A monk from 1800, Iakinf was appointed in 1807 as the superior of the Orthodox mission in Peking (Bejjing) and spent 14 years there. He translated the Orthodox liturgy and compiled a catechism in Chinese. More scholar than monk by nature, Iakinf immersed himself in Chinese studies. He devoted most of his time to compiling dictionaries, translating Chinese classics, and writing original works on Chinese history, geography, and religion. Upon his return to Russia, he lived in the Valaam monastery and in the St. Petersburg Alexander Nevsky Lavra (from 1826), where he wrote books on sinology that were translated into many languages.