Native American Pathways to Orthodoxy – Marriane Poulos

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AMERICA OF MY HEART

Native American Pathways to Orthodoxy

by

Marriane Poulos

Source:

http://www.stlukeorthodox.com

http://www.stlukeorthodox.com/html/evangelist/1998/nativeamericanpaths.cfm

ST. LUKE ORTHODOX

I first felt the words of Christ come to life on a Pueblo Native American reservation in New Mexico, at “Ok’Ay Oh Ween Geh,” (Place of the Strong People.) The first time I stepped into the home of my Pueblo friend I was told, “This is not just my home, it is yours, too. And know that you always have a place to come home to, no matter how long it takes you to return.” How Christ-like this Indian elder was. The more our friendship grew, the more I was able to admire his goodness. Once I even saw him give the last of his money to an enemy. I also began to learn more of his people’s history. When the Spanish first came to the Southwest they called the Native Americans pagans. By force the colonizers converted them to Catholicism. They severely beat and hung many tribal leaders unless they allowed themselves to be baptized, immediately. They were made slaves. They were given Spanish names. “The Pueblo,” as a name did not exist yet. To themselves they were simply known only as “The People”. So it was in this atmosphere of evil The People were introduced to Christ, for the very first time. Despite the surrounding cruelty in which the Word came to them, they accepted it anyway. And this is what made the Native Americans such great Christians – they forgave their enemies.

To many Native American elders, the Word and the Way of Christ seemed so much like the teachings the Great Spirit had given to them. When they heard the scriptures they were convinced of Jesus, but they wondered why these bringers of his worWord were so unlike him – searching the Southwest for the mythic “Seven Cities of Gold,” My elder friend told me, “We knew where the gold was, but, you see, in an Indian way it would be bad for the people. It might make us greedy or start fighting, so we just left it buried there. In the Indian way a person’s worth was not determined by what he could accumulate, but by how much he could give.” Another Native friend of mine once told me, “Our ancestors grew up fearing the cross.” To them it had become a symbol of violence and death, comparable to the swastika.

One can only wonder how it would have been had the Pueblo Indians been introduced to Christ through the Orthodox Christian church like the Aleutian peoples of Alaska. The Aleuts, who were not mono-theistic, were taught the Christian gospel over a period of then years, and not so much by teaching and preaching, but by personal example. The life of Orthodox Saint Hermen of Alaska was one of humble service to the Kodiak people. His miracles of healing and prophesies concerning the future confirmed the Sugpiaq faith in Orthodox Christianity.

Today Alaska has become the home of four Orthodox saints, all who have been canonized by the church. This includes the martyred Kodiak Aleut Peter who died under torture in California for refusing to renounce Orthodoxy, after being captured by the Spanish. (Alaskan Missionary Spirituality, edited by Michael Oleska) Perhaps there are many pathways to the Giver of Life, Who is Everywhere Present, Who Fills All Things.

But the question remains, can one reject Christ and still achieve spiritual wholeness? The famous medicine man Black Elk believed the Indian tradition had been given by God to prepare the Indians for the revelation of Christ. (Michael Streltenkamp’s Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala, University of Oklahoma Press.) In comparing the various Native American Traditions to the mystic heart of the ancient Orthodox Christian Tradition (the original persecuted Christian Church of Christ,) we can find several corresponding links supporting this very idea. In both traditions we begin prayers by offering sweet fragrance to our Father in Heaven, or in the Native American tradition, to “Sky Father.” The Native Americans honor The Great Mystery in all the directions, and pray facing east, just as we Orthodox face east in prayer. The Bishops of the Orthodox church face east, south, west and north – to honor the Sun, Jesus Christ, rising in all the directions.

The traditional Native American idea of the Creator is expressed as The Great Mystery, and The Great Spirit. The Orthodox Church also shares the notion of God as Mystery, expressed beautifully by Bishop Kallistos Ware in his book,The Orthodox Way. He writes how the Greek Fathers “liken man’s encounter with God to the experience of someone walking over the mountains in the mist: he takes a step forward and suddenly finds that he is on the edge of a precipice, with no solid ground beneath his foot but only a bottomless abyss…our normal assumptions are shattered… And so it proves to be for each one who follows the spiritual Way. We go out from the known to the unknown, we advance from light into darkness. We do not simply proceed from the darkness of ignorance into the light of knowledge, but we go forward into greater knowledge which is so much more profound.”

