Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska (Platina, California)
|Holy Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska|
|Jurisdiction||Serbian, West US|
|Superior||Hieromonk Damascene (Christiansen)|
|Music used||Russian Chant|
|Feastdays celebrated||July 27 / August 9 and December 12 / 25|
|Official website||Official Website|
The St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, also known as the Holy Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska is a monastic-missionary Orthodox Christian brotherhood that is part of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The monastery is located in Platina, California.
The Brotherhood grew out of efforts by Gleb Podmoshensky and Eugene Rose who, with the blessing of John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of San Francisco, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, began publication of The Orthodox Word, and established a bookstore in the early 1960s. Gleb, who was a Russian immigrant and graduate from Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York, and Eugene, who was a California intellectual and graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. The two had grown together in the Orthodox Christian faith and its monasticism. Their vision bore fruit in the founding of the Brotherhood in 1963, with Abp. John's blessing. The vision expanded, in 1968, into a monastery in Platina in the wilderness of northern California. In October 1970, both Gleb and Eugene were tonsured monks with monastic names of Herman and Seraphim, respectively, and soon entered into the holy orders, first as deacons and then as priests. Under their leadership - Fr. Herman as inaugural abbot and Fr. Seraphim as spiritual father - the Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska grew and prospered.
On September 2, 1982, Fr. Seraphim died, leaving Fr. Herman in great grief with a loss of direction in life, as the brotherhood, monastery, and dream were their shared dream. With this dream shattered, Fr. Herman's distress led to a deterioration in his life. Fr. Herman was suspended by ROCOR, pending a canonical trial and under a cloud of accusations; as he continued serving, he was defrocked by the Synod for disobedience. The monastic community began to fall apart with most of the monks and novices leaving the community. Feeling lost and estranged, Fr. Herman began looking for new direction and an empathic hierarch.
His search led him to a community of Romanians and Greeks led by Metr. Pangratios (Vrionis) of the Archdiocese of Vasilioupolis in Queens, New York (Vasilioupolis being Queens in Greek). Pangratios, however, was not recognized canonically by any other Orthodox Church. Regardless of the canonical aspects, Fr. Herman felt he had found a context for his brotherhood and missionary movement.Damascene (Christensen) elected deputy abbot.
In 2009, Fr. Gerasim was canonically transferred to the Orthodox Church in America and began studies at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Subsequently, Fr. Hilarion (Waas) was elected abbot, a position he retained until May 2013 when Hmk Damascene (Christensen) succeeded him.
Fr. Herman's tenure, particularly the part after Fr. Seraphim's repose, has been under a cloud of scandal. It is noteworthy that many of the parishes associated with St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood were received under different jurisdictions (including Bulgarian Diocese and the OCA). It is assumed that this was intentional, to ensure that each parish would be able to be a part of the broader Church, rather than a subset of any one diocese.