St. Herman of Alaska (1756-1836), missionary to the Alaskan peoples, founded Orthodoxy among the Natives of Alaska. His celebration takes place on Dec. 13th. His celebration has become central to Orthodox Christians throughout North America during the Winter Paschal Season, perhaps because he so fully offers an image of the incarnation unto the Natives who had never experienced the incarnate Lord. St. Herman was a great miracle worker, but most importantly he emulated the humility of our Lord, what we refer to as kenosis, or self-emptying. Compare our Lord’s life to these words concerning St. Herman (taken from our monthly book, The Winter Pascha). Fr. Thomas Hopko writes,
By American standards, Saint Herman of Alaska, like the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was a miserable failure. He made no name for himself. He was not in the public eye. He wielded no power. He owned no property…He had no worldly prestige. He played no roles in human affairs. He partook of no carnal pleasures. He made no money. He died in obscurity among outcast people. Yet today, more than a hundred years after his death his icon is venerated in thousands of churches and his name is honored by millions of people whom he is still trying to teach to see the kingdom of God…which has been brought to the world by the King who was born in a cavern and killed on a cross. The example of this man is crucial to the celebration of Christmas—especially in America (p. 47-48).
This Thursday morning, at 8:30 am, Fr. Michael and I Imitated this holy Saint, and of course the proto-type, Christ our Lord, by prayerfully picking up trash on Sepulveda Boulevard. We would like to invite you and your family to join us (Thursday mornings at 8:30 am) as we humbly seek the kingdom through the lowly actions of the holy Saints who went before us. St. Herman of Alaska, pray to God for us!
O joyful North Star of the Church of Christ,
Guiding all men to the heavenly kingdom.
O Teacher and Apostle of the true faith,
Intercessor and defender of the oppressed.
Adornment of the Orthodox Church in America,
Blessed Father Herman of Alaska,
Pray to the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls
–Troparion of the Feast of St. Herman
By Fr. Nathan Symeon
Thursday, December 10 –