Saint Theophan the Recluse on Fasting

St.-Theophan-the-Recluse

As our Lenten journey is rapidly approaching, let us reflect on the words of Saint Theophan the Recluse regarding fasting.

“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”(Маt. 15:11)

The Lord did not say this because he did not approve of fasting or because he considered fasting unnecessary – indeed, He Himself fasted, and taught His disciples to do so, and established fasts in His Holy Church. He said this, then, not to discourage fasting. Rather, he says it to teach us that when we fast we should not limit ourselves merely to eating little and avoiding cooked foods, but should also refrain from indulging the appetites and passionate inclinations of the soul. This is, of course the most important thing. Fasting, in its turn, serves a powerful means of accomplishing this.

The passions are rooted in the flesh. When the flesh is weakened through fasting, then it is as if the fortress of the passions has been undermined, and its strength crumbles. On the other hand, to overcome the passions without fasting would be as remarkable as standing in a fire without being burnt. How is it possible for one who continually indulges his flesh with food, sleep and rest to maintain any sort of attention and purpose in spiritual matters? For such a one to turn from the earth, directing his attention to invisible things and striving them, is just as difficult as it is for an enfeebled bird to rise up from the earth.

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Homily on Cheesefare Sunday, by Saint Tikhon

Saint Tikhon

As we move through Cheesefare Week, let us ready ourselves for the upcoming Forgiveness Sunday, or Cheesefare Sunday, with a homily by Saint Tikhon.

Today is called “Forgiveness Sunday.” It received this name from the pious Orthodox Christian custom at Vespers of asking each other’s forgiveness for discourtesy and disrespect. We do so, since in the forthcoming fast we will approach the sacrament of Penance and ask the Lord to forgive our sins, which forgiveness will be granted us only if we ourselves forgive each other. “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”(Matt. 6. 14, 15)

Yet it is said to be extremely difficult to forgive discourtesy and to forget disrespect. Perhaps our selfish nature finds it truly difficult to forgive disrespect, even though in the words of the Holy Fathers it is easier to forgive than to seek revenge. (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk after St. John Chrysostom) Yet everything in us that is good is not accomplished easily, but with difficulty, compulsion and effort. “The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”(Matt. 11. 12) For this reason we should not be discouraged at the difficulty of this pious act, but should rather seek the means to its fulfillment. The Holy Church offers many means towards this end, and of them we will dwell on the one which most corresponds to the forthcoming season of repentance.

“Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother.” The source of forgiving our neighbors, of not judging them, is included in seeing (acknowledging) our sins. “Imagine,” says a great pastor, who knows the heart of man, Father John of Kronstadt, “picture the multitude of your sins and imagine how tolerant of them is the Master of your life, while you are unwilling to forgive your neighbor even the smallest offense. Moan and bewail your foolishness, and that obstruction within you will vanish like smoke, you will think more clearly, your heart will grow calm, and through this you will learn goodness, as if not you yourself had heard the reproaches and indignities, but some other person entirely, or a shadow of yourself.” (Lessons on a Life of Grace, p. 149) He who admits his sinfulness, who through experience knows the weakness of human nature and its inclination toward evil, will forgive his neighbor the more swiftly, dismissing transgressions and refraining from a haughty judgment of others’ sins. Let us remember that even the scribes and Pharisees who brought the woman caught in adultery to Christ were forced to depart, when their conscience spoke out, accusing them of their own sins. (John 8. 9)

Unfortunately, brethren, we do not like to acknowledge our transgressions. It would seem natural and easy for a person to know his own self, his own soul and his shortcomings. This, however, is actually not so. We are ready to attend to anything but a deeper understanding of ourselves, an investigation of our sins. We examine various things with curiosity, we attentively study friends and strangers, but when faced with solitude without extraneous preoccupation even for a short while, we immediately become bored and attempt to seek amusement. For example, do we spend much time examining our own conscience even before confession? Perhaps a few minutes, and once a year at that. Casting a cursory glance at our soul, correcting some of its more glaring faults, we immediately cover it over with the veil of oblivion until next year, until our next uncomfortable exercise in boredom.