And if the Holy Spirit, as the dynamic, as opposed to the still, aspect of God, in Orthodoxy, can be equated to the Native American concept of The Great Spirit, then perhaps we have reached the point where Christianity can be presented as the fulfillment of Indian tradition – in a new aspect of God. God as Person. A God who came to us to show his humble love for us. A God who experienced manhood out of his deep sympathy. “In his ecstatic love, God unites himself to his creation in the closest of all possible unions, by himself becoming that which he has created.” (Bishop Kallistos Ware)“Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) This does not mean we replace or destroy the old. Many aspects of the Orthodox tradition correspond directly to the ancient beliefs of Native Americans, and perhaps this ancient window can also provide us with a greater scope of the deep Christ Heart.

One of our old, old holy men said,“Every step you take on earth should be a prayer. The power of a pure and good soul is in every person’s heart and will grow as a seed as you walk in a sacred manner. And if every step you take is a prayer, then you will always be walking in a sacred manner” (CharmaineWhiteFaceOglala Lakota).

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ᎣᏍᏛ ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᎹᏚ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅᎯ 1 – Matthew 1 – Cherokee New Testament (CHR) – ᏣᎳᎩ

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ᎣᏍᏛ ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᎹᏚ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅᎯ 1

Matthew 1

Cherokee New Testament (CHR) – ᏣᎳᎩ

1ᎯᎠ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎧᏃᎮᎭ ᏧᏁᏢᏔᏅᏒ ᏥᏌ ᎦᎶᏁᏛ, ᏕᏫ ᎤᏪᏥ, ᎡᏆᎭᎻ ᎤᏪᏥ.
2ᎡᏆᎭᎻ ᎡᏏᎩ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎡᏏᎩᏃ ᏤᎦᏈ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ, ᏤᎦᏈᏃ ᏧᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏟ ᎬᏩᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
3ᏧᏓᏃ ᏇᎵᏏ ᎠᎴ ᏎᎳ ᎬᏩᏕᏁᎴᎢ ᏖᎹ ᏚᎾᏄᎪᏫᏎᎢ; ᏇᎵᏏᏃ ᎢᏏᎳᎻ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎢᏏᎳᎻᏃ ᎡᎵᎻ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
4ᎡᎵᎻᏃ ᎡᎻᏂᏓᏈ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎡᎻᏂᏓᏈᏃ ᎾᏐᏂ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎾᏐᏂᏃ ᏌᎵᎹ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
5ᏌᎵᎹᏃ ᏉᏏ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ ᎴᎭᏫ ᎤᎾᎸᎪᏫᏎᎢ; ᏉᏏᏃ ᎣᏇᏗ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ ᎷᏏ ᎤᎾᏄᎪᏫᏎᎢ; ᎣᏇᏗᏃ ᏤᏏ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
6ᏤᏏᏃ ᏕᏫ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᏕᏫᏃ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᏐᎵᎹᏅ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ ᏳᎳᏯ ᎤᏓᏴᏛ ᎤᎾᏄᎪᏫᏎᎢ;
7ᏐᎵᎹᏅᏃ ᎶᏉᎹ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎶᏉᎹᏃ ᎡᏆᏯ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎡᏆᏯᏃ ᎡᏏ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
8ᎡᏏᏃ ᏦᏏᏆ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ. ᏦᏏᏆᏃ ᏦᎳᎻ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᏦᎳᎻᏃ ᎣᏌᏯ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
9ᎣᏌᏯᏃ ᏦᏓᎻ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᏦᏓᎻᏃ ᎡᎭᏏ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎡᎭᏏᏃ ᎮᏏᎦᏯ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
