Kodiak Daily Mirror - Pilgrims return to St Herman chapel on Spruce Island
  
Pilgrims return to St. Herman chapel on Spruce Island
by Nicole Klauss
Aug 09, 2012 | 130 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pilgrims gather Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at Saints Sergius and Herman Chapel during the annual pilgrimage to celebrate St. Herman's feast day. Pilgrims from around the world visit the shrine on Spruce Island each year to celebrate the life of Alaska's Orthodox saint, who was canonized 42 years ago.
(Nicole Klauss photo)
Pilgrims gather Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at Saints Sergius and Herman Chapel during the annual pilgrimage to celebrate St. Herman's feast day. Pilgrims from around the world visit the shrine on Spruce Island each year to celebrate the life of Alaska's Orthodox saint, who was canonized 42 years ago. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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Archbishop Benjamin Peterson (left), head of the Orthodox Church in America's Alaska diocese, and Bishop Nikolai of Salavat and Kumertau in Russia take part in the divine liturgy at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Wednesday, August 8, 2012 on Spruce Island. August 8 is St. Herman's feast day.
(Nicole Klauss photo)
Archbishop Benjamin Peterson (left), head of the Orthodox Church in America's Alaska diocese, and Bishop Nikolai of Salavat and Kumertau in Russia take part in the divine liturgy at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Wednesday, August 8, 2012 on Spruce Island. August 8 is St. Herman's feast day. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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Kodiak defensive coordinator Dave Owens calls a play during Saturday’s blue/gold scrimmage at Woody Way Field. 						   (Derek Clarkston photo)
Kodiak defensive coordinator Dave Owens calls a play during Saturday’s blue/gold scrimmage at Woody Way Field. (Derek Clarkston photo)
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Hieromonk Makarii Komogorov of Russia and Father John Dunlop, St. Herman Seminary dean, take part in the divine liturgy at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Wednesday, August 8, 2012 on Spruce Island. August 8 is St. Herman's feast day.
(Nicole Klauss photo)
Hieromonk Makarii Komogorov of Russia and Father John Dunlop, St. Herman Seminary dean, take part in the divine liturgy at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Wednesday, August 8, 2012 on Spruce Island. August 8 is St. Herman's feast day. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, director of the diaconal and late vocations programs of the Orthodox Church in America, reads from the Bible during the divine liturgy at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Wednesday, August 8, 2012 on Spruce Island. August 8 is St. Herman's feast day.
(Nicole Klauss photo)
Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, director of the diaconal and late vocations programs of the Orthodox Church in America, reads from the Bible during the divine liturgy at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Wednesday, August 8, 2012 on Spruce Island. August 8 is St. Herman's feast day. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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Icons of St. Herman of Alaska hang on trees around his burial place at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman on Spruce Island. The celebration of St. Herman's feast day on August 8 attracts Orthodox pilgrims from around the world to the site each year.
(Nicole Klauss photo)
Icons of St. Herman of Alaska hang on trees around his burial place at the chapel of Saints Sergius and Herman on Spruce Island. The celebration of St. Herman's feast day on August 8 attracts Orthodox pilgrims from around the world to the site each year. (Nicole Klauss photo)
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SPRUCE ISLAND — Pilgrims from across the world traveled here Wednesday to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the canonization of St. Herman of Alaska.

The annual pilgrimage drew around 100 people who arrived by boat to visit the holy site where Orthodox Christianity celebrates its roots in America.

Bells rang as the Orthodox ministers arrived and made their way up the path to the St. Herman’s Chapel, followed by the crowd of pilgrims.

St. Herman was part of the Russian mission that came to Kodiak in 1794. He helped convert the Native population to Christianity, but eventually came into conflict with the Russians about their treatment of the Native people. As a sort of exile, he moved to Spruce Island where he lived a monastic life in the early 1800s.

“St. Herman who lived here on Spruce Island is a Saint who is known throughout the Orthodox world,” said Archbishop Benjamin Peterson of San Francisco and the West, and acting Diocese of Alaska. “I think a lot of people feel connected to him because he’s closer to our time. He’s not really a remote figure.”

St. Herman was canonized in 1970, and is buried in Kodiak. He was the first Orthodox saint in North America.

The divine liturgy lasted about two hours and included prayer, Scripture readings, a sermon and communion. Twelve members of the St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church in Kalskag led the choir services; it was the group’s first time on the pilgrimage.

After the divine liturgy, some pilgrims paid tribute to St. Herman by visiting his original grave site located underneath the chapel.

Pilgrims also visited the St. Herman’s spring to drink fresh holy water, and the homes and grave sites of Father Peter Kreta and Rev. Archimandrite Gerasim Schmaltz, the men who came after St. Herman and carried on his legacy.

Bishop Nikolai of Salavat and Kumertau, head of Bashkiryan Metropolia in Ufa, Russia, traveled from Russia with eight other pilgrims.

“This holiday is very important, not only for Alaska or for Kodiak, but for Christians from all over the world,” he said. “You can see that today. It’s amazing because it’s a very small place.”

People in attendance were from Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Mexico, Pennsylvania, Missouri, California, Alaska, and other places in the U.S.

Metropolitan Christopher, Archbishop of Prague and the head of the Orthodox Christian Church in the Czech Republic and Slovakia was supposed to be in attendance, but had to return home due to a death in the church.

After the divine liturgy, the pilgrims had a picnic on the beach before heading back to Kodiak.
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