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His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the annual Saint Herman Pilgrimage in Alaska on August 7-10, 2023.

The pilgrimage commenced on Monday, August 7, with the arrival of His Beatitude at Anchorage International Airport in the early morning hours. Traveling with His Beatitude was Deacon Vitaly Permiakov, Assistant Professor of Liturgical Theology at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Greeting them were His Grace Bishop Alexei of Sitka and Alaska and his delegation, welcoming them by singing It is Truly Meet and presenting them with Alaskan flowers.

The same day His Beatitude, His Grace, Archpriest Daniel Charles, diocesan chancellor, and other clergy traveled to Kodiak, AK, where they were greeted by the Kodiak Deanery’s clergy and faithful at the Kodiak Airport. Upon his arrival, His Beatitude visited the All Saints of Alaska chapel at Saint Herman’s Seminary, where he observed the recent renovations.

That evening, His Beatitude served the Akathist to Venerable Herman of Alaska at the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak, AK. The service took place before the relics of Saint Herman. The evening concluded with His Beatitude and His Grace exchanging greetings and His Beatitude anointing the faithful.

On the morning of August 8, the feast of the Holy Righteous Yakov Netsvetov (O.C.), His Beatitude presided at the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Holy Resurrection Cathedral. Concelebrating with His Beatitude were His Grace Bishop Alexei, Archpriest Daniel Charles, Archpriest Innocent Dresdow, cathedral dean, and other clergy. The Liturgy was conducted in both English and Church Slavonic, concluding with the hierarchs greeting the participants of the pilgrimage.

At noon, the grand banquet was held at the Afognak Center in Kodiak. After the greeting of His Beatitude, presentations centered around the life of Saint Herman and the oral traditions connected to him preserved by the First People of Alaska. Speakers included Priest Michael Nicolai, Mr. Spyridon Ash and Ms. Daria Safronova, archivist and faculty member of St. Herman’s Seminary. During the banquet, His Beatitude presented His Grace with a donation from the Archdiocesan Choir of Washington, DC, given in honor of His Beatitude on his 57th birthday. His Grace offered concluding remarks and asked participants to support the Alaska diocese’s endeavors.

Later that day, His Beatitude presided at the Vigil for the feast of the websiteGlorification of Saint Herman at the Holy Resurrection Cathedral, with His Grace concelebrating. Following the Gospel reading, the clergy and faithful had the opportunity to venerate the holy relics of Saint Herman and were anointed with holy oil.

The pilgrimage continued on the feast day itself, August 9, as His Beatitude, His Grace, clergy and pilgrims traveled by boat to Spruce Island, the site of Saint Herman’s ascetic endeavors and his original burial place, where they were greeted at Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam chapel.

His Beatitude then presided at the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, sung in Aleutic, Yup’ik, English, and Slavonic. Concelebrating were His Grace, Archpriest Daniel Charles, Archpriest John Dunlop, and other clergy.

At the end of the service, His Beatitude read a kneeling prayer before the icon depicting the repose of St Herman. A Panikhida was also served by His Grace on the graves of Archimandrite Gerasim (Schmalz) and Archpriest Peter Kreta, who are buried on the island. The pilgrimage concluded with a picnic at Monk’s Lagoon.

On Thursday, August 10, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon returned to Anchorage where he stayed for weekend services, in support of the Diocese of Alaska.

Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 13, His Beatitude was greeted by Mr. James Holowatch, Parish Council President, and was welcomed by His Grace, Archpriest Daniel Charles, Priest Peter Kamilos, and the cathedral clergy. Following the Liturgy, His Grace presented His Beatitude with a zapvika set on behalf of Saint Innocent Cathedral. A festal banquet was held in the cathedral hall before His Beatitude’s return to Washington, DC.

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