St. Innocent of Irkutsk parish is a warm, vibrant, English-speaking, multi-ethnic and multi-racial, old-calendar parish under the Patriarchate of Moscow, comprised of many young families with children. The parish was founded in 1967 in Redford Township, on the western edge of Detroit, adjacent to Dearborn and Livonia. Presently, nearly all of the parishioners are converts to Holy Orthodoxy and most are under the age of 40.
Founded on 3 March 1967 by the Rev. Fr. Igor Burdikoff (1967-1969) and a group of sixteen families, with the blessings and support of His Eminence, Metropolitan John (Wendland), St. Innocent of Irkutsk was established as the first all-English-speaking parish in the Metropolitan Detroit area. A church with an attached rectory building owned by a Baptist congregation was purchased and transformed into an Orthodox Temple.
Future Rectors of the parish would include:
- Rev. Fr. Mark Odell (1970-1974)
- Rev. Fr. Vladimir Demschuk (1974-1977)
- The Very Rev. Archpriest Basil Karpelenia (1977-1983)
- The Very Rev. Archpriest Roman Star (1983-2018)
On 4 October 1981, an arson fire destroyed much of the St. Innocent Church. Under the leadership of the V. Rev. Archpriest Basil Karpelenia, the pastor at that time, and with characteristic determination and hard work by the dedicated parishioners, the church was rebuilt. A new iconostasis and altar table were installed, which were consecrated on 12 March 1983 by His Excellency, Bishop Clement.