October 2010 - St. Netsetov

St. Netsetov16 October, Saint Yakouv (James) Netsetov,   Missionary to Alaska (1865)

Yakouv Netsetov was born on the island of Unalaska in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands in 1802, his father was a Russian trapper and fisherman and his mother was a Native Aleut Indian. Traveling to Russia as a teen, he attended the Russian Orthodox seminary in Irkutsk, Siberia.  He was ordained to the priesthood and returned to Alaska.  For the next thirty-six years he served as missionary and pastor to the Native Alaskan people, undergoing tremendous hardships in his effort to do so. He first traveled among the peoples of the Aleutians, using native kayaks to paddle between the islands.

From 1845 to 1863 he worked among the native people of the Yukon valley, traveling from village to village by dog-sled. He was the first Orthodox priest to serve the area since St. Juvenaly [1761-1796], a co-worker of St Herman [1756-1837]. He carried a tent with him that served as his traveling church.  Throughout the Yukon wilderness he served the Divine Liturgy, married couples, baptized children and prayed the funeral rites for the faithful from his traveling tent.  Conditions were sometimes so severe that services could not be held because the bread and wine had frozen. Toward the end of his life, worn out by his labors by the age of 63, he settled for a brief time in Sitka, Alaska and he reposed there in peace in 1865.

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