Baptism of Daniel Lee - 02/01/2021
On Thursday, January 15/28th, we had the great joy of celebrating the baptism of Daniel Lee. Daniel has been attending catechism classes and services at St Herman’s for over two years now and the time was right for his entry into the fulness of the Orthodox faith. His sponsor, Nathaniel Batlle, as well as a few friends were present for Daniel’s baptism. Daniel attended the Liturgy yesterday to receive his first Communion. It is a joyous and inspiring thing that God continues to grow His Holy Church no matter what challenges we may be facing. We pray that Daniel, who served our country as a Marine (as did his sponsor Nathaniel), will bring forward into his Orthodox life the motto of the Marine Corp: ‘Semper Fidelis’ – ‘Always Faithful’.
Pilgrimage to Russia - 09/04/2019
St Herman's Pilgrimage To Russia
After much prayer and preparation, a group of seven pilgrims ventured off to Russia for a two week tour of the holy sites in and around St Peterburg and Moscow.
The group consisted of: Titus and Susan Bradley, Paul and Cathy Kozachenko, Martha Nichols (a dear friend from Oregon), Fr Martin and Matushka Sarah.
We started in St Petersburg, where we toured and prayed in the main cathedrals and churches of that city including: St Isaac’s, the Kazan Cathedral, the Church on the Spilled Blood, St Nicholas’ Naval Cathedral, etc. We visited the Smolenskaya Cemetery where St Xenia’s relics repose. There, we were able to sing her Akathist. Likewise, at St John of Rila Monastery, we venerated the relics of St John of Kronstadt and were able to sing his Akathist. We took a day trip to Kronstadt, where we toured the apartments of St John and visited the enormous Naval Cathedral there. In addition to the holy sites, we toured the Hermitage Museum and Galleries, the Faberge Gallery, the parks and fountains at Peterhof, and enjoyed a boat ride seeing this beautiful city from its waterways. On the weekend, Fr Martin was blessed to serve Vigil and Liturgy at the Kazan Cathedral - celebrating their feast day.
Taking the speed train from St Petersburg, we arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, July 23rd. Our hotels in both cities were very centrally located – in Moscow we were just off the Arbat Street, a very popular pedestrian street with many shops, restaurants, street artists, etc. In Moscow, we again visited the many churches and cathedrals including: Christ the Savior, St Basil’s, the churches of the Kremlin, and numerous churches throughout the neighborhoods. We visited beautiful and holy monasteries including: Novodevichiy, Sretensky, St Elizabeth’s Mary and Martha Convent, St Sergius’ Trinity Lavra, and an unforgettable day trip to Optina Pustyn. We toured the Tretyakov Gallery where we viewed ancient icons including Rublev’s Holy Trinity and the Vladimir Mother of God.
Everywhere we went, we were greeted with genuine warmth and kindness. We had so many encounters with people who knew and loved St John of San Francisco… when they found out we were from California, they were very excited and interested. Fr Martin had been equipped with many bottles of holy oil from St John, so handing these out as gifts and blessings was a tremendous joy and forged spiritual closeness with many.
Speaking with our group of pilgrims, we have all expressed how hard it is to process all that we saw and did, and to understand the deep impressions that have been made upon us all. It was a truly blessed spiritual pilgrimage and it has left an indelible mark on us all.
We are in the process of sorting through the many, many photos taken and intend to have a ‘show and tell’ presentation for the parish in the very near future.
May God grant that the grace-filled experiences of this trip be stored like a treasure in our hearts and that they bear fruit for us and for those with whom we may share our adventures.
Iconography Project - 07/03/2019
Glory to God… work is in progress on our iconography project!
Reader John Edwards, from the Protection of the Mother of God parish in Los Angeles, has begun the work of writing the icons for the Altar wall at St Herman’s. Initial work began almost a year ago when Reader John was here to take measurements and to sketch the layout of the Altar space. Using that as a foundation, he began work in his studio in Los Angeles to construct ‘to scale’ sketches of the icons intended for our church.
Much preparation work was done to select the best themes for the iconography, to research what paints and materials would serve best for this project, and to pass sketches back and forth with Fr Martin to come to an agreed-upon plan for the iconography.
Reader John has been commuting back and forth from LA for the past month or more now to begin the work. Some of the first images are beginning to take shape and they are looking wonderful! There is much, much more to come and we ask that all keep Reader John in their prayers – that God will guide and guard him throughout this process… that all will be done prayerfully and in accordance with God’s will.
Please come and see this ambitious and important work as it takes shape!
Check out the Image Gallery here.
St Herman's Feast Day 2018 - 12/30/2018
On December 25th, we celebrated our Parish Feast Day of St Herman of Alaska!
Archbishop KYRILL was greeted with the traditional bread and salt. Several local clergymen were on hand to concelebrate with us and parishioners from neighboring parishes joined in our festal prayers in honor of our patron saint.
Thanks be to God, all went very well. The choir sang beautifully, the services were conducted with grace and reverence, and all in attendance united in prayer.
Following the Liturgy, our Reader Seraphim Chicks received a Gramata and a wood-carved icon in gratitude for his many years of service to our parish. Nadia Ungureanu also received a medal of the Order of St Elizabeth for her years of service to our founder, Archpriest John Ocana, who is ailing. May God grant both of these worthy recipients of honor many, many years!
Afterwards, all went to the neighboring parish hall of St Mark's for a festal meal. Many people participated to make this a great success!
St John of Kronstadt Vespers and Children's Sermon - 11/02/2018
On Wednesday evening, October 31st, we held a Vespers service for the beloved Saint John of Kronstadt.
Following the Vespers service, Father Martin gathered children at the steps to speak to them about the life of St John and to teach them a simple lesson from his writings. St John often taught that evil cannot be defeated by evil, but only by love. Using this theme, Fr Martin told the children a story about a little wooden house that was on fire. Two firetrucks came to the rescue to put out the fire... The fireman from the first truck came with a bucket full of fire and poured the fire onto the burning house. What happened? The fire just got bigger! The fireman from the second truck came with a bucket full of water and poured the water onto the burning house. What happened? The fire was put out by the water! In exactly the same way, when someone is being mean or angry, we must not respond with more meanness and anger. The only thing that will quench that meanness and anger is responding with patience, with peace, and with love.
After the short sermon, the children venerated the icon of St John and each were given a little 'goody bag' full of treats.
It was a beautiful and grace-filled service, offered to our children as an alternative to the ghoulishness being celebrated that Halloween night.
May God protect and preserve the innocence of our young people and shine the light of His grace upon their hearts.
Visit of Hawaii Iveron Icon - 08/15/2018
On Saturday, August 11th, St Herman's was blessed to be visited by the Myrhh-streaming Iveron Icon from Hawaii.
Fr Florin Lapustea and Fr Octavian Mahler led the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. (Fr Martin was in Colorado this weekend... Fr Florin was graciously filling-in and helped facilitate this wondrous blessing of the visit of the icon to our parish.)
May all who had the opportunity to pray before her holy icon, be blessed by the prayers and protection of the Mother of God and may all their prayers and requests be carried forth before the mercy of God!