Moscow: Typ. of the Holy Synod, 1883. Item #220
viii, 769, 14, xvi,  pp. 26,5x18,5 cm. With a lithographed portrait frontispiece and four lithographed plates. Period style quarter morocco, spine with raised bands and gilt lettered title. Period pencil markings and mild foxing of the text, otherwise a very good copy.
First and only edition. First fundamental authoritative biography of Saint Innocent of Alaska (Saint Innocent Metropolitan of Moscow, born Ivan Veniaminov, 1797-1879) - a prominent Russian Orthodox missionary and enlightener of Alaska, «remarkable Russian cleric» (Lada-Mocarski, 111), the first Orthodox bishop and archbishop in the Americas. The biography was published just four years after his death by Russian historian and bibliographer Ivan Barsukov, and is mentioned in Lada-Mocarski (see below).
Barsukov gives a detailed story of St. Innocent’s life, work and travels in Russian America and Eastern Siberia, characterizes and quotes numerous reviews on his works, and includes valuable information on the history of the Russian-American Company and Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska. The biography is based on a wide range of original sources, including official correspondence between St. Innocent and Russian church officials (Mikhail, the Bishop of Irkutsk; Holy Synod and the Administration of the Russian-American Company), private correspondence to and from his family and Russian nobility (Admiral V.S. Zavoiko, the head of the Holy Synod count Protasov, countess Sheremetyeva, and others); recollections of his contemporaries (daughter, E.I. Petelina, priest A. Sulotsky); St. Innocent’s published works (i.e. The State of the Orthodox Church in Russian America; Notes on the Islands of the District of Unalaska; Notes of Kolosh and Kadiak Languages); other works on Russian America (Tikhmenev «Historical Overview of the Formation of the Russian-American Company…», 1861); articles from contemporary periodicals (Irkutskiye Yeparkhialnye Vedomosti (i.e. News of the Irkutsk Diocese, 1879-1882), Dukhovnaya Beseda (i.e. Spiritual Conversation, 1863); Moskovskiye Univ. Izvestiya (i.e. News of Moscow University, 1868), Russian Archive (1881), and others).
The Supplements include St. Innocent’s letters to Russian writer, traveler and statesman Avraam Norov (1795-1869) written from New Archangel - those were some his first letters as the Bishop of Kamchatka, the Kuril and Aleutian Islands; there is also a speech given by Bishop Amvrosy of Dmitrov during St. Innocent’s burial in Moscow, 5 April 1879. The illustrations include two portraits of St. Innocent, a view titled «A Pleasant Recollection of a church service performed by Innocent, Bishop of Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands in the Palovo Channel of the Amur River in August 1858, in the presence of the officers and crew of steamboat ‘Vostok’, under command of Captain-Lieutenant Baron Schlippenbaсh» (after the original drawing by A. Kondyrev), and two leaves of facsimile of St. Innocent’s letters (to his children and baroness Elizaveta Dohler).
«The author’s full name was Ivan Evseevich Popov-Veniaminov. The son of a sexton in a Siberian village, after the usual theological studies and intermediate churchly positions, he was ordained a priest in 1821 and two years later decided to become a missionary and spread the Gospel among the Aleutian natives. His first post was at Unalaska, where he built a church. In the course of some 30 years of devout and enlightened missionary work throughout the Aleutian and Kuril Islands, as well as in Kamchatka, he started schools, vaccinated the natives against smallpox, translated Russian liturgical books into native languages, etc. In 1857 (by then Archbishop of Kamchatka, the Kuriles and the Aleutian Islands), Veniaminov was called to St. Petersburg and in 1868 was mage Metropolitan of Moscow under the name of Innokentii. For a more complete biography of this remarkable man, see the 24-page The Life and Work of Innocent, the Archbishop of Kamchatka (San Francisco, 1897), which is based on a voluminous work (in Russian) by I.P. Barsukov entitled Innokentii, Mitropolit Moskovskii (Moscow, 1883)» (Lada-Mocarski, 107).
Ivan Veniaminov went to Unalaska as a missionary priest in 1824 and spent there ten years. He «transliterated Unangan, the Fox Island dialect, into Cyrillic characters and with the help of Ivan Pankov translated the St. Matthew’s Gospel, as well as many prayers and hymns. The work was continued at a later date by Father Ilya Tyzhnov, who produced the first and only printed part of the Holy Scripture in the variant of Aleut spoken on Kodiak Island». He served in Sitka in 1834-38 where he built a school for Tlingit children and composed textbooks for it. In 1840 he went to St. Petersburg and Moscow where he took monastic vows and was subsequently nominated bishop of Kamchatka, the Kuril and Aleutian Islands. In May 1842 «he set off on a tour of his diocese, visiting Unalaska, Atka, Unga, Pribilof, Bering and the Spruce Islands, <…> Kamchatka and Okhotsk». In the 1840-1850s he made another three voyages around his diocese, in 1853 he took up permanent residence in Yakutsk; later he travelled across Eastern Siberia and the Far East to Blagoveshchensk, the Amur and Ussuri Rivers, and Kamchatka. <…> On 6 October 1977, by a decision of the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, acting on the official request from the Holy Synod of the Orthodox church in America, Veniaminov, Bishop Innocent, was numbered among the saints» (after Howgego, 1800 to 1850, V4).
Ivan Platonovich Barsukov was a member of a noted family of Russian historians and bibliographers, known for his works on the history of the Russian church, Eastern Siberia, the Far East, Kamchatka, the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. After the biography of St. Innocent Barsukov published his collected works in 3 vols. (Tvoreniya Innokentiya, Mitropolita Moskovskogo i Kolomenskogo, M., 1886-88) and letters, also in 3 vols. (Pisma Innokentiya, Mitropolita Moskovskogo..., M., 1897-1901); biographies of Count Nikolay Nikolayevich Muravyov- Amursky (M., 1891, 2 vols.), and Dionisy, Bishop of Yakutsk (SPb., 1902).