Thursday, December 13, 2012

An 18th Century Orthodox Saint

Each morning, I start the day with a good cup of coffee, and the daily scriptural readings provided by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website Along with those epistle and gospel readings are information of the various saints that are honored on the calendar for that day. For us Orthodox Christians, our patron saint and being named for them, is very important. It gives us a special saint to pray to, to intercede for us with God, and a role model for our lives. Generally, we keep an icon of our patron saint in our homes to venerate, or honor.

Today, on the calendar is Saint Herman of Alaska, who was born near Moscow in 156. He is an 18th Century Saint, who became a monk at an early age, living in a hermitage near St. Petersburg, when he became very ill. He was healed by the holy Mother of God who appeared to him there. He later went into the wilderness to pray, and answered a call for missionaries to the Aleuts in the New World. He settled on Spruce Island, and even in the face of grave affliction, he helped spread God's Word to his new countrymen.

The icon of St. Herman at left is interesting, because it not only holds his image, but smaller ones of his life from its beginning, to his pilgrimage to Alaska (the Aleutian Islands). If you look closely you can see the Native peoples. Below is a chapel that was built
built in 1898 over the site where St. Herman was buried on Spruce Island in December 1836.

It's interesting to note that we think of the saints as living way back in the day, and not as real people. But they are! And, though we don't see many saints canonized these days, they do exist in more recent times, including St. Herman in the 18th Century, St. Nektarios who lived from 1846-1920, as well as the Imperial Russian Royal Family, who died at the hands of the Bolsheviks in 1917 (see their icon at right above).  They are considered martyrs for the Faith. I can thank a friend of mine for the information on the Romanovs! I did not know this.

No comments:

Post a Comment