Sermons & Homilies

To Love God Above All - A Sermon on St. Herman of Alaska (2021)
Today we celebrate the memory of the Venerable Herman of Alaska, the patron saint of North America. There is so much that is praiseworthy in the life of this man of God that one hardly knows where to begin. He was an ascetic who dwelt as an anchorite in the forests from the time of his early childhood. He was a zealous missionary who, like the righteous Abraham, left his home and his fatherland for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, not for himself only but for all of us who have received the precious gift of Orthodoxy on this continent. Though a hermit and a lover of solitude, he nevertheless joyfully took care of his orphans and fearlessly defended the native Aleuts from exploitation by his own people. He was a monk who, out of his deep humility, refused ordination to the priesthood, and so was sent an angel from heaven on the day of the Lord’s Theophany to bless holy water for him. He was a man who lived so wholly in the Kingdom of Heaven even during this earthly life that, when asked whether he ever grew lonely living by himself in his island hermitage, he could not even comprehend how such a thing could be possible, surrounded as he was by such a countless host of angels.
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