Herman of Alaska
Our venerable father Herman of Alaska (1756 - December 13, 1837) was an 18th century missionary to Alaska. He, in 1970, became the first saint to be glorified by the Orthodox Church in America, concurrent with parallel services in another location by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. St. Herman is remembered by the Church on August 9 and December 13.
Herman of Alaska was a Russian Orthodox monk from Valaam Monastery in Russia who traveled with eight other monks in 1793 to bring the Gospel to the native Aleuts and Eskimos in the Aleutian Islands. As part of the Russian colonization of the Americas, Russians had been exploring and trading there since at least 1740. Thus, he marks the first arrival of Orthodox Christian missionaries in North America. He preached the love of Christ to the Aleutians and drew many to the Church through his charitable life, caring for their orphans, building a school, and frequently defending them from the injustices and exploitation of the Russian traders. He was known to them as Apa which means "Grandfather." He lived most of his life as the sole resident of Spruce Island, a tiny wooded island near Kodiak Island.
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Troparion (Tone 7)
- Joyful North Star of the Church of Christ,
- Guiding all people to the Heavenly Kingdom;
- 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!
Troparion (Tone 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.
Kontakion (Tone 3)
- The eternal light of Christ our Savior
- guided you, blessed Father Herman,
- on your evangelical journey to America
- to proclaim the Gospel of peace.
- Now you stand before the throne of glory;
- intercede for your land and its people:
- Peace for the world and salvation for our souls!
- St. Herman of Alaska Life and Akathist
- The Akathist Hymn to St. Herman of Alaska (PDF)
- Life of Monk Herman of Valaam, American Missionary (Russian, 1894) (PDF)
- Life of Monk Herman of Valaam, American Missionary (English translation of above, 1997)