Friday, May 25, 2012

Holy Hieromartyr Germogen, Patriarch of Moscow and All the Russias

Commemorated on May 12

The Holy Hieromartyr Germogen, Patriarch of Moscow and All the Russias, was glorified into the rank of the saints on 12 May 1913.

During the course of three centuries from generation to generation the memory of Patriarch Germogen as a sainted bishop-martyr was passed on, and popular faith in him grew as an intercessor and supplicant for the Russian land before the Throne of the Almighty. During terrible years of national hardship, the supplicative thought of the nation turned itself to the memory of the heroic Patriarch. The Russian people came to his tomb with their personal tribulations, sickness and infirmity, reverently asking help of sainted Germogen, believing him a fervent suppliant and intercessor before the Lord. And the All‑Merciful Lord rewarded their belief...

Towards the day of his solemn glorification – 300 years from the time of death of the Hieromartyr Germogen, – believers from all ends of Russia began to flock to Moscow. Pilgrims hastened to venerate the relics of the holy Patriarch, located in the Uspensky Sobor (Dormition Cathedral) of the Kremlin, where panikhidas were done almost without interruption. On the eve of the glorification a procession was made, at the head of which they carried an icon of Saint Germogen, and after it a grave-cover, on which the saint was depicted full-length in mantle and with staff. Alongside the icon of the Patriarch they carried an icon of the Monk Dionisy of Radonezh – his fellow-striver in the spiritual and the patriotic deeds in the liberation of the Russian land from Polish-Lithuanian usurpers. At the bell-tower of Ivan the Great was emblazened a tremendous banner: "Rejoice, Hieomartyr Germogen, Great Intercessor of the Russian land". An hundred thousand candles blazed in the hands of believers proclaiming the Saint of God. At the conclusion of the procession, ‑‑ at the shrine with the relics of the Patriarch, they began readings of the Paschal Canon together with an appended Canon to Sainted Germogen.

The all-night vigil was done under the open skies on all the Kremlin squares. On this night there occurred a number of healings through the graced prayers of Holy Germogen. Thus, for example, a certain sick person came to the Uspensky Sobor on crutches, but became aware of healing as he approached the shrine bearing the relics of the Saint. Another sick person was healed, having suffered from terrible crippling. They brought him on a stretcher to the reliquary of the Hieromartyr Germogen, where he received full healing. These and other similar healings, eye-witnessed by a multitude of the faithful, became remarkable proofs of the saintliness of the new Russian wonderworker.

On Sunday, 12 May, at 10:00 in the morning was celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Uspensky Sobor. At the celebration of the solemn glorification of the new Saint was His Beatitude Gregorios, Patriarch of Antioch, presiding over the service. At the finish of Liturgy in all the churches of Moscow there were served moliebens to Holy Germogen and procession made to the Moscow Kremlin, – in which took part more than 20 hierarchs, accompanying the solemn procession singing: "O Holy Hierarch Father Germogen, pray unto God for us". From this day began liturgical veneration of Sainted Germogen. Thus was fulfilled the wish of the faithful Russian people, through whose prayers the Russian Orthodox Church received a beneficent Heavenly Patron of the Fatherland.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Church established as days of celebration to the Hieromartyr Germogen, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus': 17 February – his repose (the account about his life and works are located under this day), and 12 May – his glorification into the ranks of holy hierarchs. He is also commemorated with the Synaxis of the Holy Hierarchs of Moscow on October 5.

Great is the national significance of Saint Germogen, a tireless struggler for the purity of Orthodoxy and the unity of the Russian land. His ecclesial and civil-patriotic activity during the course of several centuries serves as an outstanding example of his ardent faith and love for the Russian people. The ecclesial activity of the Archpastor is characterised by an attentive and strict regard for Divine-services. Under him were published: a Gospel, a Monthly Menaion for September (1607), October (1609), November (1610), and the first twelve days of December, and also there was printed the "Great Primary Ustav / Rule" in 1610. In this Saint Germogen did not limit himself to providing a blessing of the edition, but carefully oversaw the accuracy of the text. With the blessing of Holy Germogen also was translated from Greek into the Russian language the Service to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called (Comm. 30 November) and the celebration of memory was initiated in the Uspensky Sobor. Under the supervision of the Archpastor, there were made new presses for the printing of Divine-service books and a new building for printing was built, – which however was damaged during the time of the 1611 conflagration, when Moscow was burnt by the Poles. Concerned about the order of Divine-services, Saint Germogen compiled a "Missive directed , Saint Germogen compiled a "Missive directed to all the people, especially priests and deacons, about the improvement of Church singing". The "Missive" chastises clergy-servers in the non-ustav doing of Church services – for much-talking, and laypeople for irreverent attitudes towards Divine-services.

The literary activity of the Archpastor of the Russian Church is widely known. He wrote: – An Account about the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the Service to this Icon (1594); A Missive on Patriarch Job, containing an account about the Kazan Martyrs (1591); a collection of articles in which are examined questions about Divine-services (1598); patriotic documents and appeals, directed to the Russian nation (1606-1613), and other works.