Yet we love to observe the sins of others. Not considering the beam in our own eye, we take notice of the mote in our brother’s eye. (Matt. 7. 3) Speaking idly to our neighbor’s detriment, mocking and criticizing him are not even often considered sins but rather an innocent and amusing pastime. As if our own sins were so few! As if we had been appointed to judge others! “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” ? God. (James 4. 12) “Who art thou to judge another’s servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls.” (Rom. 14. 4) “Thou hast no excuse, O man, whoever thou art who judgest. For wherein thou judgest another, thou dost condemn thyself. For thou who judgest dost the same things thyself.” (Rom. 2. 1) “Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; put yourselves to the test.” (2 Cor. 13. 5) The pious ascetics provide a good example of this. They turned their minds to themselves, meditated on their own sins and avoided judging their neighbors at all costs.

One pious starets, noticing that his brother had committed a sin, sighed and said, “Woe is me! As he sinned today, so will I tomorrow.” And the following is a story about another ascetic, Abba Moisei. A monk committed a sin. The brethren, who had assembled to decide his case, sent for Abba Moisei, but the humble starets refused to attend the council. When the rector sent for him a second time, he appeared, but in quite a striking manner. He had taken an old basket, filled it with sand and was carrying it on his back. “What does this mean?” asked the monks, catching sight of him. “See how many sins I bear behind me?” answered Moisei, pointing to the heap of sand. “I don’t see them, yet I have come to pass judgment upon another.”

So therefore, brethren, following the example of the ascetics, upon observing others’ sins, we should consider our own sins, regard our own transgressions and not judge our brother. And should we hold anything against him, let us pardon and forgive him, that our merciful Lord may forgive us also.

St. Tikhon (Bellavin)

Then Bishop of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands
Later – Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
1901


14,000 Holy Innocents

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On December 29th, the Orthodox Church remembers the innocent children, the first martyrs, slain by King Herod.

14,000 Holy Infants were killed by King Herod in Bethlehem. When the time came for the Incarnation of the Son of God and His Birth of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Magi in the East beheld a new star in the heavens, foretelling the Nativity of the King of the Jews. They journeyed immediately to Jerusalem to worship the Child, and the star showed them the way. Having worshipped the divine Infant, they did not return to Jerusalem to Herod, as he had ordered them, but being warned by God in a dream, they went back to their country by another way. Herod finally realized that his scheme to find the Child would not be successful, and he ordered that all the male children two years old and younger at Bethlehem and its surroundings be killed. He thought that the divine Infant, Whom he considered a rival, would be among the dead children.

The murdered infants thus became the first martyrs for Christ. The rage of Herod fell also on Simeon the God-Receiver (February 3), who declared before everyone in the Temple that the Messiah had been born. When the holy Elder died, Herod would not give permission for him to be properly buried. On the orders of King Herod, the holy prophet and priest Zachariah was also killed. He was murdered in Jerusalem between the Temple and the altar (Mt. 23:35) because he would not tell the whereabouts of his son John, the future Baptist of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The wrath of God soon fell upon Herod himself: a horrid condition struck him down and he died, eaten by worms while still alive. Before his death, the impious king murdered the chief priests and scribes of the Jews, and also his brother, and his sister and her husband, and also his own wife Mariam, and three of his sons, and seventy men of wisdom who were members of the Sanhedrin. He initiated this bloodbath so that the day of his death would not be one of rejoicing, but one of mourning.


The Nativity Homily by Saint John Chrysostom

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BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery.

My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed; He had the power; He descended; He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Since this heavenly birth cannot be described, neither does His coming amongst us in these days permit of too curious scrutiny. Though I know that a Virgin this day gave birth, and I believe that God was begotten before all time, yet the manner of this generation I have learned to venerate in silence and I accept that this is not to be probed too curiously with wordy speech.

