On Wednesday, November 9, Archimandrite Innocent (Potter; cleric of the Eastern American Diocese) reposed in the Lord. He was 67.
Fr. Innocent was born in Nova Scotia in 1949. Though of Russian heritage, he began his service in 1989 in the old calendarist "Genuine Greek Orthodox Church of America," where he was tonsured a reader and ordained subdeacon, deacon, and priest by Metropolitan Paisios (Loulourgas). In 1993, he was received into the Russian Church Abroad by Bishop Hilarion of Manhattan (now First Hierarch of ROCOR). In his first year, he taught Greek at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY. From 1996-2006, he led ROCOR’s Holy Transfiguration Mission in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Since 2008, Fr. Innocent nourished the faithful of the missionary community at St. John the Wonderworker Chapel in Wytopitlock, ME. Despite living in another country (Canada) and having to travel nearly six hours across the border, he would frequently visit the faraway chapel, celebrating the divine services, baptizing people, and serving treby.
One of the chapel’s founders, Seraphima Smalley, wrote of Fr. Innocent: "Words cannot convey the magnitude of love and care we received from Fr. Innocent. He was the most humble, guileless, gentle person we’ve ever known… He was a lover of souls, and he especially loved young people and children. Our children literally grew up under his love and pastoral care. He was such a part of our lives, more like a family member, and we are all feeling a bit like orphans without him."
Fr. Innocent reposed suddenly on November 9. Owing to the far distances and international border, it was difficult to arrange appropriate preparation and burial. Thanks be to God, a faithful brother of Fr. Innocent’s was found in Priest Alexander Treiger (assistant priest at Holy Prince Vladimir OCA Church in Halifax, NS). Thanks to Fr. Alexander’s labors, on Saturday, November 19, the appropriate funeral for a priest was served at St. Vladimir’s Church following Liturgy for the departed. Fr. Innocent’s body was laid to rest at Clementsvale Baptist Church Cemetery, not far from his family home.
Memory eternal to the newly reposed Archimandrite Innocent!