, His goodness, knowledge of all things, etc. At the same time with this, tell them the story of the creation of the first man, and of his being the progenitor of all men and peoples, who, in this respect, are living monuments and visible proofs of the Creator's supreme power and wisdom. Then explain how man consists of soul and body, in what he differs from other animate beings, how he is possessed of an immortal spirit, and indicate the intent of God in creating man—i.e. blessedness.

b) Further, show them the moral law of Moses, as being the divinely written natural law, the means towards achieving blessedness; all this do simply and concisely.

Note. When speaking of the law, thou shalt surely hear from the crudest savages things confirming that law, which is graven indelibly upon the tablets of every human heart. Thus for instance, who does not know that a man should honor his parents, that he should not steal, kill, etc.?! Try to arouse this feeling in them, and make use of it for thy purpose.

c.) When thy hearers shall have become convinced of the existence of God and the law, then (but not before), show them the necessity of observing the law, as being the will of God, and the visible consequences of not observing and of breaking it. Illustrate this with a brief narrative of the Deluge—(the tradition of it, though confused. exists among savage races)—as being the consequence of not keeping the law of God; tell them of the blessing bestowed by God upon the Patriarchs after the Deluge, and especially upon Abraham (whose descendants exist to this day)—as being the consequence of keeping the law.

d.) Only now begin the Evangelical instruction proper, in the way that Jesus Christ Himself began it i.e. by announcing repentance and consolation, and the approach of the Kingdom of Heaven. Try to lead them to a feeling of repentance or of something nearly akin to it. This can be accomplished by convincing them that they will inevitably be punished for disregarding the law written within their hearts, in this life and the next, or if not in this life, so much more heavily, and for all eternity, in the next; that no one can, of his own power, escape these punishments, etc.

Here thou shouldst shape thy speech so as to arouse in them a certain dread of the future; and when thou shalt have brought them into this frame of mind, then do thou announce to them Jesus Christ, the Savior, Redeemer and Hope of all men, to give them comfort.

Note. To bring souls to a state of repentance and contrition is one of the preacher's most difficult tasks. But this condition is one of the most important factors in the work of conversion; it is as the roughed up soil, ready to receive the seed of Christianity, which then can sink into the very depth of the heart, and, with the later assistance of grace, can bear abundant fruit.

When thou announcest the Savior to a sinner who feels guilty before the law, thou dost suddenly and without any persuasion thereto implant· in him the love of this Savior, Whom as yet he does not know. And one who has in this manner learned to love Christ, will love Him all the more when he does know Him, and will believe all that He said and all that thou shalt say about Him. It will then be easy for thee preach to unfold all the mysteries of our salvation, and for those who listen to thee in such a disposition of mind to receive them.

e) Having demonstrated the necessity of the redemption of the human race and shown the greatness of God's love towards men, thou shalt tell of the coming into the world of the promised Redeemer—of His birth before the ages from the Father (this will be the time and place to touch on the mystery of the Holy Trinity)—of the incarnation, nativity, and earthly life of Jesus Christ, of His teaching, sufferings, and death, of the resurrection of the dead (in which all American savages believe in their own peculiar way)—of the future life and the retribution to be dealt to the good and the wicked, according to their deeds.

f.) Lastly shalt thou tell them that Jesus Christ, during His life on earth, had many disciples, out of whom He chose twelve, imparting to them a special grace and power, and whom he sent forth into the world, to preach the Gospel unto all creation—tell them how all that these chosen ones taught, and all that Jesus commanded is recorded in their writings, which have come down to us, and which are known to nearly all the nations of the earth—and how all good and simple-minded men to whom it has been given to hear—their teachings, have received them with joy and have followed, and are following, in His steps. Tell them that such men are usually called Christians, and that those among them who have strictly kept the commandments of Jesus Christ have become Saints, and the bodies of many among them have reposed these many centuries exempt from corruption etc. After this (on no account before), thou mayest make them an offer, and ask them whether they should like to join those who believe in Jesus Christ and hope to obtain through Him eternal salvation, blessedness, etc., etc., This instruction will be sufficient at first for such as have not before heard the word of saving truth.

