St. Herman of Alaska
Wonderworker of All America


The Life of Saint Herman of Alaska - Chronology

1755 St. Herman is born into a family of merchants in the town of Serpukov, southeast of Moscow; his Christian and his family name are unknown.
1771 At the age of 16, he enters the Monastery of St. Sergius, near St. Petersburg.
1776-1777 Attracted by the spiritual fame of Abbot Nazarios, St. Herman enters the ancient Valaamo Monastery on Lake Ladoga in Russian Finland.
1793 St. Herman volunteers to be part of the mission to Russian America being recruited by Abbot Nazarios at the direction of Gabriel, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg.
12/25/1793 The eight monks from the Valaamo, Koniev, and St. Alexander Nevsky Monasteries leave St. Petersburg bound for Kodiak, Alaska.
9/24/1794 The arrival in Kodiak of the first formal Orthodox mission, known as the "Kodiak Mission." Their journey is the longest missionary journey in the history of the Orthodox Church.
11/21/1794 Founding of the Holy Resurrection Church in Kodiak.
1795 Priest-monk Makarios is sent to the Aleutian Islands; priest-monk Juvenal is sent into the interior of the mainland. The same year, Juvenal is martyred on Lake Iliamna.
1796 Priest-monk Makarios returns to St. Petersburg with some Aleuts in order to complain of the brutality of the Russian traders and hunters towards the Aleut people.
1799 The head of the Kodiak Mission, Archimandrite Joasaf, returns to Irkutsk in Siberia and is consecrated Bishop of Kodiak. Deacon-monk Steven and two unnamed cantors accompany him; on the return trip they are joined by priest-monk Makarios. They all perish in shipwreck on the high sea. A third cantor is drowned at a later, undetermined date. The Kodiak Mission, five years after its arrival, includes one priest; one deacon; and two monks.
1800 The head of the Russian establishment, Alexander Baranov, in a letter addressed to the "monk steward Herman" forbids the missionaries to have any contacts with the native peoples, blaming the missionaries for native unrest and accusing them of trying to stir up a revolt of the natives against the Russians.
1801 The missionaries attempt to proclaim the oath of allegiance to the emperor against the wishes of Baranov. At the end of a violent scene, in which St. Herman attempts to intervene, Baranov orders them to their home and places them under virtual house arrest, forbidding the natives to see them; for more than a year, there are no public services in Kodiak. The missionaries send a collective complaint to the Holy Synod in St. Petersburg.
1804 Arrival of Father Gideon from St. Petersburg, charged to oversee the Kodiak Mission and to restore order.
1806 The deacon-monk Nectarios leaves America.
1807 Father Gideon leaves America.
1808-1818 At some undetermined date within this 10-year period, Father Herman leaves Kodiak and establishes himself on Spruce Island, just off the Kodiak coast.
1811 The Holy Synod in St. Petersburg closes the Kodiak Diocese. The Bishop of Irkutsk is given responsibility for Alaska, and missionaries henceforth depend directly on him.
1816 Arrival in Sitka of the first priest, Father Alexis Sokolov.
1816 Martyrdom of Peter the Aleut in California at the instigation of Roman Catholic missionaries.
1819 Simeon Yanovsky, son-in-law of Alexander Baranov and his successor as general manager of the Russian American Company, a freethinker, meets Father Herman and is converted; he becomes his spiritual son.
1819 Epidemic at Kodiak; St. Herman ministers to the sick and dying at great personal risk.
1820 Formal closure of the Kodiak Mission.
1820 A 20-year-old Aleut woman, Sophia Vlassov, becomes St. Herman's disciple and works at the school which he establishes.
1820 A priest sent out from Irkutsk deals brutally with St. Herman, tearing up his cabin in search of alleged treasure hoarded by the saint. A new period of persecution by the Russians is begun.
1823 Death of the monk Joasaf at Kodiak.
1824 Arrival in Unalaska of the young priest, John Veniaminov.
1824 Arrival in Kodiak of the priest, Frumenti Mordovsky; departure of Father Athanasios
1825 Arrival at Attu (Aleutian Islands) of the first Aleut priest, James Netsvetov, one of the greatest Orthodox missionaries in Alaska.
1831 The administrator of the colony, Ferdinand von Wrangell, meets St. Herman in Kodiak; the persecution ends.
1834 Father John Veniaminov is transferred to Sitka and begins his mission among the Tlingit peoples, whom he admires and respects.
12/13/1837 St. Herman resposes on Spruce Island, where he is buried by his faithful disciples.
1867 Bishop Peter of Sitka gathers information in the first formal inquiry into St. Herman's life.
1894 The first official biography of St. Herman is published by the Valaamo Monastery.
1903 he Great Russian Encyclopedia compares St. Herman to the desert fathers of the Church.
1969 The Great Council of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America announces its intent to canonize St. Herman.
8/9/1970 St Herman is canonized in ceremonies at the Church of the Holy Resurrection, Kodiak, Alaska.