The Feast of Saint Herman/ Dec. 13th

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nick cobb

Dec 12, 2007, 9:14:31 AM12/12/07
The Feast of Saint Herman

The elder Herman of Alaska, missionary monk of Spruce Island near
Kodiak, died on the thirteenth of December in 1837. He is the first
formally canonized saint of the Orthodox Church in America.’ The feast
day of his death now forms a central part of the liturgical celebration
of the Winter Pascha for Orthodox Christians living in North America.

O joyful North Star of the Church of Christ,
Guiding all men to the heavenly kingdom.
O Teacher and Apostle of the true faith
Intercessor and defender of the oppressed.
Adornment of the Orthodox Church in America,
Blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
Pray to our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls.2

For those familiar with the actions of he Lord in history, who have
heard of the passover of His people from Egypt, who have been struck by
the Word of God from the mouth of His prophets, who have believed in the
gospel of the Kingdom of His incarnate Word Jesus, the fact that the
elder Herman should be the first glorified saint: in His Church in
America comes as no surprise whatsoever. How like the Lord it is—who has
His only-begotten Son born on earth of a lowly woman in a cavern, nailed
to the Cross with thieves outside the walls of the Holy City, witnessed
in His resurrection by a

‘Saint Herman was officially canonized as a saint ~f the Church on
August 9, 1970. This day is also an annual feast of the hot; father.
2Troparion of the feast of Saint Herman.

former prostitute out of whom came seven devils, and preached by the
greatest apostle who had previously acted as an accomplice to the murder
of the first Christian martyr—how like this Lord it is to raise up first
among the holy ones of the Church in the new lands a person like Saint
The young monk Herman was a hermit in the monastery of Valaamo in
Russian Finland. He was chosen to be a member of the first missionary
team being sent to the Russian lands in Alaska. He was not ordained. He
was not formally educated. He had no particular hum in skills. His only
grace was that he was a holy man, a person of genuine faith and
continuous prayer.
Herman came to America with the first group of missionaries. 1-fe alone
survived, living for many years as a simple monk on Spruce Island. He
taught the people the gospel. He attended to their spiritual and
physical needs. He defended them against the cruelty of the Russian
traders. He pleaded their cause before the imperial throne. He was
beaten and persecuted by his own people for his condemnation of their
injustices and sins. He identified wholly with the afflicted and
oppressed. He died in obscurity, foretelling his glorification in future
years by the Church that would emerge from his own humble efforts and
those of the waves of immigrants who would inhabit the continent. And
lie revealed himself from heaven to those who, like him, remained
faithful to God, including the great missionary bishop, the widowed
priest and “apostle to America,” Saint Innocent Veniaminoff.

American Christianity desperately needs the witness of Saint Herman, for
the American way of life is so radically opposed in so many ways to the
life of this man and the Lord Jesus whom he served. Power, possessions,
profits, pleasures:
these are the things that Americans are known for. These are the goals
that we are schooled to pursue. These are the things in which we take
pride. And, sadly enough, these are also the

3John Veniaminoff was a married priest who went to Alaska as a
missionary in 1824. After his wife’s death, he was tonsured a monk with
the name of Innocent and was made a bishop. 1-ic died in 1879 as the
metropolitan of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was
officially canonized a saint on October 6, 1977, which day remains his
annual feast, together with March 31, the day of his death.

things that many of us are taught to value by our “religious leaders,”
both by their words and their examples. But this was is not the way of
the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is not the way of His saints.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves
treasure in heaven where neither moth nor rust consumes and where
thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there
will your heart be also. …No one can serve two masters; for either he
will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one
and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell
you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you
shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life
more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat?” or “What shall
we drink?’ or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek all these
things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek
first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be
yours as well. (Mt 6: 19-21,
24-25, 31-33)

By American standards, Saint Herman of Alaska, like the Lord Jesus
Himself, was a miserable failure. He made no name for himself. He was
not in the public eye. He wielded no power. He owned no property. He had
few possessions, if any at all. He had no worldly prestige. He played no
role in human affairs. He partook of no carnal pleasures. He made no
money. He died in obscurity among outcast people. Yet today, more than a
hundred years after his death, his icon is venerated in thousands of
churches and his name is honored by millions of people whom he is still
trying to teach to seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness which
has been brought to the world by the King who was born in a cavern
and killed on a cross. The example of this man is crucial to the
celebration of Christmas—especially in America.

The Orthodox Church in America
Calls all to join in her praise of your wondrous work,
O blessed Father Herman!
You have attained rest from your holy labors in the heavenly mansions.
We are filled with wonder by your exemplary life.
Intercede for us before Christ our God
That He may grant peace to our souls.
You gave your whole life to Sod,
Having love for Him above all,
Desiring only the converse of heaven,
You did not forsake the love of your brothers, 0 Saint,
Praying and singing together with them:
O sweetest Jesus, grant Your salvation to us sinners.4

O blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
North Star of Christ’s holy Church,
The light of your holy life and great deeds
Guides those who follow the Orthodox way.
Together we lift high the holy Cross
You planted firmly in America.
Let all behold and glorify Jesus Christ,
Singing His holy Resurrection.5

4Matins of the feast of Saint Herman.
5A second troparion of the feast of Said Herman.

[Taken from, “The Winter Pascha” by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko,
SVS Press, 1984. Available at: 800-204-book.]


Dec 12, 2007, 11:37:06 AM12/12/07
nick cobb wrote:
> The Feast of Saint Herman

thank's - I had no time to translate it last year, will try to take some time for this year

another interesting one :


Dec 13, 2007, 6:00:33 PM12/13/07

both are now available in French

saint Germain, Apôtre de l'Alaska

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