The Gospel of St. Matthew


Ioann Veniaminov (1797-1879) was a Russian Orthodox priest who in 1823 volunteered to go to Alaska as a missionary. Settling with his wife and family in Unalaska, he built a church and school and began his lifelong task of studying the native languages of the region. With the help of the Aleut chief Ivan Pan'kov, Veniaminov invented an alphabet for the Unangan (Aleut) language and then used it to compose grammars and translate the Gospel of St. Matthew. Traveling throughout the Aleutian Islands, Veniaminov collected ethnographic and scientific material that he used in published works on the Aleut and Tlingit languages. In 1840, following the death of his wife, Veniaminov was made bishop of the newly created diocese of Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands, and the Aleutians, which he administered from New Archangel (present-day Sitka). He was given the monastic name Innokentii (Innocent). This book, from the collections of the National Library of Russia, is Veniaminov’s translation of the Gospel of Matthew from Russian into the Aleut-Fox language.

Last updated: September 18, 2015