His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, arrived in Anchorage on Tuesday evening, August 6, 2002, marking the beginning of his first official visit to the Diocese of Alaska.
His Grace, Bishop Nikolai of Sitka, Anchorage and Alaska, together with a large number of clergy and faithful from throughout the diocese, greeted Metropolitan Herman upon his arrival at the airport.
In addressing Bishop Nikolai and the diocesan faithful, Metropolitan Herman expressed his deep joy on visiting the oldest Orthodox diocese in North America. In reflecting on North American Orthodoxy’s Alaskan roots, he spoke enthusiastically of the missionary vision of Saint Innocent Veniaminov and especially his patron, Saint Herman of Alaska.
Established in 1840, the Diocese of Alaska traces its origin to the arrival of eight Orthodox missionaries, including Saint Herman, on Kodiak Island in 1794.
On Wednesday, August 7, Metropolitan Herman traveled to Kodiak, where he venerated the relics of Saint Herman in the Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection. He celebrated the Akathistos Hymn in honor of Saint Herman before the relics, marking the opening of the annual pilgrimage to Spruce Island, original site of Saint Herman’s grave. On Friday, the Feast of Saint Herman, Metropolitan Herman, Bishop Nikolai, and a large number of clergy and lay pilgrims will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Spruce Island’s Chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam.
Metropolitan Herman also made his first visit to Saint Herman Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kodiak, where he inspected the physical plant, met students and staff, and chaired a meeting of the seminary Board of Trustees.
Daily reports of Metropolitan Herman’s archpastoral visit to the Alaskan diocese, together with photos, will be posted on the OCA web site at http://www.oca.org and featured in the September-October issue of “The Orthodox Church” newspaper.