For with God we look not for the order of nature, but rest our faith in the power of Him who works.

What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a Mother who has brought forth; I see a Child come to this light by birth. The manner of His conception I cannot comprehend.

Nature here rested, while the Will of God labored. O ineffable grace! The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages, Who cannot be touched or be perceived, Who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, that is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see. For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt of that which they do not see, and so He has deigned to show Himself in bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt.

Christ, finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed there a man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature.

For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker.

What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.

For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit that He may save me.

Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ¡in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things are nourished, may receive an infants food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, we offer all praise, now and forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse on the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

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[Gal. 4:4–7; Mt. 2:1–12] Glo­ry to Thee, O Lord! Once again we greet the a­wait­ed bright days of Christ’s Na­tiv­i­ty. Let us be glad and re­joice. In or­der to raise our fes­tiv­i­ties to a higher lev­el in these days, the Ho­ly Church has in­ten­tion­al­ly in­sti­tuted a pre­ced­ing fast — a cer­tain a­mount of dif­fi­cul­ty, so that when we en­ter the fes­tive pe­ri­od we might feel as though lib­er­at­ed. Nev­er­the­less, the Church in no way de­sires that we should give our­selves over to pure­ly sen­su­al de­lights and flesh­ly plea­sures. Since the Church has from old­en times call­ed these days sviat­ki, or the “ho­ly days,” these days re­quire that our very fes­tiv­i­ty be ho­ly, as they are ho­ly. So that those who re­joice might not for­get them­selves, the Church has placed a short song up­on our lips to glo­ri­fy the born Christ, by which the flesh is re­strained and the soul is up­lift­ed, show­ing the prop­er oc­cu­pa­tions for these days. It says, “Christ is Born, give ye glo­ry,” and the rest. Glo­ri­fy Christ; glo­ri­fy Him, so that by this glo­ri­fi­ca­tion the heart and soul would de­light, and there­by si­lence any urge for var­i­ous oth­er deeds and oc­cu­pa­tions that might prom­ise cer­tain con­so­la­tions. Glo­ri­fy­ing Christ does not mean de­vis­ing length­y songs of prais­es to Christ. But if when con­tem­plat­ing or hear­ing a­bout the birth of Christ the Sav­ior you in­vol­un­tary shout from the depths of your soul, “Glo­ry to Thee, O Lord, that Christ is born!” — this is suf­fi­cient. This will be a qui­et song of the heart, which nev­er­the­less reach­es the heav­ens and en­ters in to God Him­self. Re­peat a lit­tle more clear­ly to your­self what the Lord has wrought for us, and you will see how nat­u­ral this ex­cla­ma­tion now is. So that this might be easier for us, we shall com­pare it to the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent. A king prom­ised free­dom to a man who was im­pris­on­ed in a dun­geon and bound with fet­ters. The pris­on­er waits a day, then an­oth­er, then months, and years. He sees no ful­fill­ment of the prom­ise, but does not lose hope, and be­lieves in the king’s words. Fi­nal­ly, he sees signs that it is com­ing soon, his at­ten­tion in­creas­es — he hears a noise; some one is ap­proach­ing with cheer­ful words. Now the locks fall and the lib­er­at­or en­ters. “Glo­ry to Thee, O Lord!” the pris­on­er in­vol­un­tar­i­ly cries. “The end of my im­pris­on­ment has ar­rived, and soon I will see God’s world!” Or an­oth­er in­ci­dent: A sick man is cov­er­ed with wounds and par­a­lyzed in all his mem­bers. He has tried all med­i­cines and var­i­ous doc­tors. His en­dur­ance is ex­haust­ed, and he is read­y to give him­self over to de­spair. He is told, “There is one very skilled doc­tor who heals ev­ery­one from those very ill­ness­es that you have. We have ask­ed him to come, and he has prom­ised to do so.” The pa­tient be­lieves them, cries out in hope, and waits for the prom­ised one… One hour pass­es, then an­oth­er, and his soul is tor­ment­ed with anx­i­ety. Fi­nal­ly, at eve­ning, some­one ar­rives… The door o­pens, and the de­sired one en­ters… “Glo­ry to Thee, O Lord!” the sick man shouts. Here is an­oth­er ex­am­ple. A thun­der­cloud hangs over the sky, and the face of the earth cov­er­ed with dark­ness. Thun­der shakes the foun­da­tions of the moun­tains and light­en­ing tears the sky from one end to the