13) In expounding matters concerning the faith, thou shouldst express thyself with deliberation, clearness, precision, and as far as possible, concisely; otherwise thy preaching will have but poor success. In imparting the teaching of Jesus Christ it is not necessary to expatiate too much; i.e. thou shouldst not repeat all that He said, but only say that the entire doctrine of Christ is comprised in this: that we repent, believe in Him, and have towards Him and all men a feeling of pure, disinterested love. In confirmation of His teaching, thou mayest briefly mention His miracles.

14.) When thou shalt see that thy hearers have understood thee, and when they express a wish to be counted among the flock of Christ, then tell them: a) of the conditions upon which they may be admitted among the faithful; b) of Holy Baptism, as the mystic means of regeneration through water and the Spirit, which opens the new Christian life, and of the other Sacraments as the means of receiving the grace of Jesus Christ; and, c) of the manner after which he should live, who aims at being a true Christian and, consequently, at obtaining all the fruits of salvation.

a) The conditions upon which one who wishes to become a disciple of Jesus Christ may be admitted are the following: 1).—he must renounce his former creed, give up Shamanism and not listen to the Shamans; 2).—he must not observe any customs contrary to Christianity; 3).—he must agree to perform all things that shall be demanded of him by the new law and the Church; 4).—he must confess his sins.

b) Those who are willing and desirous to fulfill all the above named conditions must be told that entering the Christian fold is a great and important act, which must be performed solemnly, the neophyte renouncing in the presence of witnesses all that is opposed to Christianity, pledging himself to be a disciple of Christ and confirming all this by receiving holy Baptism, which is at once the visible token of having entered the community of Christians, the means of purifying the soul from sins, and the door for the reception of the other gifts, or means for imparting the grace of God in other words—the Sacraments of Holy Church, which should here be explained.

This also is the time for explaining the importance and dignity of the holy Cross and the virtue of the sign of the cross; also the reason for the reverence which the Church pays to the holy ikons, and her beneficent intent in so doing.

Note. In speaking of ikons, it might be advisable to mention, among other things, that, for the unlettered, they supply the place of books, etc.

c) As regards the instruction about how a Christian should conduct himself, it is best not to go into too much detail at first, but merely say that whoever wants to be a true Christian i.e. a disciple of Jesus Christ, and to profit by all the gifts which the Redemption has brought to man, should, 1), with faith, hope and love, give himself up to Jesus Christ; and, 2), imitate him in all things, i.e. try, as far as possible, always to act as He acted. Here Christ's virtues as described in the Gospel should be briefly touched upon, so that the neophyte may understand exactly how he ought to act.

Note. For instance: Jesus Christ forgave His enemies, and we should do likewise.

15) Lastly it should be shown that no one, especially if he rely on himself and his own strength alone, can, without divine assistance, be a true disciple of Christ, and that if Jesus Christ, out of His great love towards men, had not granted us His help, no one ever could become a true follower of His; but that now every one who wishes for it may receive assistance from Him. This assistance is the Holy Spirit, Which is given for the asking, and is obtained chiefly through prayer. And prayer is a turning of the heart towards God with submission, faith and hope. We can pray at all times and in all places; but divine grace and help are especially near when we ask for them in the prayers of the Church.

Part Second:

Special Directions Concerning Instruction, Public Worship, the Treatment of Natives, etc.

17.) The dogmas of the faith and the substance of actual doctrine should be kept to so strictly as not to allow anything contrary to them in word or deed, though in the face of death itself. But some allowance should be made for new converts, as regards certain imperfections in the rites, partly in consideration of local conditions, partly in expectation of their growing firmer in the faith and the new mode of life.

18.) The nature of those countries makes it almost impossible for the inhabitants to observe the fasts after the usual manner, i.e. by changing animal flesh diet to a wholly vegetable diet, and their fasting can more conveniently modify not so much the quality as the quantity of the food and the time of taking it. Therefore they should not be compelled to observe the fasts by change of diet; but, in the first place, the object of the institution of fasts should be explained to them, and the good of it; then, as their conviction and zeal increase, they should be led to observe the fasts on certain days in this manner: that they should, according to circumstances, diminish the quantity of the food they take, and not take that in the early hours of the day. As regards the Holy Week, and especially the last days before Easter Sunday, all converts should be urged to spend them in the utmost self-mortification, bodily and spiritual, in memory of the passion suffered by Jesus Christ for our salvation.

