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Netsvetov, Jacob (1804–26 July 1864), Native American Orthodox priest and missionary in Alaska, was born Iakov Igorovich Netsvetov, the son of Igor Netsvetov, a Russian fur trader, and Maria Alekseeva, an Unangan Aleut from the island of Atka in the Aleutian chain. Hence he was a creole, of Native American and Russian blood. His birthplace was either Atka or the island of Saint George in the Bering Sea, but he was raised on the latter island, where his father worked for the Russian-American Company, becoming a company manager there in 1818. Jacob was educated at home in his early years. In 1823 he entered the seminary in Irkutsk, Siberia. Two years later he married a Siberian creole woman, Anna Simeonovna; they had no children. In 1826 he graduated from the seminary with certificates in history and theology. On 4 March 1828, while still in Irkutsk, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Russian Orthodox church, making him the first Native American Orthodox priest....

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Veniaminov, Ivan (26 or 27 Aug. 1797–31 March 1879), bishop of the Russian Orthodox church in Alaska and metropolitan of Moscow, was born Ioann Popov in Anginskoe (or Anga), Siberia, the son of Eusebius Popov, a church warden (or sacristan), and Thekla (maiden name unknown). His family was very poor. At the age of nine he began studies in the theological seminary at nearby Irkutsk. When he was seventeen years old, the principal of the seminary changed his last name to Veniaminov in honor of the late Bishop Benjamin, who had assumed the Russian form of his name at his ordination as bishop and whom the gifted student had spent much time visiting. When he was nineteen, seminarian Veniaminov married a local priest’s daughter named Catherine; the couple had seven children. In 1821 he was ordained as a priest and assigned as second priest in a parish in Irkutsk. Although happy with his life in the parish there, in 1823 he responded to his bishop’s request for volunteers as missionaries to Alaska. He later wrote that after hearing about the Aleuts living there from an old adventurer, “I began to burn with desire to go to such a people!” He and his family left for Alaska in May 1823....