The remarks of his contemporaries speak of Patriarch Germogen as a man of outstanding mind and erudition: "a Master of great reason and thought and of sharp mind", "very remarkable and of much deliberation", "very accomplished of wisdom and refined in book learning", "ever concerning himself about Divine literature and all the books about the Old Law and the New Grace, and chasing down to the end various Church ustavs and law principles". Saint Germogen busied himself much in the monastic libraries, foremost of which, – in the very rich library of the Moscow Chudov monastery, where he copied out from ancient manuscripts very precious historical accounts, located in the their original in the chronicle manuscripts. In the XVII Century they called the Chronicle by His Holiness Patriarch Germogen the "Voskresensk Chronicle". In the collected works of the Archpastor of the Russian Church and his arch-pastoral documents there are constantly encountered references to Holy Scripture, and examples taken from history, that testify to his profound knowledge of the Word of God and his erudition in the Church literature of his time.

Patriarch Germogen brought together and displayed aspects from this erudition in his preaching and teaching. The remarks of his contemporaries characterise the moral figure of the Archpastor as "a man of reverence", "of known purity of life", "a true pastor of the flock of Christ", "a sincere upholder of the Christian faith".

These qualities of Saint Germogen were quite especially apparent during the Time of Troubles, when the Russian land was overwhelmed by the misfortune of internal chaos, and worsened by Polish-Lithuanian intrigue. During this dark period, the Archpastor of the Russian Church selflessly guarded the Russian realm, by word and by deed defending the Orthodox Faith from Latinism, from the accursed apostasy of Unia, while also preserving the unity of the Fatherland from enemies both internal and external. For his act of saving his native land, Sainted Germogen won the crown of a martyr's death, having passed over into an Heavenly and graciously prayerful intercessor for our fatherland before the Throne of the Holy Trinity. He was starved to death in a Polish dungeon for refusing to accept their usurper rule of Rus' and condemning the heretical, papal church and the apostasy of the accursed Unia.



St Germogen was born in Kazan around 1530 and was descended from the Don Cossacks. He served as a priest in Kazan in a church dedicated to St Nicholas, near the Kazan bazaar. While he was a priest there in 1579, the wonderworking Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was discovered. With the blessing of Archbishop Jeremiah of Kazan, he carried the newly appeared icon from the place of its discovery to the Church of St Nicholas.

Soon after, he became a monk and from 1582 was made archimandrite of the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery at Kazan.

Metropolitan of Kazan

On May 13, 1589, he was consecrated bishop and became the first Metropolitan of Kazan. In 1591 the saint gathered newly baptized Tatars into the cathedral church, and for several days he instructed them in the Faith.

On January 9, 1592, St Germogen asked Patriarch Job for permission to commemorate in his See of Kazan those Orthodox soldiers who gave their lives for the Faith and the nation in a battle against the Tatars. He mentioned three martyrs who had suffered at Kazan for their faith in Christ, one of whom was a Russian named John (January 24), born at Nizhny Novgorod and captured by the Tatars. The other two, Stephen and Peter (March 24), were newly converted Tatars. The patriarch issued a decree on February 25 which said to celebrate throughout all the Kazan Metropolitanate a panikhida for all the Orthodox soldiers killed at Kazan and the environs of Kazan, on the Saturday following the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (October 1). The patriarch also ordered that the three Kazan martyrs be inscribed in the Synodicon.

St Germogen displayed passion in the observance of Church traditions, and he devoted himself to enlightening the Kazan Tatars with the faith of Christ.


Metropolitan Germogen was elected to the primatial see on July 3, 1606. He was installed as patriarch by the Assembly of the Holy Hierarchs at Moscow's Dormition Cathedral. Metropolitan Isidore handed the patriarch the staff of the Holy Hierarch Peter, Moscow Wonderworker, and the tsar gave as a gift to the new patriarch a panagia embellished with precious stones, a white klobuk, and a staff. Patriarch Germogen made his entrance riding upon a donkey, as was the ancient way.

The new first hierarch devoted all his powers to the service of the Church and the nation. But this was a time of troubles for the Russian state with the appearance of the false Demetrius (or Dmitri, an impostor claiming to be the son of Ivan the Terrible) and the Polish king Sigismund III. The patriarch stood up against the traitors and enemies of the nation, who wanted to spread Uniatism and Western Catholicism throughout the Russias and to wipe out Orthodoxy while enslaving the Russian peoples.

When the impostor arrived at Moscow and settled himself at Tushino, Patriarch Germogen sent two letters to the Russian traitors reminding them of their Faith and their country. False Dmitri was killed by his own close associates on December 11, 1610. But Moscow continued to remain in peril, since the Poles and traitors, loyal to Sigismund III, remained in the city.

Documents sent by Patriarch Germogen throughout the cities and villages urged the Russian nation to liberate Moscow and to choose a lawful Russian tsar. The Muscovites rose up in rebellion. The Poles burned the city, shutting themselves up in the Kremlin. Together with Russian traitors, they forcefully seized Patriarch Germogen and imprisoned him in the Chudov Monastery.

While still in prison, the Hieromartyr Germogen sent a final epistle to the Russian nation, blessing the liberating army to fight the invaders. He suffered for more than nine months in confinement, and on February 17, 1612, he died a martyr's death from starvation and maltreatment at the hands of the Poles and their traitorous confederates. The body of the hieromartyr was buried in the Chudov Monastery and in 1654 before being transferred to the Moscow Dormition Cathedral. The glorification of Patriarch Germogen occurred on May 12, 1913.

+Holy Father Germogen of Moscow, pray to GOD for us!

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