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Jacob Netsvetov

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Our righteous Father '''Jacob Netsvetov''', [[Enlightener]] of Alaska, was a native of the Aleutian Islands who became a [[priest]] of the Orthodox Church and continued the [[missionary ]] work of St. [[Innocent of Alaska|Innocent]] among his and other Alaskan people. His [[feast day]] is celebrated on the day of his repose, [[July 26]].
==Early life==
On [[October 1]], 1825, Jacob was [[tonsure]]d a sub-deacon. He married Anna Simeonovna, a Russian woman perhaps of a Creole background as was he, and then in 1826 he graduated from the seminary with certificates in history and theology. With graduation he was ordained a [[deacon]] on [[October 31]], 1826 and assigned to the Holy Trinity-St. Peter Church in Irkutsk. Two years later, [[Archbishop]] Michael ordained Jacob to the holy [[priest]]hood on [[March 4]], 1828. Archbishop Michael had earlier ordained [[Innocent of Alaska|John Veniaminov]] (St. Innocent) to the priesthood. With his elevation to the priesthood, Father Jacob began to yearn to return to his native Alaska to preach the Word of God.
Upon departing, Archbishop Michael gave Father Jacob two [[antimension|antimensia]], one for use in the new church that Father Jacob planned to built on Atka, and the other for use in Father Jacob's [[missionary ]] travels. After a [[molieben]], Father Jacob and his party set off for Alaska on [[May 1]], 1828. The travelers included Father Jacob, Anna his wife, and his father Yegor who had been tonsured reader for the new Atka Church. This journey, which was always hard, took over year to complete, which was completed on [[June 15]], 1829.
Father Jacob's new [[parish]] was a challenge. The Atka "parish" covered most of the islands and land surrounding the Bering Sea: Amchitka, Attu, Copper, Bering, and Kurile Islands. But, he was to meet the challenge as clothed in his [[vestments|priestly garments]], he actively pursued his sacred ministry. To his parishioners, his love for God and them was evident in everything he did as he made his appearances while enduring the harsh weather, illness, hunger, and exhaustion. For him life was Christ. Being bi-lingual and bi-cultural, Father Jacob was uniquely able to care for the souls of his community.
Since St. Nicholas Church was not yet available, Father Jacob built a large tent in which to hold his services, and after the church was completed he took the tent with him on his [[missionary ]] travels. By the end of 1829, six months after arriving at Atka Father Jacob had recorded 16 [[baptism]]s, 442 [[chrismation]]s, 53 [[marriage]]s, and eight funerals.
With the completion of the church on Atka, Father Jacob turned to education of the children, teaching them to read and write both Russian and Unangan Aleut. Initially the Russian-American Company helped support the school, but in 1841 the school was re-organized as a parish school. Many of his students would prove to be distinguished Aleut leaders. While living in the north areas was difficult, Father Jacob was active in the intellectual life as well; in addition to his own subsistence needs, he was active in collecting and preparing fish and marine animal specimens for the museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. He corresponded with St Innocent on linguistics and translation matters. He worked on an adequate Unangan-Aleut alphabet and translations of of the [[Holy Scriptures]] and other church publications. In addition to praises from St. Innocent he began to receive awards for his services. In time he was elevated to Archpriest and received the Order of St. Anna.
Yet the devil's presence came to stir up spurious and slanderous charges against him in 1863. To clear the air his Bishop Peter called him to Sitka where he was cleared of all the charges. As his health worsened he remained in Sitka serving at the Tlingit chapel until his death on [[July 26]], 1864. He was 60 years old.
During his last [[missionary ]] travels in the Kuskokwim/Yukon delta region he is remembered for baptizing 1,320 people and for distinguishing himself as the evangelizer of the Yup'k Eskimo and Athabascan peoples.

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