Hieromartyr Hermogenes the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

The Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, was glorified on May 12, 1913.

The memory of Patriarch Hermogenes as a holy martyr was passed on from generation to generation for three centuries, and people increasingly regarded him as an intercessor and supplicant for the Russian land before the Throne of the Almighty.

During terrible years of national hardship, the nation turned to the memory of the heroic Patriarch. The Russian people came to his tomb with their personal tribulations, sicknesses and infirmities, reverently asking the help of St Hermogenes, and the All-Merciful Lord rewarded their faith.

Believers from all ends of Russia began to flock to Moscow for the glorification of the hieromartyr Hermogenes 300 years after his death. Pilgrims hastened to venerate the relics of the holy Patriarch, in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin, where panikhidas were served almost without interruption.

On the eve of the glorification there was a procession with an icon of St Hermogenes, and after it a grave cover, on which the saint was depicted full-length in mantiya and holding a staff. Beside the icon of the Patriarch they carried an icon of St Dionysius of Radonezh, his fellow-struggler in spiritual and patriotic deeds for the liberation of the Russian land from Polish-Lithuanian usurpers.

On the bell tower of Ivan the Great hung a tremendous banner, “Rejoice, Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Great Intercessor of the Russian land.” A hundred thousand candles blazed in the hands of believers. At the end of the procession, they began to chant the Paschal Canon and a Canon to St Hermogenes, at the shrine where the relics of the Patriarch rested.

The all-night Vigil took place under the open skies at all the Kremlin squares. On this night a number of healings occurred through the prayers of St Hermogenes. For example, a certain sick person came to the Dormition Cathedral on crutches, and was healed as he approached the shrine with the relics of the saint. Another sick person was healed, who had suffered from terrible crippling disease. They brought him to the reliquary of the hieromartyr Hermogenes on a stretcher, where he was completely cured. These and other similar healings, witnessed by a multitude of the faithful, were remarkable proofs of the holiness of the new Russian wonderworker.

On Sunday May 12, Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Dormition Cathedral. Presiding at the celebration of the solemn glorification of the new saint was His Beatitude Gregorios, Patriarch of Antioch. At the finish of Liturgy in all the churches of Moscow, Moliebens were served to St Hermogenes and a procession made to the Moscow Kremlin, in which more than twenty hierarchs took part. They accompanied the procession singing, “O Holy Hierarch Father Hermogenes, pray unto God for us.” From this day the liturgical veneration of St Hermogenes began. Thus, the wish of the faithful Russian people was fulfilled. Through their prayers the Russian Orthodox Church received a heavenly patron.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Church established the commemoration of the hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus for February 17, the day of his repose (his life and works are found under this day), and May 12, the day of his glorification.

Great is the national significance of St Hermogenes, a tireless struggler for the purity of Orthodoxy and the unity of the Russian land. His ecclesial and civil activity during several centuries serves as an outstanding example of his ardent faith and love for the Russian people.

The ecclesial activity of the archpastor is characterized by an attentive and strict regard for church services. Under him were published a GOSPEL, a MENAION for September (1607), October (1609), November (1610), and for the first twelve days of December. The “Great Primary Rule” was printed in 1610. St Hermogenes did not merely give his blessing for this book, but carefully oversaw the accuracy of the text. With the blessing of St Hermogenes the Service to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called (November 30) also was translated from Greek into the Russian language, and his Feast began to be celebrated in the Dormition Cathedral.

Under the supervision of the Archpastor, new presses were made for printing service books, and a new print shop was built. This was damaged during the 1611 conflagration, when Moscow was burned by the Poles. Concerned about the order of divine services, St Hermogenes compiled a “Letter to all the People, Especially Priests and Deacons, on the Improvement of Church Singing.” The “Letter” chastizes the clergy for performing Church services not according to the Typikon, for unnecessary talking, and lay people for their irreverent attitude toward the divine services.

The literary activity of the first hierarch of the Russian Church is widely known. He wrote “An Account of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the Service to this Icon (1594);” “A Letter to Patriarch Job, Containing an Account of the Kazan Martyrs” (1591), a collection of articles in which questions about divine services (1598) are examined; there are patriotic documents and appeals, directed to the Russian nation (1606-1613), and other works.

His contemporaries speak of Patriarch Hermogenes as a man of outstanding intellect and erudition, “a Master of great reason and thought,” “very remarkable,” “very accomplished in wisdom and refined in learning,” “ever concerning himself about divine literature, and all the books about the Old Law and the New Grace, and pursuing to the end various Church rules and principles of law.” St Hermogenes spent a lot of time in monastery libraries, especially in the library of the Moscow Chudov monastery, where he copied precious historical accounts from ancient manuscripts.

In the seventeenth century they called the Chronicle by His Holiness Patriarch Hermogenes the “Resurrection Chronicle.” In the collected works of the saint and his archpastoral documents there are many quotations from Holy Scripture, and examples taken from history, which testify to his profound knowledge of the Word of God and his familiarity with the Church literature of his time.

Patriarch Hermogenes incorporated his research in his preaching and teaching. The saint’s contemporaries regard the Archpastor as “a man of reverence,” “purity of life,” “a true shepherd of the flock of Christ,” and “a sincere upholder of the Christian faith”.

These qualities of St Hermogenes were quite especially apparent during the Time of Troubles, when the Russian land was overwhelmed by internal chaos, and worsened by Polish-Lithuanian intrigue. During this dark period, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church selflessly protected the Russian realm, by word and by deed defending the Orthodox Faith from Latinism, and also national unity from internal and external enemies. In saving his native land, St Hermogenes won the crown of a martyrdom, becoming a heavenly intercessor for Russia before the Throne of the Holy Trinity.