Schedule for annual Saint Herman Pilgrimage announced

Spruce Island

Hundreds of faithful will gather here August 7-9, 2013 for the annual pilgrimage honoring Saint Herman of Alaska, one of the first Orthodox Christian missionaries who began his ministry in North America in 1794.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will preside at the pilgrimage, together with His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin.

The pilgrimage will open on Wednesday, August 7, with the celebration of the Akathistos Hymn in honor of Saint Herman at Kodiak’s Holy Resurrection Cathedral, where the relics of Saint Herman are enshrined.

On Thursday, August 8, at 8:00 a.m, boats will depart from Saint Paul Harbor for Spruce Island, where Saint Herman lived and prayed from 1808 until his death in 1837. The hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., followed by a picnic on the beach at Monk’s Lagoon at noon. Pilgrims have an opportunity to walk the paths Saint Herman walked, drink from a healing spring, and venerate icons hung on the trunks of aged spruce trees. The Divine Liturgy will be held at the island’s Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Chapel, built in 1895 on the site where Saint Herman was buried. A soup dinner will be available at the cathedral from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m., when the Vigil will be celebrated.

On Friday, August 9, the Feast of Saint Herman, the hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the cathedral at 9:00 a.m., followed by a grand banquet at the Sun’aq Tribal Hall.

A monk of Valaam Monastery, Saint Herman came to Alaska in 1794 to serve the Alutiiq people and Russian fur traders. A tireless laborer as a simple unordained monk, Saint Herman established the Orthodox Church in Kodiak, defended the people against arguably outrageous treatment by Russian colonial officials, and cared for orphaned children on Spruce Island. He lived out the last 30 years of his life on the island as a hermit. During this time he pioneered gardening, cared for those in need, and worked many miracles of healing and protection. At his death, a column of light was seen throughout the region rising from the forest to the heavens.

Saint Herman of Alaska was glorified by the Church on July 27/August 9, 1970 and is universally recognized as a saint of the Orthodox Church and the protector of the Church in North America.

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