St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox SoborSt. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Sobor
Upcoming Services
All Services in English
February 22,
9:30AM Pre-Lenten Retreat
4:30PM Great Vespers

February 23,
9:15AM Hours
9:30AM Divine Liturgy
Memorial Litya

February 29,
1:30PM Girls' Choir
5:00PM Great Vespers

Who Was Saint Herman?
Click here for a full description of the Life of St. Herman

St. Herman was born in the town of Serpukhov in the Moscow Diocese around 1756. At the age of 16, he entered the monastic life at the Trinity-St. Sergius Hermitage near St. Petersburg. While here he developed a severe throat infection from which he nearly died. After fervent prayer before an ikon of the Theotokos, he fell into a deep sleep. During this sleep, He dreamed that he was healed by the Virgin and upon waking, he had completely recovered. A few years later he moved to the Valaam Monastery on Lake Ladoga.

While at Valaam, he was under the spiritual guidance of the Elder Nazary who had played a significant role in the revitalization of Spiritual life in Russia after the decline of spirituality which resulted from the interference in Church life on the part of Peter the great and Catherine the great. At this time Gregory Shelikov, head of the Golikov-Shelikov Company - licensed to exploit the resources of Alaska - visited Valaam and requested monks to work in a new Alaskan mission. Father Herman was among the eight monks selected.

The monks arrived on Kodiak Island on September 24, 1794, and immediately set out on the task of educating and converting the natives. Eventually only Fr. Herman survived from this original mission.

The members of the mission felt that it was their duty to protect the Alaskans from harm and exploitation. Thy defended them against the often cruel treatment of the Russian-American Company which controlled the colony under the leadership of Alexander Baranov. As a result of their protests, and because they tried to place the natives under imperial protection by administering an oath of allegiance to the Czar to them, Baranov threatened the monks with physical violence and even placed them under house arrest.

Sometime between 1808 and 1818, Fr. Herman went to Spruce Island, which he called "New Valaam". He spent the rest of his life on the island, where he cared for orphans, ran a school and continued his missionary work. He lived the ascetic life of Orthodox Monasticism which has been standard since the time of the desert fathers. He built a small chapel, school and guest house. Food for himself and the orphans was produced from his own experimental garden. He wore the simplest clothing and cell was practically empty. His life was devoted to prayer and to following the services he could do as a simple monk who had not been ordained.

His love for the native peoples grew continually. His greatest pleasure was being with the children under his care. When a ship from the United States brought an epidemic to the Alaskans, he remained with those stricken with disease constantly comforting the dying and praying with them. His love grew to the point that he could see into the hearts of his spiritual children and help them.

The natives regarded him as their intercessor before God. When there was a tidal wave on the Island, Fr. Herman took an ikon of the Theotokos, place it on the beach and assured the people that the water would not rise beyond the place where the ikon was, and it did not. When there was a great fire on the island, he dug a trench and stayed the flames. Prior to his death he foretold that there would be no priest to bury him and that he would be forgotten for 30 years. He died on December 12, 1837, and was forgotten until the first investigation of his life in 1867 by Bishop Peter of Alaska. This investigation was followed by publications of his life in 1894, 1900, and 1952. In 1952 an Akathist Hymn was composed, and on March 11, 1969, the Great Council of Bishops solemnly proclaimed the Act of the Universal Church Canonization of the Staretz Herman to Sainthood in the Orthodox Church in America: "Taking into consideration the long and undisputed witness of the grace of God, appearing through the servant of God, the Staretz Herman of Alaska." The Canonization was performed on August 7 - 9, 1970.

St. Herman, pray to God for us!

O Blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
North Star of Christ's Holy Church.
The light of your Holy Life and great deeds
guides those who follow the Orthodox Way.
Torgether we lift high the Holy Cross
you planted firmly in America.
Let all behold and Glorify Jesus Christ,
singing His Holy Resurrection.

Contact Us
Phone: (780) 484-9804

9930-167 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T5P 4W7

Church office hours:
12 - 4PM Mon - Fri

St. John of Kronstadt
Words of Wisdom
Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence.
- St. John of Kronstadt