The Life of St. Herman of Alaska
Natalie Holland

Our holy monk Herman was born in 1758 near Moscow, Russia.

When he was a teenager he became a monk.

When he was at the Trinity-Sergius Skete, an infection came over him and his throat began to swell very badly, which, if untreated, would cause him to die. One night he began to pray to the Theotokos before her icon in his icon corner. Then he got a damp towel and laid it on the Theotokosí icon. Then continuing to pray, he put the damp towel on his head. Then he fell asleep. When he was asleep he had a vision in which his infection was healed. When he woke up this was so! His throat was totally cleansed!

He was transferred to the Valaam Monastery when he was about the age of 20. From there he was transferred to Kodiak Island in Russian America, now known as Alaska, so that he could spread the Gospel news. He built a small hut and chapel there in which he did not cease praying. On Sundays and on big feast days, he would go to the big church. But on regular days he would stay in his own chapel and hut. Later he moved to Spruce Isaland, a mile across the water from Kodiak Island.

Now it came to pass that there was a big flood. And Father Herman returned to the mainland. There on the beach he put an icon of the Mother of God and told the people that the water would not rise higher than the icon. It was so. So he returned home.

Then a ship came holding Americans. The Americans had a very bad disease which caused many of them to die. The disease was very contagious and it caused many of the natives to die. Fr. Herman returned to the mainland for a short time. There he lived in the orphanage with the children, for he loved children. When he returned to his hut and house, he brought the orphanage children with him. There he built a schoolhouse for the children. And he, being one of the many teachers, taught the children to read and write and to do many other things necessary.

Sophia Vlasova, a laywoman, asked if she could be St. Hermanís disciple. St. Herman readily agreed and told her that she could live nearby. Now he told Sophia that when he died he wanted to be buried near the big church in Kodiak. So when he died they put him on a board but did not bury him yet. After nine days the body was incorrupt, and a beautiful fragrance was coming from the coffin. Then they buried him, putting his klobuk on his head and not letting anyone see his face, by his request. Then they put him in the ground.