After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


SIR Synodal Exhortation

Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Greece 
Holy Synod in Resistance 
Synodal Exhortation 
to the Christian Flock of our Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction 
.pdf  *click*

This encyclical is specifically addressed to the SIR flock, our Sister Church.  While we, their SIster Church, can fully relate to their struggle in this war against evil, we should remember that we are on a different battle field.  There is not a perfect parallel of the Greek situation to the Russian situation.  

With the Greeks there is no question who is who, and who is "mother" - everyone maintains their position in the "family" despite their differences and despite their inability to be in communion with each other.

This is not so with the Russian situation where several groups claim to be the real Rocor.  Jurisdictional ecumenism insists that the way to solve that problem is for each of the Russian "trues"  to admit that they are pieces of the real Rocor.  This idea parallels more closely the WCC idea that the Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc. are all "pieces" of the true Church. 

Because of this, the scope of our possibilities for "co-operative efforts" with the Russian fragments is of necessity more guarded.  We must not pretend, nor allow others to imagine, that we are a mere "piece of Rocor" even for the sake of fighting renovationists' ecumenism.   It is like fighting fire with fire, as the saying goes.  -jh

Fr. Lawrence 40th day

January 7th

I've waited to post this until now because I wanted the children to see this first. -jh 

On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 7:37 AM, Leslie Donovan wrote:
Dear Vladyka Stefan and Joanna,

I wish to express my condolences on the repose of the Reverend Hieromonk Father Lawrence Williams, the hermit of Etna. He was a most treasured spiritual companion of mine for the past few years. Though we never met face to face, I corresponded with him very frequently. His ministry to me was an irreplaceable gift. I am grieving deeply for him, but not as one who has no hope. I know that our Redeemer lives.

Father Lawrence and I came together because of a mutual veneration of Blessed Seraphim and the Holy Royal Martyrs. Interestingly, I had published a work of children’s fiction (“Serafima’s Icons”), in which the main characters were a red-headed Orthodox priest and his daughter Serafima, BEFORE I ever knew Father Lawrence. Naturally, the book was a big hit with Father Lawrence.

Father Lawrence and I were a bit of an unexpected pair, one Orthodox and the other Catholic, one from the west coast of America and the other from Nova Scotia, one a monastic of mature years and the other a young adult just getting a start in the world. Yet, the Holy Spirit blows where He will. Father Lawrence and I accepted each other ‘as is’ and this was profoundly refreshing for me, and, I hope, for him as well. I’ll never forget Father Lawrence’s self-description from the early days of our correspondence: “I’m dirty, I’m not soft-spoken, and when I swing the censer, the charcoal flies.” 

Father Lawrence may have seen himself as being a bit rough around the edges, but he had a gentle heart for  both people and animals. Once, he was caring for a injured seagull, and in no time the bird had him trained: the seagull would tap with its beak on a metal plate and Father Lawrence would come and feed it. 

Father Lawrence enjoyed the little jokes I sometimes played on him. At one time, I bought a new pair of shoes and then wrote to him and asked him if he would like to have them, as they were his size (8 ½). Being the same size myself, I could wear them if they were not suitable for him. Now, being on the opposite coast of the continent, Father was flabbergasted that I knew his exact size and said, “Are you spoofing me?” He didn’t realize that I knew his size because he had sent me a magnificent icon of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos protected by a boot box labelled 8 ½. Of course, I later told him why I knew his size. (That particular icon is in sight as a write this. It is a print of one that travelled with St. John of San Francisco’s congregation as they made their journey from Asia to America.)

Vladyka, Father Lawrence loved you very much. I’ll never forget the time you called on him to come out to the east coast two years ago. Few people loathe travel as much as Father Lawrence did. But he did it out of love and obedience toward his Bishop. Moreover, he loved his four children profoundly. Oh, how he would plead God for them!

Just before his death, Father Lawrence was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), which had apparently gone untreated for several years and thus had already damaged his lung tissues. He was being treated for pneumonia at the end of November. His life was one of many crosses, and it is a consolation to me now in the shock of his death that further degeneration of his physical health is one cross he will not have to bear. 

My other consolation is this: his last words to me were that he was warm. I sent him an electric blanket as an early St. Nicholas’s Day gift because he was having trouble getting wood. I knew he urgently needed to be warm because of the pneumonia. So, for his last week he was warm and comfortable and knew that I cared about him. What a reminder not to defer any good that I, a sinner, might be able to do!

My prayer is for Father Lawrence to swing his heavenly censer in the Kingdom of God. He was a true servant of the Most High God in Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Memory eternal!

In Christ’s Love,
Leslie Donovan

P.S. If I could know Father Lawrence’s date and cause of death, I would be very grateful.

P.P.S. Thank you for helping me in my time of grief, Joanna. God bless!

Thank you, Leslie - for the warm remembrance of our departed brother in Christ, Father Lawrence. I still have not received word as to whether there is an exact date of repose, and the 'cause'...albeit the "cause" is not something we yearn to know. Our Lord has summonded him. That is sufficient. (The cause of death was never sought or known, for ex., of our beloved  new saints, St. John of Shanghai, or St. Philaret , Metropolitan of New York.)

I spoke to Father Lawrence frequently, almost on a weekly basis. He was a wonderful, kind-hearted person. Yes, he had a sense of humor. For some odd reason (which he himself could not explain) his name on my caller i.d. would come up as "Mark Slack". He got a kick out of something I told him once: [I am forced to lay in bed quite often due to severe back pains {4 spinal surgeries} - and I see the caller i.d. while laying down.] "The phone will ring and my son, who would happen to be in the kitchen (or where ever), will call out 'Is that call for me?'
And I will reply: "No. It's that Slacker again!"
Eternal rest from his chores and Joy of God's kingdom to our dear Father Lawrence.
God bless.
+Bishop Stefan

Who Are We?

against Jurisdictional Ecumenism

SCOBA [a.k.a North American Episcopal Assembly] is the outward organization of ecumenism on the left.  And ecumenism on the right is the same idea as SCOBA.  It is the idea of all the old calendar jurisdictions who share some surface characteristics banding together, [ironically, against ecumenism], and being in communion with each other, regardless of canonicity. 

Will this ever happen?  I doubt that we will ever see a "scoba" on the right.  But the idea itself can be damaging enough to us, if we accept it in theory.

The idea of the "True" jurisdictions uniting has been around for a long time.  There have been some successes here and there, but basically the idea has failed.  For the most part each of the "True" churches maintain a definite external separateness and isolation.   

This movement has been going on for years without us - without ROCOR being a part of it.  Why, all of a sudden, should ROCOR become a part of this movement?  Did the portion of ROCOR that did not fall into the MP union change because of the portion that did fall into the MP union?   

Our Sister Churches certainly do not think so, and we should not think so either.  We need to align our self-image with how our Sister Churches - our peers - see us.  They see us as canonical.  They see us having a sound, royal path, non-extremist ecclesiology.  They see us as the sole valid continuation of ROCOR.

ROCOR has always sought to unite with whomever we can.  But we ourselves have never been a "split-off."  Here is what was written in the Epistle of our Synod of Bishops dated November 7/20, 1987.  It is referring to a letter from the MP, where the MP was imploring us to "come out of schism and home to Mother."

... The third reason is that the epistle of the Patriarchate of Moscow distinctly maintains, even though it calls us a Church, that we are "outside the salvific fold of the Mother Church."

Is this so?  Our Russian Church Outside of Russia is established upon a firm and immovable canonical foundation:  the decree of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon dated 7/20 November 1920 #362.  This historic decree is one of the very last -- we shall say more, prophetic -- acts of the FREE Church of Russia which has not lost its meaning even to the present day, in view of the fact that the Patriarchate of Moscow is until now not free and is enslaved to the atheists.

The authors of the epistle call upon us to return to what we have never left.  We have never thought of ourselves as outside the Mother Church,  preserving a spiritual and prayerful unity with those who have been martyred and who have suffered for the Faith, with those who have departed into the catacombs, with all the true Orthodox Christians, with all the fullness of the Church of Russia, for which time and space do not exist:  "The Spirit bloweth whithersoever It wisheth."  We, living outside the boundaries of our homeland, have not repudiated the name Russian, have not sought out the omophoria of other bishops, for which for all these years we have had to endure persecution and disdain from false brethren and those who hate not only our Church, but our homeland as well.  And now they call upon us to return.  But to what?

We remain faithful to the testament of the Solovki prisoners, that "the power of the Church lies not in an intact external organization, but in the unity of faith and love committed by Her to Her children." ...

