Pilgrimage to Alaska to Commemorate America's first saint,
Fr. Herman - the Wonderworker of Alaska
August 5, 2011
Every year pilgrims from around the world together with the natives of Alaska come to commemorate America's first saint, Fr. Herman - the Wonderworker of Alaska. They visit Spruce Island, the place he sanctified by his holy Christian life, and go to venerate his relics on the Island of Kodiak. This year His Grace Maxim, Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America and Fr. Blasko Paraklis came on their fourth pilgrimage.
On Friday, the 5th of August they departed from Los Angeles to Anchorage and then flew on to Kodiak Island. Their journey continued by boat as they headed to the Skete of St. Michael on Spruce Island where they served the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, followed by a visit to the nuns at St. Nilus Skete in the afternoon. The sisters prepared a wonderful meal which was enjoyed by all. They spent a gratifying time together, in edifying spiritual conversations and reflections. The weather was fine and allowed for some spectacular views of surrounding islands with lush forests and busy puffins fishing alongside seagulls and other birds on the calm waters.
The next day, Bishop Maxim and Fr. Blasko spent the day in Monk's Lagoon, the wondrous place where St.Herman lived for 10 years and which later became known by this name in remembrance of this holy monk.
At the Divine Liturgy, His Grace concelebrated with Metropolitan Jonah, Head of the Orthodox Church of America, and the local priests and participating pilgrims who, again this year, came from all over the country.
On Tuesday morning, August 9th, the pilgrims were ferried to Spruce Island for the Hierarchical Liturgy, which was served in the Sts. Sergius and Herman Church by Metropolitan Jonah, Bishop Maxim and many priests of different Orthodox parishes from all over the country. This church location marks the original burial site of Saint Herman of Alaska.
We prayerfully hope that through the prayers of the first Saint of these remarkable lands, we will continue our traditional pilgrimage journey for many years to come!
As the pilgrimage came to its end for this year, His Grace, Bishop Maxim blessed the hosts, and departed for Portland while Fr. Blasko returned to Los Angeles.