19.) Attendance at ordinary services, with the exception of the Liturgy, should not be made an absolute duty. Hence, in the course of thy travels in the remoter localities, when those whom thou dost visit are bound to confess and receive the Sacrament, thou must not make it absolutely incumbent on them to go to church during a whole week, as is customary with us, but only so much as circumstances will permit, and thou must be content with reminding and advising them that they should, during this time, pray to God as frequently as possible in their hearts for forgiveness of their sins, and also observe as strict a fast as they can. For such converts, instruction in the Word of God is always a better preparation for partaking of the Sacrament than reciting the usual Psalms and prayers, because none of them will, for a very long time yet, understand what is read and recited in church.

20.) With regard to the celebration of marriages, departures from the strictness of existing rules can be permitted only for the most cogent reasons and in cases of extreme necessity; and in what these departures may consist, that shall be specified in special instructions which shall be given thee. In view of the scantiness of local populations, recalling the patriarchal times, it will not be advisable to extend overmuch the forbidden degrees of relationship. Still, the prohibitions recorded in this matter in Leviticus (Ch. XVIII), should be unswervingly kept in view.

21.) Ancient customs, so long as they are not contrary to Christianity, need not be too abruptly broken up; but it should be explained to converts that they are merely tolerated.

22.) Natives who have not received holy baptism, if only there is no reason to fear that they may in any way commit sacrilege or violate decorum, should not only not be forbidden from being present at our services—such as vespers, matins, or Te Deums—if they so wish, but should be invited to attend. As regards the Liturgy, it is against church rules to allow their presence at the Liturgy of the Faithful. Still, as the envoys of St. Vladimir in Constantinople were permitted, though they were heathens, to remain during the entire Liturgy, to the unspeakable benefit of all Russia, thou also mayest grant the same favor, in the hope that the sacred act may have a salutary effect on hearts as yet unenlightened.

23.) No matrimonial unions or contracts entered into before baptism must be considered as hindrances to the administration of the Sacrament; and no marriages contracted before baptism, (with the exception of such incestuous ones as can scarcely occur at all), must be annulled, nor must such marriages be inquired into.

24.) Neophytes must be given no presents, either before, or at, or soon after baptism, nor must the sponsors be allowed to give them any, in order that the expectation of gifts may not serve as an inducement or suggest various cunning devices; therefore nothing must be given at baptism, neither shirts nor anything else, except the small crosses they are to wear.

25.) Upon the holy Antimins given to thee thou art empowered to celebrate the Liturgy in any place whatever—in a clean dwelling or under the open sky. But for many reasons, it is preferable to have for the purpose a special tent, which should be pitched in places as clean as possible; and on such places the natives should be persuaded to erect crosses, which may later on serve as landmarks, to show where the Bloodless Sacrifice has been offered, and also be a consecration to the place, so the people may assemble there for common prayer in thy absence.

26.) Thou art to take up thy residence more or less permanently where thou shalt judge thy presence to be most needed and useful. Happy indeed is the preacher, whose presence among them the natives regard as a privilege!

27.) While shaping thy course of instruction after the order indicated above, be careful not to proceed to a new subject before the hearers—all or at least the majority—have well grasped the preceding ones, even though this may delay the baptism of many. The more firmly the foundation is laid, the more durable will be the building and the easier to erect it.

28.) Thou shalt not bring in support of instruction in the faith and the Christian law any proofs not confirmed by Holy Writ, nor, still less, false miracles and invented revelations, under penalty of the severest censure. But, should the Lord in any place manifest His power, either by some miraculous cure or by some extraordinary revelation, thou shalt not conceal such divine manifestations, but, after instituting a proper and most impartial investigation, with all possible proofs, report the matter to us.

29.) Thou shalt on no account attempt to increase the number of those who are to receive holy baptism by any measures or means inconsistent with the evangelical spirit and unbecoming a preacher—such as compulsion, threats, bribes or promises (of exemption from taxes and the like), nor by any vain allurements; but thou shalt always act with apostolic sincerity.