Report on the Nativity Fast Youth Retreat

A Miraculous Sign

Dear brothers and sisters! 9/22 December, at 10 am, in the 95th year of his life, reposed, RB Andrew Shtan'ko - the last of the children of the Catacomb Church in the Russian g.Burnoe (southern Kazakhstan).
On his life the Christian way of confessing the true faith in God, RB Andrew suffered harassment, persecution and imprisonment. For the mere fact that his house representatives of the Soviet atheist regime saw the icon of the Virgin, he was expelled from his job and left without means of subsistence. "Snoop" of the NKVD, imprisoned, tried to make him the issue catacombniks. This he could not recall without a shudder. In the 80 years Andrew Shtan'ko harbor at his home in Rapid from the threat of arrest ep.Lazarya (Zhurbenko), ordained for the care of the ROCOR catacomb communities in Russia. Subsequently, a rapid formation of the ROCOR parish in honor of Sv.Tsarstvennyh martyrs. Burnensky patriarch - as the recognition of worldly and spiritual experience, but also out of respect for the venerable summers Andrei called his people of the Church - becomes an active participant in parish life. A few months before his righteous death, he loses the ability to move, but retains the clarity of memory and spiritual thoughts. Shortly before departure to the Lord, after the unction of the sacraments and Sv.Prichastiya it undergoes what is described in Sv.Evangelii when the Lord said to the patient: "Get up and walk." Prior to that, two people with efforts to rouse him from bed of illness and gradually move. And after Sv.Tainstv him back the ability to do it yourself.
Eternal Memory r.B.Andreyu, faithful servant and follower of Christ our God!
Fr. Ignatius Krutkov

Nativity Epistle of Vladyka Andronik


And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,
and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten
from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14)

In the person of Adam, man sinned and broke God’s Commandment, fell and lost his original state.  And in His love, God sent His only begotten Son (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)) to restore the fallen state of mankind.  And thus gave us the chance to be God’s creation once again.

This year we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.  Though the eternal enemy of mankind, Satan, tried to destroy our Church Abroad, he was unsuccessful, because the Helmsman of this Ship is Christ Himself, who spoke these words of comfort, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18).  He tends to It (the Church) and guards It from foes who seek to put It to death.

It comes to pass that due to a lack of caution some members of the Church fall overboard from the Ship, but for the most part, the majority of Its members, kept by God’s Grace, remain unscathed.  Dear brothers and sisters, we must thank God that the Lord sent our Church Abroad such teachers as Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy, St. Philaret, Vitaliy, and Archbishop John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Archbishop Averky and other bishops who wisely piloted our Ship on the true course, refusing any compromises and not agreeing to sergianism, ecumenism and other elements of modernism.

All these modern Orthodox Churches are leading to a world religion, to a world church, and this is the false church or as it is called in the Apocalypse, the Harlot Church.  The Serbian Patriarch Irinej is an example of this.  This year, he went to a Jewish synagogue and lit a Hanukkah candle during a Hanukkah service.  In this way, Patriarch Irinej violated Canon 71 of the Holy Apostles which commands: "If a Christian brings oil into the pagan place of worship, or into the synagogue of the Jews, during their festival or lights a candle there, let him be excommunicated from the Church."

It is our duty to follow in the steps of our teachers, Metropolitans and Archbishops Anthony, Anastassy, St. Philaret, Vitaliy, and Archbishop John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Archbishop Averky.  May God help us in this endeavor!

I congratulate all of you, dear ones in the Lord, pastors, monastics and all brothers sisters with the Great feast day of the Nativity of Christ, and ask God’s Blessings on you all and may the Lord send down on you His Great and Abundant Mercies in the new year.

Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas, Ottawa and Canada

Sweet Honey

Music to my Ears

"Our ROCA is the sole valid continuation of the historic Rocor."

Those who love our ROCA for this reason, those who join our ROCA for this reason, are lovers of truth like our Fr. Georgy Titov - willing to stand up for truth and to suffer for the sake of truth [two posts back] who says:

 "We now belong to the ROCOR under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Agathangel, though we ourselves do not write letters in brackets - ROCOR (A). We see ourselves as the sole legitimate heirs of the Russian Orthodox Church, which existed prior to unification with the Moscow Patriarchate." 

This is our legacy and our birthright.  This is music to my ears.  As our Fr. Victor Dobroff said in his recent interview:  "ROCA is not dead, it was preserved after the union with the MP and is now headed by Metropolitan Agafangel."  [Daily Courier 12/4/10]

Eureka!    Rejoice!

All who left ROCA because of the impending MP union:  It is safe now to return!

Anyone who joins us, let them join us for this reason - that our ROCA is the "legitimate heir" of the ROC.  This is our legacy and our birthright.

This is the sweetest honey.  The sweetest honey that draws truth lovers to us. 

But beware.  There is a movement out there - a "jurisdictional ecumenism" movement -  which seeks to deny our birthright and/or to shame us for declaring our birthright.  Some are offended and even sickened when we say that we are the only historic ROCOR.   If you have the misfortune to come face to face with this movement, do not succumb to the damper they might try to put on your love for our ROCOR.  World ecumenism puts the same damper on Orthodoxy when Orthodoxy avers it is the only true Faith.   This offends many and sickens many.  But for the truth-lovers who become Orthodox, it is the very reason they convert.

And so it should be for those from the fragments who would return home to ROCA, and for those from the MP who join our ROCA,  and for the converts who would join us,  -- that they are drawn to us because of who we are:  the sole valid continuation of ROCOR.  Don't let the dampers try to shame us for this assertion by "accusing us of not wanting to be reconciled, of harboring bad feelings toward those in error" [as St. Philaret warns, previous post], or by whatever other unwarranted criticisms they concoct along those lines and hurl at us. 

There Is Only One Church Abroad

on Jurisdictions
a segment of
St. Philaret's Informal Talk
with Jordanville Seminarians
March 22, 1966

Of course you have heard of the so-called "jurisdictional disputes."  You have of course heard  -- jurisdictions, jurisdictions, jurisdictions!  This all, unfortunately, sometimes takes on such a tense and unpleasant character.  I once heard from someone an amusing anecdote which I liked very much:

A certain Russian [emigre] was drowning in the ocean. He had gone out for a swim, swam too far out and began to drown... His wife raced along the shore pleading for help. She asked a certain Frenchman.  The gallant and well-brought up Frenchman threw himself into the water to save the victim, but as soon as he reached deep water, he shouted, "I do not know how to swim!  Will it be better if two drown instead of one?"  The wife came up to an Englishman.  "Help," she pleaded, "he is drowning."  The Englishman brushed aside her plea, saying, "You can not save everyone!" and continued to bathe by the shore.  Then she came up to a certain Russian [emigre].  "Save that Russian there, your countryman.  He is drowning!"  The Russian then shouted, "Which jurisdiction?"

You see what can be the nature of such so-called jurisdictional disputes, what an ugly character they can bear.  Relations are completely strained, tainted, and confused.  Here one must firstly, in defending one's truth, always be as gentle as possible toward those travelling an incorrect path.  One must not become embittered.  Does animosity ever gain anything?

Generally speaking imagine to yourself that three men are travelling along a road, the correct road.  They go along and one makes a wrong step and goes off into a swamp; two of the men proceed correctly.  Then a second man veers off to the right and begins to proceed incorrectly.  Now the third man proceeds alone.  Voices ring out, "Why are you separated? You must reconcile."  How shall this be done?  The one who remained on the correct path on which all the three had at first been travelling, ought he to turn off somewhere or not?  Who should turn back?  The ones who went astray, correct?  So it is here. 

You yourselves know that our Church Abroad never split herself off from anyone, and has never swerved.  She travels the same road as when she was founded by His Beatitude Metropolitan Anthony.  Those who have deviated- let them return. 

Bishop Nektary always says very insistently:  "I don't recognize the subject of three jurisdictions.  There is only one jurisdiction-- the Church Abroad."  The Church in Russia, whatever she may be there-- the Moscow Soviet hierarchy and the Catacomb Church-- that is another matter.  At the present time we have no direct ties with them -- but here there is the one Russian Church Abroad and groups that have split off from her.  They must think of returning, rather than our Church thinking of going over to them, and having swerved off the correct path, also allow ourselves to be pulled into the swamp.  If people now argue so much about the subject of jurisdictions, it is, again, only for the reason that Truth is not dear enough to them.  For the sake of some kind of external peace and reconciliation such persons are prepared to accuse us of not wanting to be reconciled, of harboring bad feelings toward those in error.  People do not want to learn the Truth because they are essentially indifferent to it.  They want only external peace, like the peace about the communists shout so much; about peace for the whole world, in order to cast together in one heap principles which are totally irreconcilable and which cannot be reconciled.  It is like trying to lump hot coals together with firewood. Will they lie quietly together?  It is clear that a fire will flare up.  So it is here.  This artificial, external peace will never be achieved.  The Lord spoke about the very thing through the Prophet: There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked Is. 57: 21 - and there will NOT be any!

