On Monday, August 9, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Chapel on Spruce Island, which marks the original burial site of Saint Herman of Alaska.
It was at this very site that Saint Herman was glorified exactly 40 years earlier. One of eight missionaries who arrived in Kodiak from Russia in 1794, Saint Herman was widely known and long remembered for the sanctity of his life, his monastic witness, and his defense of the local population, who at that time had faced severe difficulties at the hands of traders in the region.
Concelebrating with Metropolitan Jonah were His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and His Grace, Bishop Maxim of Western America of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The hierarchs and clergy were accompanied by hundreds of pilgrims from across North America, who traveled to Spruce Island by boat. A group of pilgrims from Russia, led by Archbishop Justinian and Archimandrite Zacchaeus, OCA Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate and Dean of the OCA’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine, Moscow, also were present, thereby testifying to the universal reverence accorded Saint Herman as “the North Star of Christ’s Holy Church.”
Pilgrims enjoyed a “banquet on the beach” before returning by boat to Kodiak, where they engaged in fellowship at a festival in Sargent Park.
One day earlier, on Sunday, August 8, His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, Temporary Administrator of the Diocese of Alaska, joined Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop Justinian, and Bishop Maxim in concelebrating the Divine Liturgy in Kodiak’s Holy Resurrection Cathedral, in which the relics of Saint Herman repose.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Jonah, presented the Order of Saint Innocent to the Russian First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council, Alexander Porfirevich Torshin, in recognition of his outstanding educational efforts. Mr. Torshin was among the pilgrims from Russia who participated in the pilgrimage.
The traditional Saint Yakov Tea followed the Liturgy at the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center.
On Sunday evening, Metropolitan Jonah and the visiting hierarchs celebrated the All-Night Vigil in Holy Resurrection Cathedral, with Bishop Benjamin presiding at the Litiya and Archbishop Justinian presiding at the Matins Polyeleos.
The faithful from North America and Russia enjoyed and were very grateful for the kind hospitality displayed by the faithful of Holy Resurrection Cathedral and the community of Saint Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.
Galleries of pilgrimage photos may be viewed on the web site of Saint Catherine Church, Moscow, at www.st-catherine.ru/?&set_lang=eng and on the web site of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA at http://russianchurchusa.org/gallery.php?album=9985.
A wealth of resources on Saint Herman of Alaska, including a complete account of his life, liturgical services, icons, photographs from his glorification in 1970, etc. may be found on the OCA web site at www.oca.org/FS.NA-Saint.asp?SID=4&Saint=Herman.
An informative article on canonization in Orthodox Christian Tradtion, originally written at the time of Saint Herman’s glorification, may be found on the OCA web site at www.oca.org/FS.NA-Document.asp?SID=4&ID=82.