To the Ends of the Earth

Orthodox Christian Missions

St. Herman of Alaska

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St Herman of Alaska
Commemorated August 9 and December 13.

Our venerable father Herman of Alaska (1756 – December 13, 1837) was an 18th century missionary to Alaska. He, in 1970, became the first saint to be glorified by the Orthodox Church in America, concurrent with parallel services in another location by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. St. Herman is remembered by the Church on August 9 and December 13.

Herman of Alaska was a Russian Orthodox monk from Valaam Monastery in Russia who traveled with eight other monks in 1793 to bring the Gospel to the native Aleuts and Eskimos in the Aleutian Islands. As part of the Russian colonization of the Americas, Russians had been exploring and trading there since at least 1740. Thus, he marks the first arrival of Orthodox Christian missionaries in North America. He built a school for the Aleutians, and he often defended them from the injustices and exploitation of the Russian traders. He was known to them as Apa which means “Grandfather.” He lived most of his life as the sole resident of Spruce Island, a tiny wooded island near Kodiak Island.

Source: OrthodoxWiki
Much more can be said about St. Herman, so for a longer story of his life I would suggest the one found at Pravoslavie. Andrea Elizabeth has also posted a documentary from Youtube of St. Herman on her blog.

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Written by Stephen

August 9, 2009 at 6:54 pm

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