Translation of the relics of St Sophronius the Bishop of Irkutsk

Saint Sophronius, Bishop of Irkutsk and All Siberia, reposed on March 30, 1771, the second day of Holy Pascha. While they awaited a decision of the Holy Synod concerning the burial, his body remained unburied for six months, and during this time it was not subject to decay. Then, in view of this circumstance, and also knowing about the strict ascetic life of St Sophronius, the flock began to venerate him as a saint of God. Frequently (in 1833, 1854, 1870, 1909) his relics were seen to be incorrupt, and a source of grace-filled miracles. A fire occurring on April 18, 1917 at the Theophany Cathedral at Irkutsk left only the bones of the holy bishop. This did not diminish, but on the contrary, it increased the reverent veneration of the saint by the faithful of the nation.

A local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in its deliberations of April 10/23, 1918 decided to glorify Bishop Sophronius, numbering him among the holy saints of God. This solemnity of adding St Sophronius to the list of the saints was done on June 30. At a second session of this Council under the presidency of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon (now St Tikhon) a Service to St Sophronius was approved, with a Troparion composed 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 St Sophronius. Prayers witness to this, having been composed on the day of the 40th year celebration of the glorification of the holy hierarch on July 13,1958, by Metropolitan Nestor (Anisimov), then Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Barnaulsk, and a solemn feast of the 200 year anniversary of the day of death of St Sophronius took place at the Zolotonoshsk Krasnogorsk women’s monastery and in the Irkutsk diocese (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, 1971, No. 9), and he is venerated by all believers of the Russian Orthodox Church.