So, I repeat, talk of a reconciliation between the so-called "three jurisdictions" -- as people who do not understand the matter explain -- is being raised now because people do not hold Truth dear.  He who comes to know the Truth objectively and calmly will always grasp the matter at hand and find the correct path.  Take, for example, the wonderful, peaceful, objectively written work, the documentary book about this schism written by our Nikolai Dimitrievich Talberg.  Do many know of it?  In it, the history of what transpired, is elucidated calmly, intelligently, and objectively.  I have given it to people who did not know the history of the schism -- once they have read it they say:  "Now everything is clear."  But people are not interested and they do not want to read.

And so, it is my wish that you would be spared this fate, and that the Truth would always be dear to you.  And if the Truth will be dear to you, then you will always be able to defend it.

English source: Orthodox Life November 1999

Portal Credo Ru Interviews Barnaul Priest Georgy Titov

former MP priest now in our ROCA

This is a google translation, but the message comes through.  It can serve as an update on the persecutions they are under for their decision to join ROCA. 

"Portal-Credo.Ru": Please tell us how life evolved after the arrival, as you moved from the Moscow Patriarchate to the Orthodox Church Abroad. And in what jurisdiction you are now?

Priest Georgy Titov: We now belong to the ROCOR under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Agathangel, though we ourselves do not write letters in brackets - ROCOR (A). We see ourselves as the sole legitimate heirs of the Russian Orthodox Church, which existed prior to unification with the Moscow Patriarchate. 

It is natural that the Moscow Patriarchate in the face of the local diocese can not accept the fact that one of their parishes - and even more so with the church - had left it. Therefore, they are taking all steps to the temple we have to choose. I think our parishioners for them is not important - we are not so much.  And most importantly for them, so we did not go along with the temple. 

Once we Aug. 14, 2010 decided to withdraw from the Moscow patriarchate, the bishop issued a decree to dismiss me from the post of rector and the appointment of another priest in the same temple. With this decree, they went to the tax office, which at its base has made the state register of legal entities record the fact that the director already am not I, but the newly appointed bishop of persons - Father Sergei Belyaev, secretary of the diocese, rather a young priest. 

We appealed the case, but unfortunately, the trial court ruled that "the case is not subject to judicial review." Now we have filed a complaint with the regional court - 22 December 2010 will be the case. There develops an interesting situation. The first thing that will solve the court at the suit of the parish - whether the subject matter jurisdiction of the court of secular.

December 17 was a preliminary meeting in the Leninsky district court in the suit of the Ascension church of the city of Barnaul me as an individual with the requirement that the court ordered me to "remove all obstacles" that I chinyu for Ascension Parish. On January 14, 2011 is scheduled consideration of the merits. To decide whether a case is decided in court. 

I think that if I lose in the regional court, the win here. But there is, of course, the complexity - subject to review completely the same. 

Recently, it was the consideration of my case in a church court - on it I certainly did not go, otherwise it would have meant recognition of their authority. But in his letter to the court, I expressed the hope that even in my absence, nevertheless it will be considered at the very principles upon which any court is obliged to act: finding truth in the case, at the same time and assist in the salvation of man. I wrote: "Your decision will be for us to index your conscience and your loyalty to the faith." 

I think that at Christmas we still serve in his temple, and then, perhaps, on the Epiphany - as long as they involve police officers. Previously, I was more confident in her loss. Father Paul Adelgeim me said: "You, sir, go with bare hands against the tank!" I thought that I had no chance. And now I am so adamantly on the outcome of the case do not watch. 

- It all depends on the position of a judge - whether he is independent ... 

- I have a short time - about a year - was the arbitrator. And I recently met a former colleague, who resigned from the Arbitration Court heard from him: "You can not - not at all those times than when we worked. Now there is no independence" - for anything bought for and sold. 

I have information that the Diocese shall take all measures to put pressure on the judge. By virtue of his former profession, and the remaining bonds, I know that in the regional court was something like a meeting, attended by deputy head of the court. Preliminary their decision was not in my favor. I think that in the Leninsky district court will be the same. 

Even goes to this: invite me to the regional administration and asked: "Father, what about you without protection?" They gave me to understand what is normal for me relate, but the "authorities" - is bad. 

- And what does your membership has to the jurisdictional authorities? 

- It turns out that very bolshoe.I when criticized me - bodies and be present there. 

When I told the bishop in December 2008 that the coming out of the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, in just a couple of hours the church was surrounded by vehicles with strong guys. These were people from the Centre to combat extremism. By the way, now the chief and his deputy, who oversaw the religious organizations that came to me in December 2008, when I announced the release of the ROC, are in prison, the center disbanded - the number of employees is strongly reduced. But now a new chief is to me the claim. 

In September, in the Leninsky district where I live, held a meeting at the beginning of the school year. Their representative spoke and said that in the Science Town, where my temple, I created "sect". I can not find a pair of witnesses who have agreed to confirm the word about "sectarians" in court, otherwise we could apply for that representative to the court. 

- If the court decides not in your favor, your community will prescribe to leave the temple and with the help of bailiffs you izymut keys, you're going to do? 

- If the temple, we will select, from the Diocese of anything good does not shine, because we will move its operations from the Science campus, which is still margin to the center of the city. We took it in two sections of the property with a good structure. First, let us serve them, and then going to build a temple. 

Interviewed by Vladimir Oivin 
December 2010

Read More [scroll down to Dec. 22]

Archimandrite Gerasim

 of Spruce Island
"A monk like me, fleeing the glory of men, will come and live on Spruce Island"

Abbot Gerasim was the guardian of St. Herman's grave.  He came to Spruce Island August 26, 1935, after seeing Saint Herman in a vision.  During his time on Spruce Island he was never able to lay a firm foundation for a monastery, because of the schism of the Metropolia which took all his energy and left him isolated.  He reposed of the eve of Saint Herman's glorification, [August 26, 1970] his earthly work being finished.

As a hieromonk assigned to Alaska, in 1917 when the Revolution broke out in Russia, Fr. Gerasim saw in a dream:  "The whole sky was dark, fearful.  But in the midst of it there was light, and there was Christ crucified.  He was dying, His head was bent down and the muscles on His arms trembled from suffering.  And I heard a voice:  'Pray, Russia is crucified.'  And soon we in Alaska heard of the fierce persecution of Christian believers and the destruction of holy places,."

Outside of Russia, all the free bishops formed a Synod of the Russian Church Abroad, which appointed Metropolitan Platon of Odessa to America.  He, however, showed disobedience in America and first turned to Moscow, then proclaimed an uncanonical independent American Church with himself as its head.  To the horror of Fr. Gerasim, almost all clergy in America accepted this unlawful act.  When, finally, one vicar Bishop Apollinary, raised his voice in protest, he was immediately deposed by Metr. Platon and literally evicted from his living quarters.  All of Orthodox Alaska blindly followed the schism, except Fr. Gerasim, who commemorated the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia:  Metropolitan Anthony, Anastasy, and later Philaret.


In the papers of the late Dr. N.N. Alexander, Dean of the Holy Trinity Seminary at Jordanville, N.Y., his collection of material on Fr. Gerasim of Alaska was discovered.  It was forwarded to the St. Herman Brotherhood and received on the eve of Saint Herman's glorification, August 26, 1970.  The contents of one of the documents are strikingly timely: a cry resounding from a man who more than anyone else served the Saint, and who felt the whole sorrow of the betrayal of the unity of the Russian Church Abroad by the rival "jurisdictions" that sprang up after 1927.

GOING THROUGH periodicals and books in my private library, I found an old letter, sent to me from Russia in 1922 by a monk-friend.  Here is what he writes me:

"My dear friend, Father Gerasim!

"Our monastery in Tula has been closed and all of us chased out.  At first I lived in my home town and took over the parish in the town of N.  But when the whole diocese of Tula was occupied by the Living Church heretic-atheists, I had to flee from the parish.  Now I live in Moscow with Bishop Theodore.  Bishop Evdokim also called me to Nizhni-Novgorod, but I did not go to him, since he is also a Living Church heretic now. 

"Now in Russia the Church is ruled by heretic-clergy.