oth­er. All are in fear, as if the end of the world had come. When the thun­der pass­es and the sky clears, ev­ery­one breathes free­ly, say­ing, “Glo­ry to Thee, O Lord!” Bring these ex­am­ples clos­er to your­self and you will see our whole his­to­ry in them. The threat­en­ing clouds of God’s wrath were over us. The Lord has come — the peace­mak­er, and has dis­persed that cloud. We were cov­er­ed with wounds of sins and pas­sions; the heal­er of souls and bodies has come and heal­ed us. We were bound by the fet­ters of slav­ery; the lib­er­at­or has come and re­leased our fet­ters. Bring all of these ex­am­ples clos­er to your heart and take them in with your sens­es, and you will not be able to re­frain from ex­claim­ing, “Glo­ry to Thee, O Lord, that Christ is born!” I will not try to con­vey this joy to you in words; it is un­reach­a­ble by any words. The work that the Lord Who is born has wrought touch­es ev­ery one of us. Those who en­ter in­to com­mu­nion with Him re­ceive from Him free­dom, heal­ing, and peace; they pos­sess all of this and taste of its sweet­ness. There is no rea­son to say “re­joice” to those who ex­pe­ri­ence this with­in them­selves, for they can­not help but re­joice; but to those who do not ex­pe­ri­ence it, why say “re­joice”? They can­not re­joice. No mat­ter how much you say “re­joice” to one bound hand and foot, he will not re­joice. From whence can the joy of heal­ing come to one who is cov­er­ed with the wounds of sins? How can one who is threaten­ed by the thun­der of God’s wrath breathe free­ly? You can on­ly say to him, “Go to the In­fant wrapped in swad­dl­ing clothes in the man­ger, and seek de­liv­er­ance by Him from all the e­vils that en­com­pass you, for this In­fant, Christ, is the Sav­ior of the world.” I would like to see ev­ery­one re­joic­ing with this very joy, and not want­ing to know any oth­er joys; but not ev­ery­thing that comes from Is­ra­el is Is­ra­el. Fes­tiv­i­ties will now be­gin that are emp­ty, wild, and in­flam­ing of the pas­sions: the lust of the eyes, smok­ing, cos­tume-wear­ing. [1]My soul hat­eth… your so­lem­ni­ties: they are be­come trou­ble­some to me, I am wea­ry of bear­ing them (Is. 1:14)! Tru­ly, man­y of our so­cial fes­tiv­i­ties are re­al­ly pa­gan abom­i­na­tions; that is, some of them are brought to us straight from the pa­gan world, while oth­ers, though they ap­pear­ed lat­er in time, are pen­e­trated with the spir­it of pa­gan­ism. And they come out as if on pur­pose in great quan­ti­ties for the feasts of Christ­mas and Pas­cha. By get­ting caught up in them we give the prince of this world, our tor­men­tor, the en­e­my of God, an ex­cuse to say to God, “What have You done for me with Your Na­tiv­i­ty and Res­ur­rec­tion? They are all com­ing to me!” But let the words of the fif­tieth Psalm be re­peat­ed more of­ten in the depth of our hearts: That Thou might­est be jus­ti­fied in Thy words, and pre­vail when Thou art judged (Ps. 50:4). No mat­ter how much you tell these peo­ple to stop, they on­ly shut their ears and pay no heed; they bring these bright days of the feast to such an fi­na­le that the Lord is com­pelled to turn His eyes from us and say, We are in­ter­est­ed in en­light­ened Eu­rope. Yes, the abom­i­na­tions of pa­gan­ism that were cast out of the world were first re­stored there; they are pass­ing from there to us. Hav­ing breathed in that hell­ish poi­son, we run a­round like mad­men, for­get­ting our own selves. But let us re­mem­ber the year of 1812 — why did the French come to us then? God sent them to wipe out all the evil that we had learned from them. Rus­sia re­pent­ed then, and God had mer­cy on her. But now it seems that we have for­got­ten that les­son. If we come to our sens­es, of course, noth­ing will hap­pen. But if we do not come to our sens­es, who knows? Per­haps the Lord will again send sim­i­lar teach­ers, so that they would bring us to our sens­es and place us on the path of cor­rec­tion. Such is the law of God’s righ­teous­ness: to cure some­one from sin with the thing that en­ticed him in­to it. These are not emp­ty words, but a mat­ter that has been con­firmed by the voice of the Church. Know, ye Or­tho­dox, that God will not be mock­ed; and know, ye who make glad and re­joice on these days with fear. Il­lu­mine the bright feast with bright deeds, oc­cu­pa­tions, and fes­tiv­i­ties, so that all who look up­on us will say, “They have ho­ly days, and not some wild games with the un­righ­teous rev­el­lers who do not know God.
[1] St. The­o­phan coins the word o­bo­rot­ni­chest­vo, (from the word o­bo­rot­ni, mean­ing “were­wolf”) here, which re­fers to a strange en­ter­tain­ment in Rus­sia dur­ing the Christ­mas hol­i­days that re­sem­bles Amer­i­can Hal­low­een. Young peo­ple dress as fe­ro­cious an­i­mals like wolves and bears, and make pranks. The use of this word al­so im­plies that this prac­tice is some­thing from the realm of witch­es and sor­cer­ers.


