Canon to St. Herman of Alaska

Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska

From the Service to our Holy and God-Bearing Father, Saint Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska


St. Herman of Alaska. Drawing by Valerian Griboyedov St. Herman of Alaska. Drawing by Valerian Griboyedov
Irmos: He Who of old by Divine command did gather the waters in one assemblage and divide the sea for the people of Israel: He is our God, most glorious is He: to Him Alone we sing, for He hath been glorified.

Refrain: Holy Father Herman, pray to God for us.

Let me now hymn Thy God-pleasing Herman, O All-merciful Saviour, while Thou dost enlighten the darkened eyes of my soul, that he who is glorious among Thy saints may be glorified to the ends of the universe.

Even from thy youth, O Saint Herman, didst thou desire to seek the heavenly fatherland and to work for God alone, giving thyself over to heaven’s protection, having ever as intercessors Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam.

The Lord’s commandments, O holy one, thou didst have ever in thy heart, and never didst thou give thy body over to the path of sloth, always laboring and enlightening thy soul with Divine illuminations.

Unto God didst thou give over thy whole life, having love for Him above all, and thou didst cherish more than all converse with choirs on high. But neither didst thou shun love for thy brethren, O Saint, praying together and singing with them: O Sweetest Jesus, save us sinners.

Theotokion: Seeing his fervent prayer, O Mother of God, Thou didst heal the young Herman of a mortal infirmity: likewise do not disdain even us who fall down before Thee and call upon him to pray to Thee.


Irmos: O Thou Who didst bring forth from nothingness all things crated by the Word and perfected by the Spirit, O All-ruler on high, make me steadfast in Thy love.

Leaving Sarov for Valaam, the divinely-wise Nazarius implanted love for the inward activity; likewise didst thou too, O Saint, partake of this grace, and with spiritual illuminations didst prepare thy soul to spread the Gospel.

O fruit-bearing shoots of Christ’s vineyard, Sergius and Herman of Valaam, ye did nourish the new Herman with clusters of virtues; fill our hearts, too, with the wine of Divine jubilation.

Vying in prayer and deed, thou didst prepare thy soul for any obedience; thereby thou didst reach distant lands, together with thine evangelizing brethren bringing the natives of Alaska to Sweetest Jesus.

Theotokion: Ever pouring out benefactions upon Thy slaves, O Good Mother of the Good King, instruct us in every good deed, guarding us from every evil action.

Sedalion, Tone 3

To the special melody: At the beauty of Thy virginity

Today thy commemoration hath arrived, praiseworthy Father Herman, making jubilant thy chosen flock: enlighten us by the brightness of thy miracles which proceed from thy precious relics, extinguish the flame of our passions and bedew the minds of the faithful who ever glorify thee with love. (Twice)

Glory, Both now: Theotokion

Rejoice, O Virgin full of grace, for Thou revealest to us Thy new chosen one, who hath blossomed forth in the northern wilds and made fragrant with heavenly gifts a newly enlightened region; wherefore, O Sovereign Lady of the universe, with songs of thanksgiving we do honor Thee.


Irmos: Thou hast placed toward us a steadfast love, O Lord, for Thine Only-begotten Son hast Thou given unto death for us. Wherefore, in thanksgiving we call unto Thee: Glory to Thy might, O Lord.

Good shepherd and loving father, O Saint, thou hast been a help and healing for the wretched, infirm, afflicted, and to orphans a refuge and teacher. Likewise, even from us, orphaned, take not away the protection of thy prayer.

O Herman, Saint, the people were amazed and wondered how thou couldst live alone in the forest. I am not alone, thou didst say, but God is with me, Who is everywhere, and His holy angels. Thus, how can one be downcast, having such company. And now, abiding in the heavens, do not abandon us who dwell on earth.

Defender of Alaska, naming thyself the nurse and servant of new peoples, thou dost extend thy care to them even after thy repose. And now we too, in thine own words, call out to thee: be our father and protector, wipe away the tears of defenseless orphans, refresh hearts languishing in the heat of sorrow, and grant us to know the Lord’s consolation.