"I also have visited Patriarch Tikhon, who lives now in Donskoy Monastery.  I told him about what you have written me from America.  To this he replied to me:  'For the Church abroad I am calm:  it is governed synodally and by hierarchs well known to me.' "

Do you hear, all you schismatics from the Church of Christ, the Orthodox Church, what His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon said about the Higher Church Authority of the Church Outside Russia?
Do you hear what he said?
Archimandrite Gerasim [Schmaltz]
Afognak, Alaska

--- ∞ ---

"A monk like me, fleeing the glory of men, will come and live on Spruce Island"

Compiled from Orthodox Word articles in issues 32 and 33.   How is it possible to believe that St. Herman could be the "patron of the OCA's autocephaly"?  -jh 
English Divine Liturgy  
Saturday 25 December, St. Herman of Alaska
The confirms that Fr. Oleg will serve a matins and Divine Liturgy in English on Saturday 25 December at 9:00 am. Please encourage all who would appreciate and benefit from English services to attend. Contact Stephan Hobbs if you could contribute to the service with readings or chanting at 613.236.6150  stephanlh@yahoo.com

Regular Saturday Vigil and Divine Liturgy 25-26 December
Father Oleg will also be serving as per the December schedule All-night Vigil at 6:00pm this Saturday and Divine Liturgy, Sunday 25 December at 10:00 am.

Father Oleg Mironov 613.599.9367 fr.olegmironov@gmail.com and the Parish Council
Parish Community Events Bulletin
Blessed Saint Xenia of Petersburg
Russian Orthodox Cathedral
2 Colchester Square
OTTAWA Ontario K2K 2W9

The Canonization of St. Herman

"It is I who am ringing the Paschal bells"
St. Herman

When, amidst the gloomy storms of the cold islands of Alaska, the humble Priest-monk Gerasim, persecuted for standing in the truth of Holy Orthodoxy, left everything and fled for defense to the earthly remains of the "lowly Herman" on Spruce Island -- then, as a sign of God's favor toward his exploit of resoluteness, St. Herman appeared to him in sleep amidst a Paschal fragrance of sanctity to the ringing of joyous bells, and pronounced these words:  "It is I who am ringing the Paschal bells," and added:  "Have no fear!"

This was in the summer, in the month of August in the year 1935.

The mystery of these words of Pascha in the midst of summer has only now begun to be revealed.

The Canonization of St. Herman...

A Second Pascha in the Midst of Summer

The Services for the canonization of Saint Herman in San Francisco
July 27/August 9, 1970

The great Paschal Saint, Seraphim of Sarov, who greeted everyone in every season with the Paschal greeting, "Christ is Risen!" and sang Paschal hymns on the night of his repose in mid-winter, prophesied the glorious feast of his own canonization when he said:  "My Joy, what joy there will be when they will sing Pascha in the midst of summer."  And thousands who attended who attended his canonization on July 19/August 1, 1903, from Tsar Nicholas II on down, testified to the extraordinary Paschal  elevation of this mid-summer solemnity.  And St. Seraphim prophesied yet more:  that shortly after this joyous feast there would come a long time of troubles, when the whole of Russia would be deluged with blood and the Russian people would undergo the most terrible sufferings, when many Russians would be scattered throughout the face of the earth.  But in the end all this would serve for the great joy of Russia and for a great triumph of Orthodoxy known throughout the world.

The history of Russia's suffering and martyrdom, beginning in 1904-05 [so soon after St. Seraphim's canonization], and especially from 1917 to the present, is known, in its general features, to all.  And now, in the midst of this prophesied time of troubles and banishment, the Orthodox Russian faithful -- together with Orthodox of other nations whom God's Providence has drawn into union with them confessing true Orthodoxy -- has known for the second time such a "Pascha in the midst of summer" at the canonization of the contemporary of St. Seraphim, St. Herman of Alaska, in San Francisco on July 27/August 9 of this year, just 67 years and eight days after the canonization of St. Seraphim.  About this there had been no prophesy and none of the faithful had come prepared to experience such a miraculous event as this.  But already after the services of Saturday night, and certainly after the Sunday services, there was only one way in which those present could describe what they had felt:  "It was like having Pascha all over again!"


For a month before the canonization itself, memorial services were celebrated for the repose of the ever-memorable Elder Herman in all churches of San Francisco Archdiocese after every service -- whether in the full form of a panikhida of the short form of litia.

By the evening services of Friday, July 25/August 7, many guests had already arrived from afar for the canonization in San Francisco:  Bishop Laurus of Manhattan, Secretary of the Synod; Hegoumen Vladimir of Holy Trinity Monastery at Jordanville; Archimandrite Cyprian, who with a number of seminarians from Holy Trinity Seminary had already been in San Francisco for some time finishing the frescos in the Cathedral dome; Archimandrite Panteleimon and Schema-monk Ephriam of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston; from the newly-formed parish of St. Herman in San Diego, Father Michael Lightfoot and Monk Sergius with a number of parishioners; from Alaska, Fr. Elias Armistead, founder of the new St. Herman Home for Aleut and Eskimo children; and other guests from many states and from abroad.  early the next day Archbishop Vitaly of Montreal arrived, representing also his monastery and two sketes in Canada; and later in the day, from Seattle, Father Neketas Palassis of the missionary parish of St. Nectarios came with a number of his parishioners, as did Fr. Andrew Nakonetchny with members of the Russian parish in Seattle.  All the clergy of the San Francisco  Archdiocese attended the services of Saturday and Sunday, as did Abbess Ariadna and sisters from the local Convent of the Vladimir Mother of God.

Beginning at 6 p.m. in the New Cathedral Archbishop Anthony and Bishop Laurus celebrated a Parastas [requiem vigil], and on the next day a requiem Liturgy, at which Archbishop Vitaly also served.  At the end of the Liturgy Archbishop Anthony, greeting both his own flock and those who had come for the solemnities, delivered a moving sermon on those who were being commemorated on this day as being especially close to Father Herman.  Vladyka gave special attention to the pious parents of the Elder, whose names have not come down to us.  He spoke of the importance of the parental blessing and of its grace-filled influence.  He named those nearest to Father Herman, such as Abbot Nazarius, his spiritual father; Metropolitan Gabriel, who blessed the sending of the first American Orthodox Mission; the members of this Mission, his friends, the local inhabitants, the clergy in some way connected with him; and those who have venerated Father Herman, beginning with Abbot Damaskin of Valaam, who gave the original impulse that has led, one hundred years later, to the canonization, and concluding with a touching tribute to the radiant figure of Archimandrite Gerasim of Spruce Island, the humble guardian of the Saint's relics, who reposed less than a year before the canonization and now is united with his beloved St. Herman.

Here Vladyka Anthony informed the faithful also of a great joy that has come to this God-preserved city and this Cathedral:  a particle of the relics [a tooth] of St. Herman which had been given years before by Father Gerasim to Holy Trinity Monastery and had now been brought by Hegoumen Vladimir.  And through Bishop Andrei, as is representing at these solemnities St. Seraphim's Novo-Diveyevo Convent in New York State, there had been brought a piece of the wooden coffin in which the relics of St. Herman had lain for many years.  Both of these holy objects had been put in a small silver reliquary and placed on the Saint's Icon, which was to be unveiled at the All-night vigil on this day.

Concluding his sermon, Vladyka told how he had shortly before this had the great good fortune to fly to Alaska in order to venerate the relics of St. Herman and beg the Saint's blessing for the celebration of his canonization.  Vladyka had gone to Kodiak as a simple pilgrim, without informing the local Metropolia authorities of his intention, and had served at the Saint's relics a private panikhida, singing to himself, begging the Saint's prayers for himself and his flock.  With a feeling of great joy and peace he had left the Saint's shrine, bearing this joy to his flock, who now eagerly listened and attended to his appeal to prepare spiritually to greet the newly-revealed Saint.

At this the panikhida began, at which for the last time before the canonization were commemorated all the reposed who were close to or who had venerated Father Herman. The panikhida was sung solemnly yet festively, and these beloved names resounded, first from the deacons, then from the pastors and archpastors -- hundred of names, beginning with Abbott Nazarius and ending with the names of the recently deceased who had experienced the Saint's miraculous help. The morning's memorial services ended in a common anticipation of the evening's revelation of a new Saint of God.


Archbishop Tikhon, who spent thirty years in the See of San Francisco, a great ascetic of the spirit, was the first Chairman of the Committee for the Canonization of Father Herman.  Being himself a spiritual son of the as yet uncanonized disciple of Optina Monastery, the holy Gabriel of the Pskov - St. Eleazar Monastery, Vladyka Tikhon naturally took very much to heart the matter of St. Herman's canonization.  How many prayers he offered in the "Old Cathedral" of the Joy of All Who Sorrow, hallowed by years of prayer, so that the event that is now upon us might come to pass!  And although he did not live to see this event on earth, still, in the world above he was rejoicing and taking part in spirit.