Homily of Pentecost Sunday by St. Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria

Light, Radiance and Grace Are

in the Trinity and from the Trinity

(from the Synaxarion

of the Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion)

Pentecost

It will not be out of place to consider the ancient Tradition, teaching and faith of the catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the Apostles and guarded by the Fathers.  For upon this faith of the Church is built, and if anyone were to lapse from it, he would no longer be a Christian either in fact or in name.

We acknowledge the Trinity, holy and perfect, to consider, to consist of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  In this Trinity there is no intrusion of any alien element or of anything from outside, nor is the Trinity a blend of creative and created being.  It is wholly creative and energizing reality, self-consistent and undivided in Its active power, for the Father makes all things through the Word and in the Holy Spirit, and in this way the unity of the Holy Trinity is preserved.  Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is “above all things and through all things and in all things.” God is “above all things” as Father, for He is principal and source; He is “through all things” through the Word; and He is “in all things” in the Holy Spirit.

Writings to the Corinthians about spiritual matters, the holy Apostle Paul traces all reality back to one God, the Father, saying,  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and varieties of Service, but the same Lord – and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone.”

Even the gifts that the Spirit dispenses to individuals are given by the Father through the Word.  For all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son, and so the graces given by the Son in the Spirit are true gifts of the Father.  Similarly, when the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word.  This is the meaning of the text, “My Father and I will come to him and make Our home with him.”  For where the light is, there also is the radiance: and where the radiance is, there too are its powers and its resplendent grace.

This is also St. Paul’s teaching in his second letter to the Corinthians, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  For grace and the gift of the Trinity are given by the Father through the Son, so there could be no communication of the gift to us except in the Holy Spirit.  But when we share in the Spirit, we possess the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the fellowship of the Spirit Himself.


