ABOUT THE ST. INNOCENT OF ALASKA MONASTIC COMMUNITY
The St. Innocent of Alaska Monastic Community was founded on November 15, 2003 and has been under the Moscow Patriarchal Parishes. For almost 15 years it had been associated with and attached to the St. Innocent of Irkutsk Church in Redford, in the Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan area, since its founding until May 6, 2018, during which time it had been doing many things to assist in the life and ministry of the Parish and its Pastor. [Note that although St. Innocent Monastery is a legal name with the State of Michgan, registered as a DBA (Doing Business As) of the St. Innocent Religious/Monastic Community, ecclesiastically, it is a "Monastic Community," because receiving the official Church status as a "monastery" is very involved. Although initially the Community was called a "Religious" Community, the name was changed to "Monastic" Community to better reflect Orthodox terminology and to better communicate the nature of the Community as monastic, (Orthodox never refer to monastics as "religious," which is purely Roman Catholic terminology). The Russian terminolgy doesn't translate well into English.]
When Sister Ioanna moved into the St. Xenia House (above, left) on November 15, 2003, Mitered Archpriest Roman Star, Dean of the Central States Deanery, immediately officially declared the establishment of the St. Innocent of Alaska Religious/Monastic Community. On November 14, 2008, in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the St. Innocent Monastic Community, a second nearby house — dedicated to St. Seraphim of Sarov — was purchased (above, right).
The Monastic Community was originally based at the St. Xenia House, which had been located ¾ of a long block from St. Innocent Church, from November 15, 2003 until December 23, 2012. Since Christmas 2012 until the present, the home of the St. Innocent Monastic Community has been transferred down the street to the St. Seraphim House, at 9452 Hazelton, located diagonally across the street from the St. Innocent Church. The close proximity of the Monastic Community to the church had facilitated its being able to assist readily in various aspects of the parish ministry, including being able to offer more Divine Services, education, and hospitality. Since the monastery's founding, hospitality has frequently been offered to people, including to those who are alone for church feast days and civil holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Pascha, especially for single people, converts and immigrants, and in general, providing a spiritual family and "second home" for those who wished to take advantage of this hospitality. In addition to hospitality, at both the St. Xenia House and the St. Seraphim House, there had been an active ministry of offering general adult education and catechumen classes.
As of May 6, 2018, Sister Ioanna and the Monastic Community "retired" from doing all the extensive and time-consuming work at St. Innocent Church, in order to have time to return to fullfilling the broader Orthodox educational ministry of Firebird Videos, Audios & Books. To start off this revitalized chapter in the Orthodox educational ministry of Sister Ioanna and the St. Innocent of Alaska Monastic Community, the first step was to create this present new St. Innocent Monastery website, launched in May of 2018, which highlights the Monastic Community's written educational ministry, by making available numerous Orthodox educational articles/essays. In May 2018 when the new website was first launched, we had 73 articles posted.
The second step has been adding numerous additional articles to the website. By the end of 2019 an additional 32 previously written articles were posted, bringing the total entries to 105. In late 2019 and early 2020 we focused on writing new essays and were able to complete 4 new essays and one revised brochure and post them on our website. In late 2020 and early 2021 we revised 2 previous studies and posted them in early 2021. Plans are in the works both to write new essays and to rewrite and revise previous studies and enter them into the computer and website. We also plan to be working on compiling and reformatting most of the articles on the website and publishing the collected works in two printed volumes. Also, it is planned to revise Sister Ioanna's doctoral dissertation for a more general reading public and to publish it, in order to make available to the general public this pivotal study about a universal symbol that has never been identified before.
The third step will be to revise, refine and develop the Firebird Videos website, adding the shopping cart and adding photos of each Firebird item. In order to accomplish this second step, new covers and labels for each DVD and CD must be made, a time-consuming and arduous task, (after the previous covers and labels were lost as a result of a ransomware invasion). After step three is completed, dedicated attention and time will be devoted to step four --- making new DVDs and continuing to do additional writing and publishing.
ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF THE ST. INNOCENT MONASTIC COMMUNITY
For 30 years, since 1988, (13 years prior to officially becoming a monastic), Sister Ioanna had been assisting Fr. Roman in the ministry of the St. Innocent of Irkutsk Parish, (including singing all the Divine Services, doing parish education, doing the weekly bulletin, creating and maintaining the parish website as webmaster, serving as Fr. Roman's 'executive assistant' and countless other things). Therefore, this ministry continued and was expanded as her monastic obediences (and thus the work of the Monastic Community) until May 6, 2018.
In addition, an important focus of the ministry of the St. Innocent Monastic Community from its inception, was supposed to have been the obedience of producing Orthodox educational materials, and distributing them through ST. INNOCENT/FIREBIRD Videos, Audios & Books. [This is a non-profit company that was originally started in February 1992 (as a subsidiary [D.B.A.] of Russian Treasures, Inc., established in 1988), and so has been producing and distributing Orthodox educational materials for 26 years (as of February of 2018). When the federal tax-exempt status (501(c)(3) was transferred from Russian Treasures to the St. Innocent Religious Community in 2007, St. Innocent/Firebird Videos was also transferred as a DBA (Doing Business As) with the State of Michigan, as a legal subsidiary under the St. Innocent Religious/Monastic Community.] Unfortunately, due to the time involved doing so much for St. Innocent Church and its priest, there was little time left to continue this educational aspect of the monastic work.
Part of the Monastic Community's previous work was to create and maintain the St. Innocent Church's website (https://www.stinnocentchurch.com) After many months of work in creating this website, it was finally launched in May 2014, and was constantly being enhanced and developed until May 2018. In January 2015, work was able to be started on reconstructing the previous ST. INNOCENT/FIREBIRD VIDEOS website, which has unfortunately not yet been completed, because with all the work for the church, there hasn't been time. It is especially vital to construct the shopping cart component --- a functioning shopping cart will be an important element of the fully revised Firebird Videos website when completed. Now, beginning in May 2018, the Firebird website is finally being further refined and developed.
And finally, the St. Innocent Monastic Community, of which the Firebird Videos, Audios & Books is a subsidiary and a vital educational ministry, is establishing its own separate website, a significant portion of which will be dedicated to the written educational ministry aspect of the Monastic Community's work, by making available on its website numerous articles about the Orthodox Faith and practice, by Sister Ioanna and other authors. These are available under our Articles section.