10ᎮᏏᎦᏯᏃ ᎹᎾᏏ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎹᎾᏏᏃ ᎠᎼᏂ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎠᎼᏂᏃ ᏦᏌᏯ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
11ᏦᏌᏯᏃ ᏤᎪᎾᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏟ ᎬᏩᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎾᎯᏳ ᏓᏗᎶᏂ ᏥᏫᏗᎨᎦᏘᏅᏍᏔᏁᎢ;
12ᏓᏗᎶᏂᏃ ᏫᏗᎨᎦᏘᏃᎸ ᏤᎪᎾᏯ ᏌᎳᏓᏱᎵ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᏌᎳᏓᏱᎵᏃ ᏥᎳᏇᎵ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
13ᏥᎳᏇᎵᏃ ᎠᏆᏯᏗ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ, ᎠᏆᏯᏗᏃ ᎢᎳᏯᎩᎻ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎢᎳᏯᎩᎻᏃ ᎡᏐ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
14ᎡᏐᏃ ᏎᏙᎩ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᏎᏙᎩᏃ ᎡᎩᎻ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎡᎩᎻᏃ ᎢᎳᏯᏗ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
15ᎢᎳᏯᏗᏃ ᎢᎵᎡᏌ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎢᎵᎡᏌᏃ ᎹᏓᏂ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ; ᎹᏓᏂᏃ ᏤᎦᏈ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ;
16ᏤᎦᏈᏃ ᏦᏩ ᎤᏕᏁᎴᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎺᎵ ᎤᏰᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏄᎪᏫᏎ ᏥᏌ ᎦᎶᏁᏛ ᏣᏃᎭᎰᎢ.
17ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎦᏛ ᏄᎾᏓᏁᏟᏴᏒ ᎡᏆᎭᎻ ᏤᎮ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏅᏓᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏛ ᏕᏫᏃ ᏤᎮ ᏅᏛᏍᏘ ᏂᎦᏚ ᏄᎾᏓᏁᏟᏴᏎᎢ; ᏕᏫᏃ ᏤᎮ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏅᎵᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏛ ᏓᏗᎶᏂᏃ ᏥᏫᏗᎨᎦᏘᏅᏍᏔᏁ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏅᏛᏍᏘ ᏂᎦᏚ ᏄᎾᏓᏁᏟᏴᏎᎢ; ᏓᏗᎶᏂᏃ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᏫᏗᎨᎦᏘᏅᏍᏔᏁ ᎤᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅᏛ ᏥᏌᏃ ᏧᏕᏁ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏅᏛᏍᏘ ᏂᎦᏚ ᏄᎾᏓᏁᏟᏴᏎᎢ.
18ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎴ ᎤᏕᏅᏥᏌ ᎦᎶᏁᏛ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎺᎵ ᏥᏌ ᎤᏥ ᏦᏩ ᎤᏓᏴᏍᏗ, ᎠᏏᏉ ᏂᏓᎾᏤᎬᎾ ᎨᏎᎢ, ᎤᏁᎵᏤ ᎦᎸᏉᏗᏳ ᎠᏓᏅᏙ ᎤᏓᏅᏖᎸᎯ.
19ᏦᏩ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮎ ᏧᎾᏨᏍᏗ ᎤᏓᏅᏘᏳ ᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏄᏚᎵᏍᎬᎾ ᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎤᏕᎰᎯᏍᏙᏗᏱ, ᎤᏕᎵᏛᏉ ᎢᏴᏛ ᏮᏓᏥᏯᎧᏂ, ᎤᏪᎵᏎᎢ.
20ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏏᏉ ᎯᎠ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏕᎠᏓᏅᏖᏍᎨᎢ, ᎬᏂᏳᏉ ᏗᎧᎿᏩᏗᏙᎯ ᏱᎰᏩ ᎤᏅᏏᏛ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᏄᏛᏁᎴ ᎠᏍᎩᏓᏍᎬᎢ, ᎯᎠ ᏂᎦᏪᏍᎨᎢ; ᏦᏩ, ᏕᏫ ᎤᏪᏥ, ᏞᏍᏗ ᏣᏍᎦᎸ ᎯᏯᏅᏗᏱ ᎺᎵ ᏣᏓᏴᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩᏰᏃ Ꮎ ᏥᎦᏁᎵ ᎦᎸᏉᏗᏳ ᎠᏓᏅᏙ ᎤᏓᏅᏖᎸᎯ;
21ᎠᎴ ᏓᎦᎾᏄᎪᏫᏏ ᎠᏧᏣ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏥᏌ ᏕᎯᏲᎥᎭ, ᏧᏤᎵᏰᏃ ᏴᏫ ᏙᏛᏍᏕᎸᎯ ᏙᏓᎫᏓᎴᏏ ᎤᏂᏍᎦᏅᏨᎢ.
22ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏂᎦᏗᏳ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎴ ᎤᏙᎯᏳᏗᏱ ᎠᏰᎸᏒᎢ ᎯᎠ ᏥᏄᏪᏎ ᏱᎰᏩ ᎠᏙᎴᎰᏍᎩ ᎠᎬᏗᏍᎬᎢ;
23ᎬᏂᏳᏉ ᎠᏛ ᎾᏥᏰᎲᎾ ᎦᏁᎵᏛ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏓᎦᎾᏄᎪᏫᏏ ᎠᏧᏣ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᎹᏄᎡᎵ ᎠᏃᏎᎮᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᏢᏔᏅᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎯᎠ ᏄᏍᏗ ᎦᏛᎦ, ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᎢᎨᎳᏗᏙᎭ.
24ᏦᏩᏃ ᎤᏰᏨ ᎤᎸᏅᎢ ᏗᎧᎿᏩᏗᏙᎯ ᏱᎰᏩ ᏅᏓᏳᏅᏏᏛ ᏄᏪᏎᎸ ᏄᏛᏁᎴᎢ, ᎤᏯᏅᎨᏉ ᎤᏓᏴᏍᏗ.
25ᎠᎴ ᎥᏝ ᏳᎦᏙᎥᏎᎢ ᎬᏂ ᎤᎾᏄᎪᏫᏒ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎡᎯ ᎤᏪᏥ ᎠᏧᏣ, ᏥᏌᏃ ᏑᏬᎡᎢ.

