St. Herman of Alaska Chapel restored on Valaam

Valaam, August 13, 2020

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On August 9, 2020, the 50th anniversary of the glorification of the Venerable Herman of Alaska, the abbot of the Holy Transfiguration Valaam Stavropegial Monastery, Bishop Pankraty consecrated a chapel on Valaam Island, the monastery website reported.

The chapel was erected on St. Herman’s Field, not far from the place where the Venerable Herman labored in asceticism.

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St. Herman came to Valaam in 1778, the same year that the St. Seraphim came into the Sarov hermitage. The spiritual father of the future missionary was the Venerable Abbot Nazarius, a Sarov elder, who introduced the ustav of the Sarov Monastery on Valaam.

Here is what he said about the life of Fr. Herman on Valaam, his contemporary, Fr. Nazarius and later abbot of Valaam, Fr. Varlaam: “Father Herman underwent various obediences here fulfilling them all with excellence.” He was sent to Serdobol to supervise marble quarrying being carried out there. The brothers loved Father Herman, and looked forward to his return from Serdobol to the monastery.”

Having tested the zeal of the young ascetic, Fr. Nazarius released him to a solitary hermitage in the wilderness. This desert was located in a dense forest, about a mile and a half from the monastery; to this day, the area has preserved the name “Herman’s Field”.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, not far from the proposed location of his cell, a stone chapel was built, and due to the fact that Fr. Herman had not yet been glorified, the chapel was consecrated in honor of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine and Helen. It was lost in the middle of the twentieth century under the godless authorities.

On May 24, 2018, on the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the laying of a 14-meter chapel in honor of St. Herman of Alaska on St. Herman’s Field took place.

The project was developed on the basis of the only preserved historical photograph of the chapel, as well as several drawings from the archives of the New Valaam Monastery in Finland. Architect Yuri Kyr built it as close as possible to the original chapel.

So far, a temporary wooden iconostasis with an icon of the Monk Herman of Alaska has been installed inside the chapel; later it is planned to install a granite iconostasis.

On the outside of the chapel, there is a mosaic icon of the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of all those traveling by air; the artist was V.O. Borisenko.

The erected chapel, located on St. Herman's Field next to the helipad, will not only revive its historical location, but will also provide an opportunity for everyone undertaking an air trip to pray and receive blessings for the upcoming flight.

Matfey Shaheen


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