IRKUTSK, RUSSIA: September 7, 2021
Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department of the Russian Church Abroad, visits holy sites in Irkutsk
Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, visited the holy sites of Irkutsk, Russia, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, where he remained from September 1-5, 2021.
Fr Andrei is the Dean of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York.
His ancestors had served for over 200 years as clergymen in the region, about which Fr Andrei wrote the book The Zatoplyaevs—Our Ancestors Beyond Baikal, which describes Orthodox Christianity in the area, the holy sites, saints and natives of this land. Unique photographs are published in the book along with family archival material. The proceeds from the sale of the book went to youth ministry.
Fr Andrei’s ancestor, Fr Nikolai Zatoplyaev, served in Transfiguration Church in Irkutsk for many years. Fr Andrei joined His Eminence Metropolitan Maximilian of Irkutsk and Angarsk in the city’s churches, twice served akathists to St Innokenty of Irkutsk, and attended divine services at St Sergius of Radonezh Church, which houses the local diocesan youth programs.
Joioned by Archpriest Evgeny Prokhorov, head of the local youth ministry, Fr Andrei visited a social Rehabilitation Center for Children to give them funds raised in the Russian Church Abroad, part of the “Piggy Bank Program,” which collects donations from parish schoolchildren of the Church Abroad to help children in their historic homeland. Over the last five years, over $45,000 was delivered to various orphanages in Banchen, Tikhvin, Minsk, Pinsk and Irkutsk.
Fr Andrei also visited the Tal’tsy Ethnographic Museum in the city of Shelekhov on Lake Baikal.
At the end of his visit, Fr Andrei traveled to Nerchinsk Diocese, where his ancestors had served the Church for two centuries.
Press service of Irkutsk Diocese