ᎣᎩᏙᏓ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᎮᎯ – ᎣᏍᏛ ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᎹᏚ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅᎯ 6:9-13 – Lord’s Prayer – Pater Noster – Matthew 6:9-13 ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Cherokee Native American – ᏣᎳᎩ

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ᎣᎩᏙᏓ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᎮᎯ

ᎣᏍᏛ ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᎹᏚ ᎤᏬᏪᎳᏅᎯ 6:9-13

Lord’s Prayer – Pater Noster

Matthew 6:9-13

“9 ᏂᎯᏍᎩᏂ ᎢᏣᏓᏙᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᏄᏍᏕᏍᏗ; ᎣᎩᏙᏓ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᎨᎯ, ᎦᎸᏉᏗᏳ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᏕᏣᏙᎥᎢ.

10 ᏣᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᎨᏒ ᏫᎦᎾᏄᎪᎢ. ᎠᏂ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏫᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ ᎭᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏥᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᎭ.

11 ᏂᏓᏙᏓᏈᏒ ᎣᎦᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᏍᎩᎥᏏ ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ.

12 ᏗᎨᏍᎩᎥᏏᏉᏃ ᏕᏍᎩᏚᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ᏥᏗᎦᏲᏥᏁᎰ ᏦᏥᏚᎩ.

13 ᎠᎴ ᏞᏍᏗ ᎤᏓᎪᎵᏰᏗᏱ ᎨᏒ ᏫᏗᏍᎩᏯᏘᏅᏍᏔᏅᎩ, ᏍᎩᏳᏓᎴᏍᎨᏍᏗᏉᏍᎩᏂ ᎤᏥ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᏣᏤᎵᎦᏰᏃ ᏣᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏣᎵᏂᎩᏗᏱ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎡᏣᎸᏉᏗᏳ ᎨᏒ ᏂᎪᎯᎸᎢ. ᎡᎺᏅ”.

Anernerem Tanqilriim Akqutkumallra – Acts 1:1-8 ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Yup’ik Alaskan

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Anernerem Tanqilriim Akqutkumallra – Acts 1:1-8

Holy Bible in Yupik (Native Alaskan)

1 Ciuqliit kalikautekellrenka elpenun Theophilus-aaq, qaneryarangqertut Jesus-aam calillranek, ayuqucirtuutekellranek-llu ayagniqarraallranek, 2 qilagmun mayullra engelkarrluku, Anernerkun Tanqilriakun alerquumariamiki elitnaurani cucukellni. 3Nangteqellmi-llu kinguani tangercet’lartuq ellaitnun yuucimitun, nallunaitqapiggluni; yuinaagnek-llu malrugnek ernengqerluni qavcirqunek alairvik’larai, Agayutem-llu Angayuqauvia qalarutekluku. 4Quyungqallratni-llu inerqurai Jerusalem-aamek ayaasqevkenaki, tau͡gaam utaqasqelluku Aatam akqutii, tauna-gguq, “Niitellerci wangnek. 5Wani-wa John-aaq ilumun angllurcecilartuq merkun. Tau͡gaam elpeci ak’anivkenaci anglluumaciquci Anernerkun Tanqilriakun.”
6Quyurrvikellratni aptaat qanerluteng, “Ataneq, uum-qaa nalliini Israel-aam angayuqauvia ataam piurteqataran?” 7Kiugai-llu, “Elpeci nallunrilkaunritarci picirkaq ciunerkaq-llu, Aatam kiimi pisqutkarkaungaku. 8Tau͡gaam elpeci Anernermek Tanqilriamek pingumarikuvci pinimek cikiumaciquci; nallunairistekciqamci-llu Jerusalem-aami, Judea-mi-llu, Samaria-mi-llu, nunani-llu tamaitni.”