Theotokion: Approach, and let us hymn the Most Pure Virgin, Who remedied Eve’s beguilement by Her humility and made manifest for us a new Adam, that we might receive a new adoption and be inheritors of everlasting life.


Irmos: To Thee I offer morning prayer, Creator of all, Who dost surpass every mind of the universe: for Thy commandments are a light; in them, then, instruct me.

By many sorrows, prayers, and vigils didst thou purify thy soul and vest it in the primal beauty, becoming like to first-created Adam, and forest beasts obeyed thee, sensing in thee paradise and the Kingdom.

Overmastering by reins of continence and by constant prayer the senses’ passions, thou hast attained the summit of dispassion: wherefore we fall before thee as before a physian full of grace: heal our passions and move us to good deeds.

Veiled in secrecy, for God alone didst thou desire to work, and didst make a cave thine abode, striving to bury the passions of the flesh, that in soul thou mightest arise, overarched by heavenly illuminations, foretasting the sweetness of eternal Pascha.

Entering the mental paradise of virtues, thou hast brought forth multitudinous blossoms of good deeds, by which thou givest fragrance to the world, O Father Herman, even to this day.

Theotokion: Angels’ choirs sing Thy beauty, while I, a sinner, O Most Immaculate One, beg Thee: remove from me all unbeauteous fantasy of demons, in stillness preserving my heart.


Irmos: The ultimate abyss of sins hath encompassed me, and my soul doth faint: but extend, O Master, Thine outstretched arm, and like Peter, O Lord, save me.

Love for thy native Valaam didst thou show in traversing even the ends of the universe to bring the good tidings of the Gospel, and Spruce Island naming New Valaam; there new brethren, newly enlightened people, didst thou gain by word of preaching and by deeds of piety.

Like unto the exploits of the Apostles, in truth, were the deeds of thy brethren, whom God did glorify: Juvenal singeth in the choir of martyrs, Ioasaph and Innocent with others in hierarchs’ ranks; let us too join in singing to God: Glory to Thee, Who has shown us the light.

Aleut Peter’s confession and martyr’s blood, O Saint, have sanctified and crowned thine and thy co-evangelizers’ labors, and at his strong faith and patience thou wert amazed. Wherefore, following thee, let us cry out: Holy New Martyr Peter, pray to God for us.

Now is thy life, O Saint, manifest as a proof of the true faith; by it the teaching of thy word, which thou didst make, appears in act, attracting to amendment thirsting hearts that call to thee: glory to the holy providence of merciful God.

Theotokion: Draw near, O people, let us behold how stormy waters, about to swallow up the isle, obey meek Herman: humbled before the icon of God’s Mother, they return again to the ocean’s depths. And let us, tossed on the waves of life, cry out with the chosen of God’s Mother: Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Kontakon, Tone 8

Monk of Valaam and beloved of the Mother of God, new zealot of the desert-dwellers of old by thine ascetic labors, having taken prayer as thy sword and shield, thou didst reveal thyself as terrible to demons and pagan darkness, wherefore we cry to thee, O Saint Herman, pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Ikos: Having hastened to the Lord from thy youth, being like to Herman of Valaam in name and ascetic deed, thou didst grow unto the measure of the Fathers of old, who brought forth fruit in patience. And this meek one was sent to the Aleutian people, not yet enlightened: harsh was his dwelling amidst a tribe most simple, yet harsher the defiance of his own race to good admonishment. Yet, showing mercy on both, Herman’s meekness nursed them. For all this, glorifying thy memory, O Saint Herman, we call to thee: pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.


Irmos: As of old Thou didst bedew the three godly Youths in the Chaldean flame, so illumine too with the bright fire of Divinity us who call out: Blessed art Thou, O God of our Fathers.

God’s Spirit acting, nature’s order is transformed: and His illumination having enlightened thy soul’s eyes, O Saint, thou didst behold the distant as if near, the future as if present, making known Divine decrees for instruction and amendment.

