The Life of Herman, a Monk of Valaam and a Missionary to America


This hagiographical text tells the story of Herman (1756–1837), a Russian Orthodox missionary to Russian America (present-day Alaska). Little is known for certain of Herman’s early life, but biographers agree that he was tonsured a monk in 1782 at the great Russian Orthodox monastery at Valaam (located on an island in Lake Ladoga, in Russian Karelia). Herman lived for several years as a hermit, before being sent as a missionary to Alaska in 1794. He worked at the mission on Kodiak Island until 1811, when he left to live in a hermitage on nearby Spruce Island. Because of Herman’s reputation as a holy man, many people came to him for advice and prayers. Eventually a community grew up around his hermitage. He was known as a defender of the Aleuts against the Russian-American Company, which used the native Alaskans living on and around Kodiak Island as slave labor. Herman died on Spruce Island in 1836 and was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Herman of Alaska in 1970. His relics are preserved in the Holy Resurrection Cathedral at Kodiak. This book was digitized at the National Library of Russia in the early 2000s for the Meeting of Frontiers digital library project.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Presses of the Magazine "Strannik", Saint Petersburg


Title in Original Language

Жизнь валаамского монаха Германа, американского миссионера

Type of Item

Physical Description

24 pages ; 24 x 15 centimeters

Last updated: December 11, 2017