Translation of Church Slavonic into the Aleutian Language


This volume, part of a collection of journals with various kinds of writing by Russian Orthodox priests in Alaska, contains translations of Russian Orthodox services, including Easter services, from Church Slavonic into local Alaskan languages. The native Alaskan languages, including Aleut and Unangax, were written using the Cyrillic alphabet. The Russian Orthodox Church established its first mission in North America at Kodiak Island in southeastern Alaska in 1794. Missions were established in the Aleutian Islands as well as on the mainland. The most important mission site was Novoarkhangelsk (present-day Sitka). The papers kept by the missionaries include letters to their superiors, diaries, and dictionaries of local languages written in Cyrillic. Among the most important translators of Church Slavonic and Russian texts in Alaskan languages were Father Ioann Veniaminov (1797‒1879), who served as a Russian Orthodox Church missionary to Alaska for 30 years, and Father Iakov (also seen as Jacob or Yakov) Netsvietov (1804‒64), the son of a Russian father and Aleut mother who is credited with creating alphabets for several native languages. Both men were sanctified by the Russian Orthodox Church in the late 20th century.

Last updated: November 29, 2017