That day the solemn Divine Liturgy was celebrated early, in order that at its conclusion all present could go to the depot to meet Metropolitan Philaret.  Bishop Nektary, Vicar of the San Francisco Archdiocese, was chief celebrant -- he who had been for many years the cell-attendant of Vladyka Tikhon.  He began his sermon by depicting a touching image given him by his spiritual father, the great Elder Nektary of Optina Monastery:  "When I was in Optina with Elder Nektary, the Elder, in giving me as a cell rule of prayer the "Optina Five-hundred" by prayer rope, said:  'Just think,what a great thing is prayer to the saints!  When you merely say, "All saints, pray to God for me," at that moment in the Kingdom of Heaven all, all, all the saints who are at God's Throne bow low simultaneously before the Lord and all together cry out:  Lord, have mercy.'"


At six in the evening, with the New Cathedral overflowing with the faithful, the final panikhida for Father Herman was served.  Metropolitan Philaret was met by four Archpastors and a great multitude of clergy, who were already shining in white vestments.  Archbishop Anthony greeted the Chief Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, making a comparison between his arrival in San Francisco and those triumphant arrivals of great hierarchs in the cities of Holy Russia for the glorification of God's saints.

At the panikhida none of those close to Father Herman was mentioned any longer, and only the blessed Herman himself was commemorated, who in a short time, in the words of Elder Nektary of Optina, would be acknowledged by all as having a place in that choir of saints before God's Throne who hear our earthly petitions and cry out to God, Lord, have mercy.

The panikhida proceeded solemnly in the midst of a sea of lighted candles held by the faithful.  The entire church was set out in white Paschal array; and even as the evening light was waning and the service for the reposed was proceeding, one already began to sense beforehand the great effusion of light that was about to burst out.


The All-night Vigil began after the panikhida at seven o'clock.  From the Altar there arose from a mighty choir of nearly a hundred voices of clergy and servers the opening chant of the vigil:  O come, let us bow down...:  Then, from the heights of the Cathedral came the thunderous singing of the prefatory psalm, "Bless the Lord, O my soul."   "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly" was sung antiphonally by the Cathedral choir and by the choir of seminarians on the cliros below.  On  "Lord, I have cried," after the choir's singing of the Sunday stichera in Tone 7, on the cliros was heard the first sticheron to St. Herman, in the joyous and exalted Tone 3:

Leap up, ye waters of Valaam,
be jubilant ye islands of Alaska,
sing, ye peoples of the New world
let heaven and earth rejoice;
for he who conversed with angels is glorified,
and to the ends of the universe the right faith is proclaimed
and we shall sing out in a great voice to Christ our God:
By the prayers of our Father Herman, O Lord, save our souls.

And indeed, in defiance of space and time, at that moment wondrous Valaam, now prostrate under the Soviet heel, and rejoicing Alaska, and Orthodox believers in America and throughout the world who confess the one true Faith, and the whole choir of Valaam ascetics -- became fused as it were into one body and implored God, for the sake of the prayers of the God-pleasing Herman, to send down His grace to aid them in their earthly pilgrimage.  And the Lord, by the prayers of meek Herman, did indeed send down then on earth His mysterious grace, which was clearly felt by all present.  The final three stichera to St. Herman, and then the "glory," were sung in English of the cliros with yet greater animation than before.

From the view-point of church singing -- not to mention iconography and the whole atmosphere of church services -- no better place, outside of the monasteries, could have been chosen for these solemnities; for the San Francisco Cathedral offers a model and example of feast day hymnody where the appointed stichera are executed with solemnity and completeness and in the full Orthodox tradition -- with two choirs singing antiphonally, the clergy led in their singing phrase by phrase [when appointed] by the canonarch, and the beautiful tradition of "special Melodies" [ancient variations on the Eight Tones] executed properly.  And thus, for a few hours at least, in the middle of a godless land and time, the faithful were exalted and transported into a realm of the most solemn Orthodox worship -- that same realm into which the emissaries of St. Vladimir were transported in Constantinopole and that inspired the Baptism of Russia; only here, by God's Providence, there was no need to travel to a foreign capital, for the numerous American converts who attended the services received  in the heart of their own land and to a large extent in their own language, the same message and the same tradition which Holy Russia, having received it from abroad, was now freely bestowing abroad.  This realm of the fullness of Divine worship, which is so seldom encountered today outside of a few monaseries, could exert a powerful and sound influence on the integration of Orthodox believers today into the Church's deepest life.


After the Old Testament readings and while the stichera on the Litia were being sung, the clergy came out of the Altar to begin the procession  around the outside of the church.  The two eldest Protopresbyters carried the Icon, veiled by a white covering.  At the first ektenia, at the end of the list of saints was added for the first time, "And the holy and God-bearing Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska."  At midway the procession entered the Sepulchre of Archbishop John Maximovitch, which is located directly under the altar of the Cathedral, where a blaze of lighted candles at the Hierarch's tomb greeted the words of the sticheron:  "When the departure of the Saint was near at hand, while by his bed candles burned and the Acts of the Apostles were read, St. Herman shone wondrously... He reposed in the fragrance of his ascetic deeds... Now living eternally, he prayeth ever to the Lord of glory for us."

Having gone around the Cathedral and placed the Icon, still covered, on an analogion in the center of the church, the clergy, at the conclusion of the stichera on the Aposticha, sang the Theotokion, led by the canonarch -- and again one felt the breath of that monastic antiquity that had nourished the monks of Valaam and St. Herman... After the blessing of the breads, grain, wine, and oil, the Cathedral choir sang, to Znamenie chant, the troparion to the Saint.  Then all lights were turned off, and in darkness he second half of the solemn vigil began with the reading of the Six psalms of Matins.


After the readings from the Psalter, still in half-darkness, Vladyka Anthony came out of the altar and, after slowly going over with his glance the throng of some 1500 who were in attendance, delivered the following flaming sermon:

It is said in the Church's song of praise concerning the Apostle John the Theologian that he, being full of love, was also full of theology. Similarly St. Herman, a man of great heart, full in his own measure of love for God and his neighbor, became  filled with grace in order to transmit it to men.  And grace is the power of God, the help of God, the caress of God.
In his life there is something in common with St. Seraphim of Sarov.  In all likelihood it was in the same decade in which Prokhor Moshnin, the future most glorious Seraphim, came to the Sarov Hermitage, that the youth, he future St. Herman, entered the Trinity-St. Sergius Hermitage near St. Petersburgh.  But we do not know his worldly name; neither do we know who his parents were, whom without name we conmmemorated at the panikhida this morning.
Like the chosen beloved one of the Mother of God Seraphim, the young Herman, too, received healing from Her.  Suffering from a malignant abscess under the beard, not wishing to have recourse to earthly treatment, he wrapped a wet towel around his neck, with which he had wiped the icon of the Mother of God, and fell asleep -- and awoke healed.
Soon Herman was already on the wonderous island of Valaam.  In all  likelihood he received at his tonsure the name of one of the founders of Valaam Monastery [Sts. Sergius and Herman].  At that time this monastery, after its devastation, was being reestablished by the renowned Abbot Nazarius.  This ascetic was an Elder contemporary of St. Seraphim.  In Sarov he began, to Sarov he returned, and there he reposed.  He is known also for his participation in the publication of the slavonic Philokalia, in which those seeking a deepened spiritual life began to be brought up.  Abbot Nazarius became the preceptor of Herman, who began already on Valaam his ascetic labor of anchoretism.  It was also Abbot Nazarius who sent Herman on holy obedience as a member of the special mission for preaching the Gospel to the pagans in distant America.
St. John of Kronstadt, who at first wished to preach to the pagans, by inspiration from above remained for his great service in Russia; while Monk Herman, who had sought solitude on Valaam, out of obedience, complying with his Abbot's instruction, for the Lord's sake went off to a distant land to the pagans.
The Russian spiritual Mission at Kodiak was composed of monks [six from Valaam Monastery, two from the Monastery of Konevits].  The head of the Mission, Archimandrite Ioasaph, was called back to be consecrated Bishop, but on his return trip, already as a hierarch, he drowned together with all who were with him on the ship.  Hieromonk Juvenal, a zealous preacher, was killed by pagans.  Some died, others returned home.  The Elder Herman, remaining in a foreign land, outlived them all and left behind him a profound and brilliant trace.
The missionaries were to enlighten the native Aleuts; but our fellow-countrymen, who had come earlier from Russia, themselves were in need of Christian enlightenment.  That was the stern epoch of serfdom in Russia and slavery in America, and the attitude of the administration of the colonies and of our pioneers toward the natives was also quite harsh; but the Monk Herman, full of love for neighbor, wished to be a nurse for these poor, in the majority kind-hearted, hungry, and patient Aleuts and other local tribes.  Of this his own letters speak.  And in truth he was, in his own words, a nurse, and more -- a father of the local inhabitants, as likewise of the Russians, who were far from their homeland in difficult conditions of life.
A strict ascetic, poorly dressed, having a board instead of blankets for covering, Herman out of humility determinedly refused the priestly rank.  From the island of Kodiak he went to settle on Spruce island, his "New Valaam."  And there he died, but, even while living on Spruce island, he did not leave Kodiak.  At the time of a frightful epidemic of plague he fearlessly gave himself over to serving the sick, who were suffering terribly.  The Elder loved children and founded a school and orphanage; he had no pedagogical preparation, but there was room for much in his heart.  Children and adults responded to love with love.  But he who looked after people with such concern desired solitude, as a true converser with angels.
As a lover of the spiritual world, the Saint foresaw that people at first would forget him, but, by God's grace would then remember him.  And  people did remember and began to write down concerning the ascetic labor of the Elder Herman, and of how God had granted him to halt a flood, to stop a fire, to predict the future, to heal the sick.  And there were healings both in the time of the Elder's earthly life and after his repose.
As in every feature of St. Seraphim, who greeted everyone with the Paschal greeting, so in the features and especially in the repose of St. Herman there was manifested something Paschal.
You all know how in the night of the Resurrection before the Matins the book of the Acts of the Apostles is read, and how then everyone lights candles, and the procession goes forth... Elder Herman, sensing the approach of death, commanded candles to be lit and the Acts to be read, but having been mysteriously informed, he bade the candles be extinguished.  In a week again at Herman's command candles were lit, his disciples read the book of Acts, and the Elder reposed in the fragrance of sanctity.
And now we have come to the moment long postponed, but now already upon us, of the Saint's glorification.  By this there opens for us a new window into the Kingdom of Heaven, through which we breathe in the air of eternity.
I ask you all to light candles to greet the Church's great triumph. Let us pray to St. Herman, who is being glorified by God, and he will pray for us, for the Russian people, and for America, which became the place of his ascetic labor and repose.
May this night of glorification become bright and grace-giving.  Amen