https://www.bible.com/bible/1390/ACT.1.YPK

Yupik Bible (YPK)

Central Yupik – Yup’ik

The Shaman and the Saint

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The Shaman and the Saint

St. Innocent, Equal to the Apostles had an illustrious career – he began as a simple missionary priest to the Aleut people of Alaska, and wound up as Metropolitan of Moscow. But even though he was an important and influential man, he was humble and unassuming, very aware of his failings and his temptations. Because of this, St. Innocent managed to miss meeting angels.

St. Innocent’s first parish was a series of islands spread over 1700 miles of the Bering Sea. He and his family settled on Unalaska Island, and he made a point of traveling by kayak and ship to as many islands and villages as he could during the year to attend to the needs of his parishioners.

In April of 1828, some people from Unimak Island arrived in Dutch Harbour. They had come to ask him if he would visit them. Unimak is about four hundred miles north east (as the crow flies) from Unalaska. He told the delegation that he’d be happy to come with them, but on the way, he wanted to stop at Akun Island, which lies halfway between Unalaska and Unimak.

We have to remember that in 1828, the telephone hadn’t been invented yet. Mail service was nonexistent, except when the company ships brought parcels and letters from Russia or Sitka, and in any case, the Aleut people, until St. Innocent arrived, hadn’t needed a written language, so they didn’t read or Continue reading “The Shaman and the Saint”

Saint John (Ivan) Smirennikov the Aleut of Alaska (+19th ce.)

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Saint John (Ivan) Smirennikov the Aleut of Alaska (+19th ce.)

This Aleut Orthodox tribal elder was known as a local ‘shaman’ who cured illness and told fishermen where to find large catches, just as shaman had done throughout the Arctic since time immemorial.

St. Innocent arrived at Akun Island on June 12, 1828 (O.S.), on a trip from Unalaska to Unimak Island, some 400 miles to the east. This was nearly four years after St. Innocent had first arrived in Alaska. St. Innocent was surprised to note that the people of the island were waiting for him at the shore, dressed in their finest clothing. The islanders greeted him by name, even before he introduced himself to them. When he asked them why they were waiting for him and how they knew his name, he was told that their shaman had informed them of his coming. St. Innocent thought this strange, but as he went about his work on the island, he put the incident out of his mind. However, as the days progressed, it came to his attention that one of the elders of the island, who had diligently come to services, and had prepared for and received Holy Communion, was unhappy with him. St. Innocent, wishing to avoid all misunderstandings, called to meet the man, known as Ivan Smirennikov.

The meeting took place, and Smirennikov expressed dissatisfaction that St. Innocent hadn’t asked why the islanders called him a shaman, even though the title bothered Smirennikov. As it turns out, Smirennikov had been baptized by Hieromonk Makary, and after his departure, he told St. Innocent, he had continually been visited almost daily for thirty years by two bright figures, who taught him in the ways of the faith. He, in turn, shared this with the rest of the village. These figures would also sometimes tell him things that were going to happen, which is how the islanders knew that St. Innocent would be arriving and his name. St. Innocent was first curious to meet these two, and he asked Smirennikov if he could meet them as well, and while Smirennikov went to ask if this was permissable, St. Innocent thought the better of it, reasoning that there was no way that demons would spend thirty years instructing someone on matters of the Faith. Furthermore, he considered himself unworthy to come into the presence of these spirits, and that Smirennikov had demonstrated enough to him for him alone that he did not need to meet these spirits to believe.

Before leaving Akun, St. Innocent wrote all these things down, and had them attested to, in writing, by Smirennikov and by his translator, a man by the name of Ivan Pankov. Also, he instructed the Akun islanders to no longer call Smirennikov a shaman. He then sent a copy of his experiences and Smirennikov’s testimony to his bishop, Bishop Michael (Byrudov) of Irkutsk. A reply was eventually received; blessing St. Innocent to go and meet the spirits, should they still be appearing to Ivan Smirennikov on St. Innocent’s next visit to Akun. Unfortunately, by the time St. Innocent visited Akun again, the elder Smirennikov had reposed, and the Angels of Akun appeared to no one else.

Source:

http://arizonaorthodox.com/saints-north-america/ivan-smirennikov-aleut-elder/

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