Akathist to Saint Herman of Alaska

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If reading alone, say first the following prayers:

https://orthodoxfiles.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/order-for-reading-akathists-alone/

Kontakion 1

O Chosen Doer of Wonders, most glorious favorite of Christ, our God bearing Father Herman, Alaska’s adornment, the joy of all Orthodox in America. We sing to you, our heavenly protector and powerful intercessor before God, these songs of praise. Cease not to pray for your children, who cry fervently to you:

Rejoice our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Ikos 1

Father Herman, the Creator of the angelic hosts called you to proclaim the Orthodox faith in a new land and to be the founder of the monastic way in the remote lands of the north. You were sent, as was the Apostle Paul, to those sitting in darkness so that the light of Orthodoxy might illumine all the ends of the earth. We, the inhabitants of the American continents, bring you, our heavenly protector, this thanksgiving and sing you this song of praise:

Rejoice, our Father Herman, our glory, our adornment;

Rejoice, bearer of the light of the true faith to our lands;

Rejoice, ascetic glorified by God;

Rejoice, most honored branch of Valaam Monastery;

Rejoice, praise and joy of the Church in America;

Rejoice, comforter and protector of all of us;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 2

In your early youth, O Venerable One, enkindled by the flame of love for the Lord, you desired to serve God and Him alone. As an offering, you dedicated your youth to God, beginning your journey from the hermitage of Valaam, where choirs of monastics sing ceaselessly to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

The Most High granted you spiritual wisdom in your youth that you might know the beauty and sweetness of heaven. For this reason, the wise Igumen Nazarius, teacher of the venerable Seraphim of Sarov, taught you God’s wisdom and the Lord’s way. Therefore, the Holy Church praises you:

Rejoice, glorious Herman dedicator of your youth to Christ;

Rejoice, disciple together with Seraphim of Sarov;

Rejoice, performer of spiritual labors in glorious Valaam;

Rejoice, honored by all the brethren of Valaam Monastery;

Rejoice, student of spiritual wisdom in Valaam;

Rejoice, glorified now by the Orthodox Church;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 3

The Most High directed the divinely-wise primate of the Church in Russia, Gabriel, to send missionaries of the Orthodox Faith to Alaska. The apostolic choice fell on you, O Venerable Herman, therefore, all the people enlightened by the Light of Christ through your labors and the personal example of your life, sing to the Lord: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Showing great zeal not only in your spiritual labors as a novice, but also in your Apostolic fervor as you preached to a people sitting in darkness, you, O Venerable Herman, revealed the light of Christ to them with great power. Remembering your apostolic labors and your efforts to preach, with love we praise you:

Rejoice, uncomplaining giver of obedience to your spiritual father;

Rejoice, preacher who brought the Good News from afar;

Rejoice, faithful son of Holy Russia;

Rejoice, adopted son of North America;

Rejoice, initiator of the monastic way in our land;

Rejoice, zealous preacher of the Orthodox Faith;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 4

O Venerable Father Herman, you endured storms of evil attacks and sorrows, by your efforts you persevered in this new land. Therefore, Christ glorified you with the gift of foresight, enriching you with miracles, granting you the Kingdom of Heaven where, together with the angels, you praise God in song: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

Hearing of the miracles revealed to your people when a forest fire and tidal wave were made to cease by your prayers, we implore you from the depths of our hearts and entreat you to aid us who call toyou:

Rejoice, ascetic and prophet glorified by God;

Rejoice, holy favorite of God;

Rejoice, our intercessor and healer;

Rejoice, helper of many who called out to you;

Rejoice, healer of many afflicted and suffering;

Rejoice, our merciful and humble father;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 5

O Venerable One, you shone like the North Star on Spruce Island, the New Valaam, illuminating all of America with the brightness of your love and prayer, full of God’s power, so that from every cornerof it the Orthodox people will sing fervently to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