30.) Thou shalt not proceed to administer holy baptism to natives before they have been thoroughly instructed by thee in the above-named matters, nor then, unless they shall have expressed the wish to receive it.

31.) On arriving in some settlement of savages, thou shalt on no account say that thou art sent by any government, or give thyself out for some kind of official functionary, but appear in the guise of a poor wanderer, a sincere well-wisher to his fellow-men, who has come for the single purpose of showing them the means to attain prosperity and, as far as possible, guiding them in their quest.

32.) From the moment when thou first enterest on thy duties, do thou strive, by conduct and by virtues becoming thy dignity, to win the good opinion and respect not alone of the natives, but of the civilized residents as well. Good opinion breeds respect, and one who is not respected will not be listened to.

33.) On no account show open contempt for their manner of living, customs, etc., however these may appear deserving of it, for nothing insults and irritates savages so much as showing them open contempt and making fun of them and anything belonging to them.

34.) From thy first interview with natives, do thy best to win their confidence and friendly regard, not by gifts or flattery, but by wise kindliness, by constant readiness to help in every way, by good and sensible advice and sincerity. For who will open his heart to thee, unless he trust thee?

35.) In giving instruction and talking with natives generally, be gentle, pleasant, simple, and in no way assume an overbearing, didactic manner, for by so doing thou canst seriously jeopardize the success of thy labors.

36.) When a native speaks to thee, hear him out attentively, courteously, and patiently, and answer questions convincingly, carefully and kindly; for any question asked by a native on spiritual subjects is a matter of great importance to the preacher, since it may be an indication both of the state of the questioner's soul and of his capacity, as well as of his desire, to learn. But by not answering him even only once, or answering in a way at which he can take offense, he may be silenced forever.

37.) Those who show no wish to receive holy baptism, even after repeated persuasion, should not in any way be vexed, nor, especially, coerced. And although justice demands that converts and such as are ready to become converts should be treated with greater kindness and consideration, still thou, as preacher of the Gospel, shouldst not be insulting in thy treatment of such as show no disposition to listen to instruction, but shouldst be friendly in thy intercourse with them. This will be to them the best proof that thou dost really and truly wish them well.

38.) Among some savage tribes in those parts polygamy is to be met with, but only among the rich and powerful. Therefore, while striving to incline them to monogamy, do thou proceed with caution and tact, never in a masterful spirit, but so as not to anger and embitter them.

39.) From new converts or neophytes thou shalt not on any account whatsoever demand contributions or donations for the church or for any good work; yet shalt thou not refuse, but kindly accept gifts from such persons as may voluntarily offer anything—taking care however, to explain on each separate occasion the object of the gift and the use it will be put to, in order that they may not get the idea that God, like their own spirits, demands offerings, or that such gifts are expiatory or propitiatory sacrifices, and the like.

40.) Henceforth, unless a special instruction be given thee, thou shalt take laborers or guides in thy travels from among the new converts or the natives of the places thou visitest. In this matter thou shouldst act in such a manner as not to lead them to fancy that, in becoming Christians, they at the same time become in some sort the slaves or bound laborers of their teachers. Hence, whenever such an occasion arises, thou shouldst request the natives' assistance in a friendly manner, and thou shouldst pay guides and all other help for their services.

41.) On no account shalt thou require of new converts or any natives presents or contributions; nor art thou to enter into any commercial transactions with them, either personally or through third parties, under penalty of severest censure. Even what is needed for food thou shalt receive only in case of absolute necessity and against payment, or else what is offered spontaneously at the hospitable board.

42.) Journeys are to be undertaken at seasonable times, i.e. when the inhabitants are comparatively at leisure from hunting and fishing, so that, by undertaking a journey at an unseasonable time, thou mayest not interfere with the earnings of either the natives or the Company. But, shouldst thou find it impossible to visit some locality to the greatest possible advantage at any other time than the working season, thou shalt report the matter in good time to us, explaining all the reasons for and possible consequences of the one or the other course.

43.) In order to be of the greatest possible service to thy parishioners, thou shouldst quickly learn at least so much of their language as will enable thee to understand them. But the acolyte who is with thee as thy assistant must regard it as his bounden duty to study the language thoroughly, and thou art to see that he does.