Laying up thy treasure in the heavens, O zealot of things heavenly, thou didst leave nothing in thy cell for them to find who sought treasures of the earth. And teach us now, unmercinary Father, to treasure up the heavenly and offer to the Only Priceless One our hearts.

Out of all thy many sorrows did the Lord deliver thee, O righteous one, filling thy heart with heavenly joy, which now thou dost enjoy in the never-setting day of Christ’s Kingdom. Pray also for us, O Saint, that our sorrows too the Lord may turn to joy.

Theotokion: Revering, let us come and bow down before the Joy of angels, and Abbess of the monastic order, and Protectress of the entire Christian race, as to the Queen of heaven and earth, and for those born of earth the unceasing Intercessor before God.


Irmos: Standing together in the unbearable fire, the Youths, champions of godliness, unharmed by the flame, sang a Divine hymn: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord and exalt Him above all forever.

Infirmity, old age, and blindness could not at all prevent thine intercession for the people before those in authority, whom thou didst beg to prefer mercy to sacrifice, that they themselves might find it in the Lord. Now in heaven, deprive not us as well of thine intercession.

Filled with the song of angels, thy forest cell was empty, save for thee alone, singing, while the people greatly wondered. And again an angel served thee, sanctifying the waters with the Jordan’s blessing, calling: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord and exalt Him above all forever.

Yea, clothed in the garment of salvation and robes of joy, woven of many labors and much sorrow, thou hast entered the heavenly bridechamber of Christ the King, where together with choirs of apostles and holy monks thou dost enjoy eternally the banquet of rejoicing.

Theotokion: How our sins burn the soul’s good intentions, like unbearable fire! Wherefore we fall before Thee, Queen of heaven and earth: bedew our hearts, that every good deed may sprout forth.


Irmos: O wonder new and Divinely beautiful, through a virgin door that is closed the Lord passeth visibly, God, naked in entry and revealed in exit clothed in flesh, and the door remaineth closed: Her, as Mother of God, we unutterably magnify.

Eternal glory to Thee, O God, Who hast revealed to us Thy wondrous Saint, by whose prayers preserve us from every enemy attack and soul-corrupting passions, and instruct us in all good, that escaping everlasting torment we may attain Thy Kingdom.

Reaching the evening of thy life, O Saint, the book of thine apostolic acts came to its end in the unsetting radiance of thy face, showing thy glory in the heavenly mansions, which do thou now by thine intercession help us to attain.

Manifesting the Saint’s departure from earth to heaven, a fiery pillar was seen, as the people greatly wondered. Wherefore let us call out to him: Be ever a fiery pillar for us, illuminating and pointing out the path that leads on high.

Although our lips are unworthy, O Lord, we have sent up praise to Thy true disciple, glorifying Thee, wondrous in Thy saints; by his prayerful intercession preserve this land and its cities from misfortunes and destruction, granting us great mercy.

Theotokion: Nets of unclean spirits have seized me, and I have become the dwelling place of impurity and defiling sins; but O Mary, God’s dwelling and preceptress of purity, cleanse me by Thine intercession and make me again a dwelling for God, that devoutly I may magnify Thee.


To the special melody: Hearken, ye women.

O Lord, Giver of light, by the prayers of our lantern of piety, Saint Herman, enlighten with Thine unsetting light this land and us who serve Thee in faith and celebrate in piety his light-bearing memory.

Glory, Both now: Theotokion.

O Bride of God, mystical candle, Who hast revealed, by the action of God’s Spirit, the eternal Light to the world, shine even upon us who are in the darkness of unreason the light of truth, and save all who devoutly magnify Thee as Mother of God.


Blessed ascetic of the northern wilds* and gracious intercessor for the
whole world,* teacher of the Orthodox Faith,* and good instructor of piety,*
adornment of Alaska and joy of all America,* holy Father Herman,*
pray to Christ God that He may save our souls.

Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska, Platina, California, 1970


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