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Fr. Herman (Podmoshensky) dies


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#1 Christophoros

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 03:00 PM

Fr. Herman (Podmoshensky) dies

 

Minneapolis, June 30, 2014

 

 

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This morning in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fr. Herman (Podmoshensky), co-founder with Fr. Seraphim (Rose) and first abbot of the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California, reposed. Fr. Herman had suffered for at least a decade from Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, and had noticeably weakened within the past several years. He died at age eighty.

 

One of the most controversial figures in American Orthodoxy today, Fr. Herman was loved by many, but disregarded by others for his violation of Church canons and remaining in disobedience to his ecclesiastical superiors in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). He was defrocked by ROCOR in 1988. Fr. Herman’s missionary work continued, in fact bringing many people into the Orthodox faith.

 

Fr. Herman, born Gleb Dimitrievich Podmoshensky in Riga, Latvia, lost his father to the Communist camps. When the German army occupied Latvia during World War II, he fled with his mother and sister to Germany and the misery of being displaced persons. At age fourteen, he and his family went to the United States to be united with his grandmother, an accomplished ballet dancer, who had earlier immigrated to New York City. Gleb returned to the Orthodox faith of his ancestors as a young adult in America, and graduated from seminary at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York.

 

Having met Eugene Rose—the future Fr. Seraphim—in San Francisco, the two began publishing an English language periodical called The Orthodox Word, and opened a small Orthodox bookstore near the Holy Virgin Cathedral in that city. Living under the guidance of St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco, they resolved after his repose to settle in the wilderness and live the monastic life. After searching for a suitable place, they decided to purchase a parcel of land in northern California, Shasta County. Eventually they would be tonsured monks and ordained priests of ROCOR. Fr. Seraphim reposed in 1982, and Fr. Herman took a turn for the worse not long afterward, leading the monastery brotherhood away from its canonical bishop and finally stepping down from the abbacy in 2000.

The St. Herman of Alaska Monastery now continues its monastic life under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The brotherhood currently numbers about twelve. A women’s monastic skete not far from the monastery was also largely his creation, as were two more communities on Spruce Island in Alaska, one for men and the other for women. All three of these communities are now also in the Serbian Orthodox Church.

 

Besides founding the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery and starting The Orthodox Word, which is still published by the monastery, Fr. Herman renewed the pre-revolutionary Russian language journal entitled Russky Palomnik, or “Russian Pilgrim”. The journal’s launch coincided with the perestroika era in Russia, and it was sent to that country of its origin were Orthodox literature had become scarce, enjoying there immense popularity. Possessing extensive archives of émigré literature and manuscripts, Fr. Herman continued compiling issues of the Russky Palomnik to his final days. The St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood has also published a substantial number of books using material collected by Fr. Herman, notably a series on the Optina Elders.

 

The venue and date of Fr. Herman’s funeral is still being decided. His wish was to be buried in the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California. Those who were with him in his final days ask all to pray for his soul’s repose.

 

http://www.pravoslav...glish/71886.htm



#2 Owen Jones

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:49 AM

I remember him with great fondness.  He heard my confession once but actually ended up making my confession for me!



#3 Ben Johnson

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:49 PM

Eternal be his memory.



#4 Cyprian Crawford

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 05:34 PM

"Fr. Herman was loved by many, but disregarded by others for his violation of Church canons and remaining in disobedience to his ecclesiastical superiors in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). He was defrocked by ROCOR in 1988."


"Fr. Seraphim reposed in 1982, and Fr. Herman took a turn for the worse not long afterward, leading the monastery brotherhood away from its canonical bishop and finally stepping down from the abbacy in 2000."

All these events transpired long before I came to learn of Orthodox Christianity, so I am trying to piece together what happened here.
It is stated that Fr. Herman was defrocked by ROCOR in 1988, but also that "not long afterward" (of Fr. Seraphim's repose) Fr. Herman led the monastery away from its canonical bishop.

Where did Fr. Herman lead the monastery, and when?   If Fr. Herman led the brotherhood away from its canonical bishop one would think he would have been defrocked almost immediately, and not six years after Fr. Seraphim's repose.

The only thing that would make sense is if "not long afterward" refers to 5 or 6 years.

Thanks for any help understanding the history.



#5 Father David Moser

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 02:37 PM

The history runs something like this:  Frs Seraphim and Herman establish their skete in the mountains of N. California near Platina.  They are both (reluctantly iirc) ordained to the priesthood (in order to support the missionary work they had begun).  Fr Seraphim grows ill and dies (1982 - as mentioned).  Fr Herman, who had always been a little on the radical side, was no longer restrained by his co-monastic and shortly thereafter "withdrew" from the diocese, opting for an affiliation with a "vagante" bishop (in this case a defrocked Greek priest who declared himself a bishop).  SchemaArchbishop Anthony of SF, Fr Herman's rightful bishop (and imo, a living saint even then), tried for many years to reconcile Fr Herman with the Church, but was consistently and rudely rebuffed (other clergy of the diocese came to him literally on bended knees begging Fr Herman to reconcile with his bishop - and he turned his back on them).  Finally the Synod of ROCOR had to take some action and reluctantly suspended Fr Herman and when he flagrantly violated that suspension, they defrocked him (which action he refused to recognize since he was under a new "bishop").  After many years, even those following Fr Herman began to realize how irregular the situation was and that their "bishop" was in fact not a bishop.  They began leaving this group for a place in the traditional Orthodox Church - parishes ended up in many places, some in the OCA, some with the Patriarch of Bulgaria, some even in ROCOR (but that was rare since Fr Herman had so thoroughly poisoned that well).  The monastic institutions (St Herman's and St Paisius' for example) ended up mostly with the Serbs.  Fr Herman eventually realized his error and sought to be received back into the Church - however he did not approach ROCOR but rather the MP (I think) and was received in repentance with the condition of living in isolation (i.e. as a hermit) which he accepted.  That's why he pretty much disappeared from public view until he recently finished his earthly life.

 

Now I'm not at all an expert and the above account is put together from information gathered in multiple conversations with a wide variety of people who had first hand information (so admittedly my info is all second hand at best) so if there are those who know better than I and who can correct me, please do so.

 

Fr David



#6 Steven Harold Orr

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 06:43 PM

May his memory be eternal.

#7 Donna Rail

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 05:06 AM

Memory eternal.




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