The following pics (click to enlarge) were taken during my visit to Alaska in March of 2006. First, the “Mother Church of North America,” Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Kodiak:
This is where the body of St Herman rests. You can read about St Herman of Alaska … H E R E.
On March 27, 2006 we were blessed with excellent weather and a relatively calm sea (emphasis on “relatively”) as pilgrimage was made to Monk’s Lagoon, where St Herman struggled, and to St Nilus Island. Here follows some pics of the journey.
Here’s the beginning of the trail into the forest.
This is the house and chapel of Fr Gerasim Schmoltz. Fr Gerasim lived and struggled here for 40 years, keeping the memory of St Herman alive.
The grave of Father Gerasim.
This cross marks the spot where St Herman was originally buried by the orphans (as a priest could not get to the island for 40 days after his death).
Prior to being moved upstairs into the chapel, St Herman’s holy body had been buried under the chapel. In other words, the chapel was built over his grave (which, as mentioned in an earlier post, was the Saint’s second interment). Today, you can crawl under the building into the small crawl space and reverence the holy spot and, obviously, take a picture. As also mentioned in a previous posting, St Herman’s relics are currently enshrined at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak. Someday, when there’s a sufficient monastic presence and a secure structure, his body will return to Spruce Island and the Ss Sergius & Herman of Valaam Chapel.
NOTE: On March 11, 1969, the Great Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) solemnly proclaimed the Act of the Universal Church Canonization of the Staretz Herman to Sainthood in the Orthodox Church in America: “Taking into consideration the long and undisputed witness of the grace of God, appearing through the servant of God, the Staretz Herman of Alaska.” Saint Herman was the first saint from America to be canonized by the Orthodox Church. The glorification of Father Herman was performed on August 9, 1970, at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak, Alaska by the OCA with parallel services at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady, Joy of all who Sorrow in San Francisco by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). His relics were transferred from his grave underneath the church of Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Chapel on Spruce Island to the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak. Source