SEPTEMBER 24, 1794


Russian Orthodox Christianity has had played a significant role in many Alaskan Native communities.  Russian colonization of Alaska began in 1741 and the resulting “fur rush” (1741-98) brought Russian frontiersmen to the Aleutian Islands.  Herman, who was born in Serpukhov about 1756, was serving at the Valaam Monastery when, at the request of Gregorii Shelikov, co-founder of the Russian-American Company (RAC), the Holy Synod of Russia sought Monks for Alaska.  In 1793, Herman and 7 others left for Alaska arriving on Kodiak Island.  Herman soon became the acting head of the Mission and was especially noted for his protection of the Alutiiq (Aleut) population against RAC persecution.  Between 1808 and 1818, Herman left for Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam, and where he would remain for life.  He cared for orphans, ran a school, built a chapel and guest house, and planted a garden until his death on November 15, 1837.  

Sources:  “Saint Herman of Alaska,” Outreach Alaska.  Retrieved 7/6/2020, Wikipedia
Photo:  Jet Lowe (1947-     ), National Park Service, 1989.  Saints Sergius and Herman of Velaam Chapel, Spruce Island, Alaska.  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, AK,12-MOLA,1-2.  Photograph taken as part of a program of the National Park Service.  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code

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