Herman of Alaska was a Russian Orthodox monk from Valaam Monastery in Russia who traveled with eight other monks in 1793 to bring the Gospel to the native Aleuts and Eskimos in the Aleutian Islands. As part of the Russian colonization of the Americas, Russians had been exploring and trading there since at least 1740. Thus, he marks the first arrival of Orthodox Christian missionaries in North America. He built a school for the Aleutians, and he often defended them from the injustices and exploitation of the Russian traders. He was known to them as Apa which means "Grandfather." He lived most of his life as the sole resident of Spruce Island, a tiny wooded island near Kodiak Island.
St. Herman of Alaska icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saint Herman of Alaska (2).
Commemorated December 13.
Saint Herman (his name is a variant of Germanus) was born near Moscow in 1756. In his youth he became a monk, first at the Saint Sergius Hermitage near Saint Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland; while he dwelt there, the most holy Mother of God appeared to him, healing him of a grave malady. Afterwards he entered Valaam Monastery on Valiant Island in Lake Ladoga; he often withdrew into the wilderness to pray for days at a time. In 1794, answering a call for missionaries to preach the Gospel to the Aleuts, he came to the New World with the first Orthodox mission to Alaska.
He settled on Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam, and here he persevered, even in the face of many grievous afflictions mostly at the hands of his own countrymen in the loving service of God and of his neighbour. Besides his many toils for the sake of the Aleuts, he subdued his flesh with great asceticism, wearing chains, sleeping little, fasting and praying much. He brought many people to Christ by the example of his life, his teaching, and his kindness and sanctity, and was granted the grace of working miracles and of prophetic insight. Since he was not a priest, Angels descended at Theophany to bless the waters in the bay; Saint Herman used this holy water to heal the sick.
Because of his unwearying missionary labors, which were crowned by God with the salvation of countless souls, he is called the Enlightener of the Aleuts, and has likewise been renowned as a wonderworker since his repose in 1837.
St. Hermione the Virgin Martyr icon.
Orthodox icon of Saint Hermione (Ermione) the Virgin-Martyr.
Commemorated September 4th.
St. Hierotheos icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Hierotheos, Bishop of Athens.
Commemorated October 4.
The Hiero-martyr Hierotheus, the first Bishop of Athens, was a member of the Athenian Areopagos and was converted to Christ by the Apostle Paul together with St Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3). The saint was consecrated by the Apostle Paul to the rank of bishop. According to Tradition, Bishop Hierotheus was present with St Dionysius at the funeral of the Most Holy Theotokos. St Hierotheus died a martyr's death in the first century.
St. Hierotheus icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saint Hierotheus, Hierotheos. Icon of 14th cent. Protato Karyes Mount Athos.
Commemorated October 4th.
St. Hilarion the Great icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Hilarion of Gaza, the Great.
Commemorated October 21.
Saint Hilarion the Great was born in the year 291 in the Palestinian village of Tabatha. He was sent to Alexandria to study. There he became acquainted with Christianity and was baptized. After hearing an account of the angelic life of St Anthony the Great (January 17), Hilarion went to meet him, desiring to study with him and learn what is pleasing to God. Hilarion soon returned to his native land to find that his parents had died. After distributing his family’s inheritance to the poor, Hilarion set out into the desert surrounding the city of Maium.
In the desert the monk struggled intensely with impure thoughts, vexations of the mind and the burning passions of the flesh, but he defeated them with heavy labor, fasting and fervent prayer. The devil sought to frighten the saint with phantoms and apparitions. During prayer St Hilarion heard children crying, women wailing, the roaring of lions and other wild beasts. The monk perceived that it was the demons causing these terrors in order to drive him away from the wilderness. He overcame his fear with the help of fervent prayer. Once, robbers fell upon St Hilarion, and he persuaded them to forsake their life of crime through the power of his words.
Soon all of Palestine learned about the holy ascetic. The Lord granted to St Hilarion the power to cast out unclean spirits. With this gift of grace he loosed the bonds of many of the afflicted. The sick came for healing, and the monk cured them free of charge, saying that the grace of God is not for sale (MT 10:8).
