St. Herman of Alaska


A monk from Valaam, St. Herman was a member of the first group of Orthodox missionaries sent to North America from Russia in the 19th century. He lived as a hermit on Spruce Island near Kodiak, Alaska, where he labored to spread the love of Christ through his life of humility and prayer. He joined together a life of strict monasticism with loving care for the native Aleuts and their orphaned children, as well as with meek conversation on matters of faith with the local merchants and colonial officials. He constantly inspired and encouraged those around him to love God above all else. Although he was never ordained to the priesthood, he conversed with the angels in his desert hermitage, and their heavenly voices joining his in hymnody could sometimes be heard by visitors outside his cell. He has worked countless miracles since his blessed repose, and he is considered the patron saint of North America.


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