Observing your humility, all are in awe of you, O Father Herman, for your rigorous asceticism and perseverance in monastic struggles. In this you followed the example of Anthony of the Caves, the founder of monasticism in Russia, even as he that of Anthony the Great, the first monk of the world. You, the founder of monasticism in our land, chose in your great humility, the way of a simple monk. Therefore, the holy choir of hierarchs and hieromonks sings these songs of praise to you:

Rejoice, founder of monasticism in our land;

Rejoice, imitator of Anthony the Great and Anthony of the Caves;

Rejoice, crowned, as they were, with heavenly glory;

Rejoice, founder of a glorious hermitage;

Rejoice, source of holy relics for the faithful;

Rejoice, fountain of miracles for all the world;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 6

The wilderness of the north proclaims your works and miracles, revealing you to be a new branch of the vineyard of the Church of Russia in America. The forests and wilderness are permeated withyour prayers. Following the example of the ancient hermits, you cried out in the silence of the night to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

You enlightened a people who were living in darkness; you showed them an example of the monastic way of life. O our godbearing Father Herman, pray that we all, giving thanks to the Lord, mayceaselessly sing you these words of praise:

Rejoice, first saint of our land;

Rejoice, founder of the monastic way in our land;

Rejoice, faithful servant of the Holy Trinity;

Rejoice, humble founder of the church of the Resurrection;

Rejoice, glorious hermit of the hermitage of Spruce Island;

Rejoice, loving father of the children who came to him;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 7

The Lord chose you, O Venerable One, to bring the light of the knowledge of God to the land of the Aleuts and there to sow the seeds of the Orthodox faith. You taught all to embrace the true faith and tocall out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Having reached the heights through prayer, O Venerable One, you did not forget the needs of others. You manifested great concern for homeless orphans, building an orphanage and a school for them andtaught them the commandments of the Lord. In gratitude to God for your labors, accept from us these praises:

Rejoice, defender of the poor and orphaned;

Rejoice, their good protector;

Rejoice, builder of a home for the orphaned;

Rejoice, servant to God with your labors;

Rejoice, provider of earthly bread to the orphaned;

Rejoice, nourisher of orphans with words of eternal life;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 8

The Lord who loves mankind, O Venerable One, gave you the gifts of foresight and healing in His desire to manifest through you a source of compassion for his people. You showed them the love of God through your works and many words of instruction. Illumined by the light of your spiritual labors, the people called to the Lord: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

The people transformed by the light of the Christian Faith, came to you in times of illness and sorrow. As a father who loved his children, you interceded for all, bringing forth healing and comfort to allwho came to you for help. Your glory has gone forth into all the earth and we, your spiritual children, glorify you with these words:

Rejoice, our merciful father;

Rejoice, our unmercenary and gracious physician;

Rejoice, merciful healer of our infirmities;

Rejoice, our speedy helper in time of trouble and need;

Rejoice, foreseer of coming events as of the present;

Rejoice, perceptive reprover of hidden transgressions;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 9

You spoke with the angels, O Venerable One, and revealed how angels came to you in your hermitage and you had sweet conversation with them. Now you are in the Kingdom of Heaven where with hosts of angels you pray ceaselessly to the Creator: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

Who can enumerate the miracles witnessed by your people? The waves of the sea and a fire in the forest were calmed by your prayers. When there was a great tidal wave, you caused the stormy seas to cease by your prayers before the icon of the Mother of God, saying: The water shall not go beyond this line.” Therefore, we sing to you thus:

Rejoice, wondrous pacifier of the waters;

Rejoice, deliverer from the threat of fire;

Rejoice, safe harbor for the hierarch Innocent who called to you from the sea;

Rejoice, for through your prayers the wind at sea was calmed;

Rejoice, source of many miracles during your life;

Rejoice, fount of many miracles even after your death;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 10