In an instant the throng of faithful appeared with lighted candles in their hands.  As once a handful of Aleut orphans with lighted candles beheld the mystery of St. Herman's departure to heaven, in the midst of a heavenly fragrance and enveloped by the light of Mt. Tabor, so now like new orphans the faithful children of the Russian Church Abroad were counted worthy to behold the mystery of the Saint's glorification.  The Royal Doors were opened, the Cathedral became radiant with light.  The "Metropolitan," Archimandrite Cyprian describes this moment, "and his hierarch concelebrants emerged from the Altar to the singing by the augmented choir of "Praise ye the name of the Lord," followed by Protopresbyters, Archimandrites, Archriests, Hegoumens, Priests, Deacons, Subdeacons, and a multitude of servers of all ages.  Surrounding them were the faithful with lighted candles up to the very ambo.  In the center, on an analogion adorned with flowers amidst a multitude of burning candles, veiled by a white covering and bound with a ribbon, was the image of St. Herman with a particle of his relics and coffin, toward which the attention of all was directed.  After the final Alleluia of the Polyeleos the Metropolitan descended from the Kathedra and, making a wide sign of the Cross on himself, untied the ribbon and took off the covering.  At this moment there resounded, there thundered forth from the clergy, "We glorify thee, our Father Herman..."  A repeated Magnification resounded from above, as if from the very dome, wherein is depicted the Lord God of Sabaoth upon the Cherubim and Seraphim.  And then, from the cliros a loud "We glorify" in English.  And while this chant resounded back and forth, four deacons censed the Saint's Icon, filling the church with fragrant incense which had been brought by Archimandrite Panteleimon, who at this time was anointing the Icon with aromatic oil, in the tradition of the Holy Mount of Athos.

And in the midst of this blinding light, the candles, the clouds of incense -- in a frame, precisely in a window, against a background of blazing gold, was revealed the face of a simple monk, yet a dweller of heaven and converser with angels!  And in truth, from this time forth there has been opened for America and the whole contemporary world a window into the Kingdom of Heaven, through which, through the "frame" of authentic Orthodoxy, if one only strive to the utmost, one may breathe in the atmosphere of eternity, which is a foretaste of eternal Pascha.

"Here is a mystery,"  exclaimed Fr. Elias Armistead, "which it is not given to all to understand. For what took place in San Francisco was more invisible than visible.  it was a meeting with, a communing with Father Herman...  When our holy father Herman was manifested in his Icon, what a sense of apparition there was to all present!  I thought of the true spiritual meaning – that he was calling us to follow him as fellow ascetics, fellow strugglers, as confessors and defenders of the Faith.  And not only the Faith, but also of Father Herman's Aleuts... "

During the remainder of the Vigil service, the singing was taken up in turn by the choir of clergy, the Cathedral choir, and the choir of young voices on the cliros.  All the faithful venerated the Icon and relics of the Saint and received anointment with oil by Metropolitan Philaret, and each was given icon reproductions of the Saint.  The service continued until midnight.  "The solemnities," writes a pilgrim from Los Angeles, O. Makovskaya, "has an unparalleled spiritual power, and it seemed as though heaven had some down to earth and at this moment all the angels rejoiced in heaven and men were glad."  After the Vigil the lights shone long in the Cathedral.   At three in the morning Archimandrite Panteleimon finished hearing confessions.

"I heard many say, 'Just like Pascha!'" exclaimed Archimandrite Cyprian; "and indeed, externally everything reminded one of Pascha: the white vestments of the clergy, the white coverings on the analogia, the multitude of candles, and the radiant faces of the faithful.  But the Paschal joy belongs fully only to Christ's Resurrection; here, however, there was a bright reflection of this – unexpected and exceptional – which mad the seven-hour service pass unnoticed even for children and the elderly and infirm."

"...And in an instant the Church Abroad seemed to me not at all a little solitary group, but something immense and triumphant..."

One pilgrim to the festivities wrote thus of her own experience during this night: "St. Herman helps me all the time in my requests.  As a matter of fact, I even came to the canonization quite unexpectedly and with his help.  I was working even on Saturdays as a summer substitute, and there was no possibility at all for me to come to San Francisco.  But when I began to read of the approaching Canonization, I would look at the icon of St. Herman and ask, how can such a solemnity pass and I not be able to attend?  I put off reading about it so as not to become upset.  But just before the Canonization a fellow worker offended me at work and gave me an occasion to leave for several days.  I got packed an hour and a half before the flight of the airplane that brought me just in time for the Canonization Vigil service.  I was rushing and had no ticket yet, but everything arranged itself; and it even happened that when I had entered the Cathedral two ladies offered me lodging for the night seeing that I was a visitor.  And so St. Herman and Vladyka John fulfilled my great desire and arranged everything.  And when I returned to New York I was offered a better job...  The solemnities of the Canonization left an immense impression on me.  There was something extraordinary about the Vigil service, to which I barely managed to fly in time.  The marvelous Cathedral and Vladyka's Sepulchre there – and the whole time it seemed that Vladyka John was celebrating St. Herman's Canonization with us, and that the time when the Saint had lived and labored alone in Alaska and the time now had somehow fused, and one felt that he was with us and was praying for us now and especially during the days of his holy Canonization.  And Vladyka John was with us, and our righteous St. John of Kronstadt, and the Martyr-Tsar and all the Russian saints.  And in an instant the Church Abroad seemed to me not at all a little solitary group[, but something immense and triumphant." [L. Miroshnikova, New York City.]


"Yet brighter, more radiant and more triumphant were the services on Sunday," notes Archimandrite Cyprian.  "For our zeal toward the memory of His Saint, the Lord richly rewarded us sinful people who filled the church on the day of his Canonization.  The Grace of the Holy Spirit warmed our cold hearts..."

The early Liturgy was celebrated in the left Altar of the Cathedral, dedicated to the righteous St. John of Kronstadt, above which the wall is adorned with a fresco depicting St. Herman as one of a row of five monastic Fathers of the Russian Church, representing the three historical periods of the flowering of Northern monasticism: from the first period, St. Sergius and Herman of Valaam and St. Anthony the Roman; from the second period, St. Sergius of Radonezh; and from the third period, which was inspired by the great Elder Paissy Velichkovsky, St. Herman of Alaska, who came to America in the year of Elder Paissy's repose, and himself forty years later reposed on the same day as Elder Paissy – November 15.