Such was the grace that he received from God that he could tell by the smell of someone’s body or clothing which passion afflicted his soul. They came to St Hilarion wanting to save their soul under his guidance. With the blessing of St Hilarion, monasteries began to spring up throughout Palestine. Going from one monastery to another, he instituted a strict ascetic manner of life.
About seven years before his death (+ 371-372) St Hilarion moved back to Cyprus, where the ascetic lived in a solitary place until the Lord summoned him to Himself.
St. Hilda of Whitby icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Hilda of Whitby. Contemporary icon
Commemorated November 17.
Saint Hilda is the spiritual Mother of the Orthodox Church of England. She was the daughter of Heretic, who was nephew of King Edwin of Northumbria,one of the Kings of the seven Kingdoms that England had at that time, time that the country was coming out of idolatry. Hilda, like her great-uncle, King Edwin, became Christian and was baptized through the preaching of St. Paulinus of York, who was a missionary from Rome, about the year 627, when she was thirteen years old.
For thirty years she cultivated the virtues of the Holy Gospel, by staying among the people until the time she accepted her calling from God and decided to leave everything worldly behind, her family and her country.
She went to the kingdom of East England, where the King was her Brother in Law, having the will to go to France and become a nun to the Monastery of Chelles in Gaul near Paris, which was one of the Monasteries that were under the spiritual guidance of the Monastery of Luxeuil that was established by Saint Columbine. Saint Alban, Bishop of the island Lindisfarne, the center of the ecclesiastical life of British Islands at that time, asked Saint Hilda to go back to own country and gave her a small piece of land, in which she spend 1 year guiding a small group of virgins. After leading a monastic life for a year on the north bank of the Wear and her talents was tested, was assigned to her the spiritual guidance of the bigger sisterhood of the Monastery of Hartlepool where she ruled a double monastery of monks and nuns with great success, Hilda eventually undertook to set in order a monastery at Streaneshalch, a place to which the Danes a century or two later gave the name Monastery of Whitby.
Under the rule and the spiritual guidance of Saint Hilda, the Monastery at Whitby became very famous. Bishop Alban, Kings, Princess and many people from the surrounding area, visited very often the Monastery to receive spiritual advices and guidance form her. The Holy Scriptures were specially studied there, and no less than five of her monastics became bishops, among them St. John, Bishop of Hexham, and St. Wilfrid, Bishop of York.
In Whitby, in 664, was held the famous synod which confirmed, among other issues, the manner of calculating the date of Pascha. The fame of St. Hilda's wisdom was so great that from far and near monks and even royal personages came to consult her.
Seven years before her death Saint was stricken down with a grievous fever which never left her till she breathed her last, but, in spite of this, she neglected none of her duties to God or to her spiritual children. She passed away at November 17 of 680, at the age of 66, most peacefully after receiving the Holy Mysteries of Christ, and the tolling of the monastery bell was heard miraculously at Hackness thirteen miles away, where also a devout nun named Begu saw the soul of Saint Hilda taken to heaven by angels.
Saint Hilda, together with Saint Ebba of Coldingham, is one of the great figures of the Anglo-Saxon Christianity and offers a very rare example of the spiritual Mother- Abbess, who received the gift from God to lead and offer spiritual guidance not only to nuns, but monks and even Bishops “there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians: 3-28)
From: “The new Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church" of Simonopetra.
3rd Volume-November, pages 197-199
St. Hope Icon
Icon of Saint Hope, Elpis, Helpis, Elpida, Επλίδα.
Commemorated September 17th.
One of the three daughters of Saint Sophia the Martyr (died 137 AD). Saint Sophia had three daughters: Faith (age 12), Hope (age 10) and Love (age 9). Saint Sophia watched her daughters tortured to death from the eldest to the youngest under the reign of Hadrian (117-138).
The Holy Mothers icon
Orthodox icon of the Holy Mothers, Emilia, Anthousa and Nonna