We bring to you a song of praise, O Venerable Father, concerning your righteous life. We sing praises of your honored death. You foreknew the day and hour of your blessed end. Most glorious also was your burial. For forty days a great storm raged at sea and your prophecy concerning your burial was fulfilled. Your disciple Gerasim, sensing a wondrous fragrance at the time of your death, sang to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

You were a most glorious doer of wonders during your life, O Father. At your death you manifested this wondrous miracle: your body remained incorrupt in the chapel for many days after your death. The Aleut people who saw a flaming pillar ascending to Heaven at the hour of your death, sang to you thus:

Rejoice, for your righteous end has assured us of your holiness;

Rejoice, for your ascension to Heaven was like a pillar of fire;

Rejoice, for your relics, exuding a fragrance of sanctity, remain as our inheritance;

Rejoice, for many miracles are made manifest at your reliquary;

Rejoice, for you have provided us with a source of holy water and healing;

Rejoice, for from this water many who are afflicted receive healing;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 11

O Holy Father, from your hermitage in the north, in the midst of the wilds of nature, you sang ceaseless praises to the Holy Trinity. Moved by the Spirit, you foresaw the great flowering of this vineyard planted in the soil of America and you called out with the angels of Heaven: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

To all future members of the monastic order, you are a source of light and inspiration. For you foretold, O Venerable One, the founding of a monastery and of an Archbishop’s throne in this land. Today a choir of hierarchs and of monastics glorifies you in these words:

Rejoice, instructor of monastics and converser with angels;

Rejoice, most glorious founder of the ascetic way in our land;

Rejoice, foreseer of the growth of this great vineyard of Christ;

Rejoice, fulfillment of this prophecy to the coming generations;

Rejoice, giver of a true image of the monastic way;

Rejoice, for your love is made manifest to all;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 12

Seeing your grace and your great boldness before God, we entreat you, O Venerable Father Herman, to pray fervently to the Lord, that He will protect His Holy Church from faithlessness and schism, from false teaching and willfulness, that we may sing to God Who has dealt bountifully with us: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

We praise your glorification, O Venerable One, we bless you, O most powerful intercessor and protector of our Church, and with love we sing to you:

Rejoice, protector of all who honor you;

Rejoice, speedy intercessor and helper to all;

Rejoice, founder of Orthodoxy in our land;

Rejoice, confirmation of those who come to the Orthodox Faith;

Rejoice, most glorious protector of the Church in America;

Rejoice, her first saint and her wondrous Father;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 13

O Most glorious favorite of God, Our Venerable Father Herman, accept this humble prayer we offer up in praise to you. Standing now before the Throne of the Almighty Lord, ceaselessly pray for us.  In joy we sing to God: Alleluia,

(Thrice)

(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)

Rejoice, instructor of monastics and converser with angels;

Rejoice, most glorious founder of the ascetic way in our land;

Rejoice, foreseer of the growth of this great vineyard of Christ;

Rejoice, fulfillment of this prophecy to the coming generations;

Rejoice, giver of a true image of the monastic way;

Rejoice, for your love is made manifest to all;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 12

Seeing your grace and your great boldness before God, we entreat you, O Venerable Father Herman, to pray fervently to the Lord, that He will protect His Holy Church from faithlessness and schism, from

false teaching and willfulness, that we may sing to God Who has dealt bountifully with us: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

We praise your glorification, O Venerable One, we bless you, O most powerful intercessor and protector of our Church, and with love we sing to you:

Rejoice, protector of all who honor you;

Rejoice, speedy intercessor and helper to all;

Rejoice, founder of Orthodoxy in our land;

Rejoice, confirmation of those who come to the Orthodox Faith;

Rejoice, most glorious protector of the Church in America;

Rejoice, her first saint and her wondrous Father;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 13

O Most glorious favorite of God, Our Venerable Father Herman, accept this humble prayer we offer up in praise to you. Standing now before the Throne of the Almighty Lord, ceaselessly pray for us. In

joy we sing to God: Alleluia.

(Thrice)

(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)