The Divine Liturgy, which began at 7 a.m., was celebrated by Archpriest Nicholas Dombrovsky, and the Brotherhood of St. Herman sang on the cliros.  There were many communicants.  After the Liturgy Fr. Nicholas gave a sermon which clearly and simply expressed the feelings of all:

I greet you all, dear brethren and sisters, on the bright, all-joyous, and exceptional triumph of the glorification – canonization – of our God-bearing Saint Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska.

Once the contemporary of St. Herman, our dearly-beloved St. Seraphim of Sarov, the joy of the Russian land and of all Orthodox peoples, who reposed some four years before the Wonderworker who is now being glorified, foretelling his own glorification said that a time would come when in Russia Pascha would be sung in the midst of summer.  And indeed, the prophecy of St. Seraphim came to pass.  All of the God-bearing Russia, the whole Russian people in 1903, on July 19th, at exceptional solemnities with a large gathering of people at Sarov, glorified its "Joy" – the ascetic of Sarov who in everyone he met saw also "my Joy".  The triumph of the glorification of St. Seraphim was indeed a Pascha in the midst of summer in the Russian land.

And now, 67 years later, here in this noble and blessed land of America, in our city of San Francisco, we exiles from the land of out Fathers have also been granted God's great mercy to celebrate another Pascha in the midst of summer – the triumph of the glorification of the first Orthodox Saint of the Western Hemisphere, the Alaskan missionary of many years, the humble ascetic and Wonderworker, the Elder Herman.

Was it not, in fact Paschal feelings that filled our hearts yesterday evening, when during the polyeleos at the All-night Vigil, just as at Pascha, hierarchs, priests and the entire church with lighted candles in their hands sang the first Magnification of St. Herman?  Just as at Pascha with bated joyous breath we ever all await the first sounds that break the night's silence with the incomparable words: "Christ is risen from the dead," so yesterday also, after the magnificent "Praise ye the name of the Lord," there came a joyous silence, filled with the sweetest feelings, which also was broken by the sudden universal, loud and triumphant "We glorify thee, our holy Father Herman" at the moment when our First Hierarch took off the covering from the Icon of the Saint.  This touching moment was the beginning of our turning in prayer to the newly-glorified Saint of God.  The whole church with one mouth and one heart in the hearing of all confessed its profound faith in the mediation and prayer of the new intercessor before God;s Throne.  From this time forth a new candle of prayer burns before our Heavenly Father on behalf of the earthly Church.

Of course, this does not mean that St. Herman became a saint only today.  No! The Saint's whole life was God-pleasing.  Of this we have the testimony of his Life, published by Valaam Monastery in the last century.  There the miracles of the Saint are described, which he performed both while he was alive and after his repose.  And this is the best testimony that before the face of God he was already a saint during his own lifetime.  He was always revered as such by those who knew him and heard of him.

Then why is it, if this is so, that his glorification was not in the last century, or in the good and peaceful years of the present century, but only in or time, in this year of 1970?  There can be only one answer to this: such is the will of God, such is the Providence of God, Who orders all things on the earth.  Just as the seed thrown by a husbandman into the earth sprouts concealed in it and ripens in diverse times, bringing forth fruit a hundredfold, so also the faith and sanctity of St. Herman, sowed by the Lord Himself, ripened by God's Providence in the hearts of the faithful precisely here, in this New World, where once God's Saint labored in asceticism, lived and was a missionary.

From this time forth before God and before the entire Christian world we bear witness in the hearing of all that we believe in the prayers of St. Herman for us, who have devoutly chosen him and with contrite heart beg the Lord to accept him as our new intercessor before the Throne of God.

Let us all then give thanks to the Lord God that He has enabled us to be participants of this bright solemnity in our Cathedral Church.  Such solemnities do not often occur.  In the 200-year Synodal period of our Russian Orthodox Church, up to the reign of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, there were only five canonizations in all.  Only in the reign of the last Tsar, before the terrible trials and shocks which have come upon the Russian people and the Orthodox Russian Church, were there more.

For the half-century of the existence of the free Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, this is only the second canonization, and we shall hardly live to see the next one.  The first to be canonized, six years ago, was the Pastor of all Russia, Father John of Kronstadt; and now the missionary to the Aleuts, the Elder Monk Herman.

And so, with all our soul giving thanks to God for having granted us the joy of experiencing twice in a short time these Paschal feelings, this time once again in the midst of summer, at the glorification of His God-pleasing saints, let us cry out from the depths of our sol to the newly-glorified Wonderworker of Alaska:  Our Holy Father Herman, pray to God for us.  Amen.


Archimandrite Cyprian continues:  "The sanctity, depth, and spiritual essence of this church event were revealed in all their power for everyone on the very day of Canonization, beginning at the moment when in the morning the blessing of water was performed in the narthex by Mitred Archpriest Elias Wen, surrounded by a group of the faithful.  A certain unexpected, completely new feeling entered into the heart and did not leave for a single minute during the course of the whole Liturgy and then the whole day."  Into the water before the blessing there was poured some water from the spring of St. Herman which had been brought from Spruce Island.  Fr. Elias abundantly and enthusiastically sprinkled the whole church and its three Altars with the blessed water.

At 9:30 the Metropolitan arrived, being met by five deacons, some 32 priests, and the four hierarchs.  At the Small Entrance the Icon of the Saint was brought up to the Royal Doors of the Iconostasis, where it was received by two Archimandrites and borne around the Altar Table.  On the Altar Table during the Liturgy there was another icon of the Saint , from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston  [see reproduction on page 183], and in the Sepulchre of Archbishop John there was yet another icon, the Brotherhood icon of St. Herman, which had been uncovered during the Magnification the night before.  The Divine Liturgy was celebrated with great solemnity, during which an unending procession of the faithful came to venerate the Icon of the newly-revealed Saint.  Holy Communion was given to the many communicants out of two Chalices.  At the conclusion of the Liturgy Metropolitan Philaret delivered the following sermon:

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Wondrous is God in His saints, the God of Israel!
Every Orthodox Christian knows that our Holy Bible ends with the sacred book which is called in Greek Apocalypsis, and is the Revelation of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian.

In this book of Revelation the great prophet and seer of mysteries, the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, in majestic visions, symbols, and images, as it were brings before us the whole history of the Church of Christ and the history of the human race right up to its last moment, up to Christ's Last Judgment.  And wherein there is described that which occurs in the heavenly world above at the Lord's Throne, the Apocalypse constantly speaks of how the saints pray before the Throne of God for the human race, pray for the whole world.

Let us direct our attention to that place in the holy book where it is related how there stood before the Lord's Throne an angel of God who had a golden censor, and he was given an abundance of fragrant incense, so that together with the prayers of the saints he might offer this incense on the golden altar which was before the Lord's Throne.

And the fragrant smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.

Thus do the saints offer up prayers for us sinners before the Throne of God.  Therefore never be downcast in spirit if it seems to you that you are alone; remember that on earth people may abandon you, but we are always under this covering of prayer of our elder brethren, Gods saints, who always pray for us their younger brethren and never cease to pray.

And in hope of this covering of their prayer, the Church constantly calls on us to pray to them – sometimes to a single saint, sometimes to all saints.  And this choir, immeasurable immense, of those righteous who have pleased God intercedes before God for the human race and for the whole world.

And now we all, by God's mercy, are present at a spiritual triumph, when to this assembly of God's saints, our intercessors bad protector, yet another glorious name is joined – or holy and God-bearing Father Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska, ascetic of the far North.  Our Church celebrates his glorification.

It must be realized that by this glorification the Church does not make him who has pleased God a saint.  He is glorified by God, he is a saint in God, he is attested of God as righteous, for his holy and devout life, attested by the gifts of God's grace, attested by righteousness and sanctity.

And the Church does not make him a saint by her glorification, but only humbly and at the same time joyfully points out to her spiritual children the new intercessor, to whom they may now appeal, begging his protection and his aid in all circumstances when this is needful.

Not so long ago, only six years past, the Church Outside of Russia, Russia Abroad, and likewise captive suffering Russia, celebrated the glorification of the great universal lamp, Father John of Kronstadt; this is the one saint who has already been glorified among us  abroad in these evil years.

And now next to him there is placed another great God-pleasing saint, likewise an intercessor who prays for us in these grievous times, our holy Father Herman.

Both by birth and upbringing, in his life and in his death, he belongs entirely to the Russian people and to the Russian Church.  He is a Russian saint.; he is flesh and blood and spirit of the spirit of his native people, his native land.