44.) Make it thy business to find out all about the religion, rites, customs, tastes, disposition, and all that makes up the life of thy parishioners, more especially in order to be able the more surely and easily to influence them.

Note. It imports not a little for thy success that thou shouldst do justice to any good customs they may have.

45.) During thy visits and residence in that or the other locality, give the natives, as far as time will permit, advice and directions for the improvement of their manner of living, avoiding, however, anything like coercion, and taking care not to give offense in any way, all in a friendly, openhearted spirit; and the advice and directions should be adapted to the local conditions and the simplicity of their manners.

46.) Do not meddle with any temporal affairs, and do not, either openly or by secret insinuation, discredit in their eyes any of the authorities placed over them either by the government or by their own choice; for Jesus Christ Himself, while He dwelt on earth, insulted no existing powers and touched nobody's rights of property. But should the actions of an official and his treatment of the natives be too cruel and unbearable, exhort him at first in all gentleness and friendliness; then, should this prove inefficient, report the matter confidentially to us, with every detail and in all fairness or, in case of our absence, to the dean of the district, who will bring it before the higher authority.

47.) In all matters exceeding thy powers, thou shalt apply to us, and of any scruples or misunderstandings that may arise, thou shalt write to us, officially or confidentially, according to circumstances.

48.) Judging from the gentle temper of many of the natives of the American coastland, it would seem that, if thy conduct be peaceable and such as beseems a preacher of the Gospel, no attacks or attempts against life are to be expected. Yet, should thy life, against all expectation, be in any way endangered, thou shouldst have recourse to the last and decisive measures for thy defence only in a case of absolute extremity. But a hundred times blessed shalt thou be if thou be found worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ.

49.) That thy labors, acts, and progress in the work entrusted to thee may be the better seen and thy services the more correctly appreciated, thou shalt keep a diary, in which thou shalt set down all thy acts, all the principal thoughts and words that shall have occurred in thy talks with the savages, and everything noteworthy generally. This diary thou shalt submit to us each year, together with thy other reports.

50.) Concerning the order in which the church matters are to be held, such as the keeping of the books, of various registers, and the forms to be observed in both, special instructions shall be given thee.

51.) Wherever possible or convenient, try to start a primary school for the instruction of children in the Catechism, reading, etc., after the model of those which are ordered by imperial decree to be organized in monasteries and in connection with churches. Should it not be possible to organize schools on these principles, then at least assemble in thy own dwelling or in the chapel, once or twice a week, the children of both sexes, first those of resident Russians and half-breeds, then those of new converts; instruct them in their duties to God, their parents, the authorities, to each other and to their neighbors. Thou mayest employ thy acolytes to assist thee in teaching the children to read and write.

52.) It goes without saying that thou art, in addition to all the above rules, to fulfill strictly and faithfully the general and particular rules concerning churches and the persons attached to them conformably to local conditions and institutions, and all such directions as shall be given thee from time to time, and also all the regulations and ordinances of any kind whatever, issued by the local authorities for the general community—and, by thus fulfilling them, thou shalt give a good example.

Bear in mind that thou art in a position where it is possible for thee to receive greater rewards, and more promptly, than do many others—rewards both heavenly, in the future, and temporal, in the present. The heavenly rewards are in the hands of the Great Distributor of needs, Who will constantly behold thee and thy actions, thy intentions, and the spirit in which thou wilt act. As regards temporal rewards, of this earth notice shall be taken of the number of converts thou shalt have made; but still more of the zeal and ardor thou shalt bring to thy labors, of any translation thou mayest make of portions from books of the Scriptures into the language of thy parishioners—of thy efforts to teach them to read the portions thus translated; and if thou succeedest with at least fifty pupils, this shall be considered as sufficient proof of thy zeal, and as a merit deserving of the highest rewards open to the clergy.

Do thou strive to stand before God, a laborer unashamed, righteously administering the Word of Truth. Devote thyself to thy teaching and abide therein—and by thus doing, shalt thou save both thyself and them that listen to thee.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit.


Archbishop of Kamtchatka, of the Kuril and Aleutian Islands.