Sainted Sophronii, Bishop of Irkutsk and All Siberia

Commemorated on June 30

      Sainted Sophronii, Bishop of Irkutsk and All Siberia, expired to God on 30 March 1771, the second day of Holy Pascha. While they awaited a decision of the Holy Synod concerning the burial, his body remained for six months uncommitted to earth and during this time it was not subject to decay. Then already, in view of this circumstance, and also knowing about the strict ascetic life of Saint Sophronii, the flock began to venerate him as a saint of God. Frequently (in 1833, 1854, 1870, 1909) his relics were witnessed as undecayed and the source of grace-bearing wonderworkings. A fire occurring on 18 April 1917 at the Theophany Cathedral at Irkutsk left only the bones of the sainted-bishop, but it did not diminish, but rather on the contrary, it increased the reverent veneration of the saint by the faithful of the nation.
      A local Sobor (Council) of the Russian Orthodox Church in its deliberations of 10/23 April 1918 decreed to make a glorification of Sainted Sophronii, enumerating him among the rank of the holy saints of God. This solemnity of enumerating Sainted Sophronii to the list of the saints was done on 30 June. At a second session of this Sobor under the presiding of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon [now Sainted Tikhon] was sanctioned a Service to Sainted Sophronii with a tropar, compiled by Archbishop John who at that time guided the Irkutsk diocese, so that all believers would have the possibility of adding prayer to the holy saint into the voice of the Siberian churches, deeply venerating the memory of their illuminator and intercessor.
      And at the present time believers turn for help to Sainted Sophronii. Prayers witness to this, having been composed on the day of the 40th year celebration of the glorification of the sainted-bishop on 13 July 1958, by Metropolitan Nestor (Anisimov), then Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Barnaul'sk, and a solemn feast of the 200 year anniversary of the day of death of Sainted Sophronii took place at the Zolotonoshsk Krasnogorsk women's monastery and in the Irkutsk diocese ("Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate", 1971, No. 9), and there is reverent veneration of his memory by all believers of the Russian Orthodox Church.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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Sainted Sophronii,
Bishop of Irkutsk and All Siberia

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