And now it is him whom the Church triumphantly glorifies.

Rejoice, O Russia in captivity, suffering Russia!  You now have a new intercessor, a new protector. 

And you, Russia Abroad, likewise rejoice and be glad, dispersed over the vast stretches outside of Russia, one might say, over the whole terrestrial globe!  You, too, now have an intercessor and protector.  His prayer, even here, while he was still alive, worked miracles.  All the more now, standing before the dreadful Throne of the Lord of Glory, our holy Father Herman is powerful to obtain for us all that is needful to us from God's goodness both for temporal and for eternal life.  Let only our own faith not grow weak.  Let us only never doubt that this prayerful protection and intercession is truly a gift of God's mercy to us.

Let s then keep festival, let us rejoice in the goodness of the Lord, Who is wondrous in His saints,  It is by His grace, His power, that our God-pleasing saints have been glorified – both the saints of old and those more recent, both Father John of Kronstadt and Father Herman of Alaska.

They loved God to such an extent that for them to live meant to serve God; they were entirely in God.

Was it not out of love for God that St. Herman left his homeland?  Out of obedience, as a true monk and ascetic, he went far away, not forgetting his homeland and its holy places, and gave himself there completely over to the service of God and his neighbor, and the Lord glorified His faithful slave and laborer by grace and miracles.

"Glory be to God for everything!"  St. John Chrysostom once said in antiquity.  And so now we all, receiving these gifts of God's goodness, should say with our whole soul: "Glory be to God for everything!"  Amen.


The moleben – the first service of prayer to the newly-glorified Saint, culminating in the solemn moment when all went to their knees and Metr. Philaret read for the first time, in absolute silence, the Prayer to St. Herman – began with a church procession.  While the choir slowly sang "O Heavenly King" and called upon the Holy Spirit to descend and dwell in the faithful, the procession began to move out the front doors, and in the sun-drenched summer air were seen, first the lantern and Cross, then the church banners and icons; and escorted by four brilliant gold fans, the Saint's Icon with relics was borne in a special frame by the twelve eldest presbyters.  Behind the Icon came the hierarchs with servers, then monks, nuns, and the rest of the faithful.  The number of the faithful who were present was even greater than the night before, and those who could not find their way into the church stood in the street outside.

To the censing of the deacons and the singing by all the people of "Holy Father Herman, pray to God for us," the procession – which instantly attracted all the attention of busy Geary Boulevard – began to descend in order to make the circuit of the church passing again at midway the Sepulchre of Archbishop John.  At the for sides of the Cathedral ektenias were pronounced by the deacons and holy water was sprinkled in all directions.

The day's services in the Cathedral were concluded with the "Many Years" sung for the assembled hierarchs and faithful, for the Brotherhood of St. Herman, and for the two Archimandrites Panteleimon whose namesday this was: the founders of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville and Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston.  And to one's astonishment one realized that all the major Orthodox monasteries and convents in America were represented at the solemnities, that it was to all the Orthodox monks and nuns of the American land that the faithful were singing "Many Years" and "Save O Christ God," and that this feast of Canonization was above all a monastic feast which – even as St. Herman himself – points the way for a future of a genuine American Orthodoxy.  More than one heart on this memorable day was fired anew with ascetic and monastic resolve.


In Orthodox monasteries the daily meals – trapeza – are considered to be a continuation of the Divine services, where silence is preserved and all listen to the reading of the Lives of Saints or ascetic counsels, in order that even here the need of the body may not take precedence over the nourishment of the soul.  Even so, at the conclusion of the Canonization services the monastic meaning of the solemnities was kept uppermost as the procession with the Panagia – the "Most Holy," as the Mother of God is called in Greek – was formed.  Just as in great monasteries on feast days, all gathered in the center of the church and, led by seminarians in the black cassocks, and followed by the clergy and the Chief Hierarch in his Mantle and a Deacon bearing a large prosphora blessed bread] with the image of the Theotokos stamped upon it, the procession made its way, to the singing of the troparion to St. Herman, to the church refectory under the Cathedral.  There, the prayer before eating having been sung, all sat down and one brother, receiving first the blessing of the Chief Hierarch, went to an analogion at the front of the refectory and began to read for the first time the "Life of our Holy and God-bearing Saint Herman of Alaska".  And wondrous Valaam Monastery, the Kodiak Mission in Alaska, Spruce Island, the martyrdom of the Aleut Peter, and the miracles of St. Herman appeared before the mental eyes of those present, who had come as pilgrims to the Saint to take part in the last chapter of his Life: his Canonization.

At the conclusion of the reading and the trapeza, before the Brotherhood icon of St. Herman, the Rite of the Panagia was celebrated by the Chief Hierarch and the Deacon, and the blessed bread was divided and distributed to the faithful, who thus might well have felt themselves to be present at the trapeza of some great Lavra, within whose enclosure the vanity and noise of this world were for a time forgotten.  The day's solemnities ended only at four o'clock shortly before the beginning of the evening service, which marked the commencement of a second day of celebration.


Having acknowledged St. Herman's sanctity before the world, a number of the hierarchs, clergy, and people gathered anew in the Cathedral to celebrate the second day of the Canonization.  At six o'clock there began the solemn Vigil in honor of the Smolensk Mother of God: the Hodigitria, which means "Guide" in Greek.  This touching title for an Icon of the Mother of God has a great significance today: for She is in truth the "Guide" of the Orthodox Diaspora, which had just given glory to its new patron.  One may all the more see God's Providence in this "coincidence" , in that this same day is also the anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, founder and first Chief Hierarch of the free and independent Russian Church Abroad, which is now celebrating the 50th anniversary of its existence.  The assembled hierarchs, after the Vigil, served a pannikhida for the great hierarch, and thus he too participated in the glorification of St. Herman.

The next morning the Pontifical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Archbishops Anthony and Vitaly to strict monastic singing on the cliros, followed by a moleben to the Mother of God and St. Herman.  And with this the feast would have ended; but by God's mercy there was yet another, most moving, service of prayer: a pannikhida for Archbishop John in his Sepulchre, where for the first time from the lists of the reposed that are constantly commemorated there the name of "Monk Herman" was struck off.  The wondrous Paschal mood of all continued and was felt there, even at the singing of a pannikhida.  Hegoumen Vladimir served, and everyone sang; at the end the monks from Holy Transfiguration Monastery sang, very movingly, to Greek chant.  A powerful impression was left: the low-ceilinged underground Sepulchre, completely covered with frescoes of saints, their golden halos glowing from the multitude of candles and lamps, and in the center, covered by his episcopal Mantle, the tomb of the righteous Hierarch, before which the faithful had gathered as if at the tomb of a martyr in the Catacombs...

"We discussed the whole event with others who had been in San Francisco, and we all agreed on this point – the glorification of St. Herman was the highlight of our lives – all the Paschas combined – the promise of man's deification through Christ fulfilled." [commented of an attendee.]

One can wonder whether this "Pascha in the midst of summer"  does not come on the eve of evil times for America

St. Seraphim's canonization occurred when Holy Russia was in its glory, yet on the eve of the time of troubles and banishment which he had prophesied.  To us today the future is veiled.  One can wonder whether this second "Pascha in the midst of summer" – which comes at one of the lowest periods of Christian history, when the satanic power that enslaved Russia and persecuted and banished its faithful seems on the verge of achieving universal power – does not come on the eve of even such evil times for America and the rest of the free world, where alone today the Orthodox Faith may still be openly confessed.  We do not know.

whole Local Orthodox Churches are leading themselves and others entirely outside of the saving Church 

Yet one thing is certain: In these perilous and uncertain times, when whole Local Orthodox Churches are leading themselves and others entirely outside of the saving Church of Christ, God has sent a great consolation and succor to His small flock of faithful Orthodox Christians in the Canonization of St. Herman.  This resplendent feast came as a revelation to the faithful, and yet also as something mysterious, not fully revealed.  The full manifestation of this Paschal mystery, of which we have glimpsed a wondrous fragment, is perhaps still before us.  Perhaps we shall not truly see its meaning and experience another such consolation until the present satanic cycle of revolution and iniquity has run its course, and a godless and enslaved world will see, on the eve of the fearful reign of Antichrist, a final Paschal revelation from Holy Russia, as has been prophesied.  For in truth, Christ is risen, and the time is at hand when all those faithful to the end will arise with Him into the blessedness of eternal Pascha!  Amen.

The above is taken from Orthodox Word issue #33-34 July-October 1970, when Platina was in ROCOR [not RocorMP] and Fr. Seraphim Rose, a loyal son of ROCOR, was editor.