Father German

Orthodoxy was not brought to America by a prearranged missionary enterprise. It was not connected to political interests. It went almost unnoticed by the contemporaries. But among the humble monks who arrived at Kodiak in 1794, there was a Saint -- a man through whom God's grace shines with particular brightness.

The Church has no power to "make saints." She can only recognize them and render them a proper homage. Many saints, we know, are never "canonized," but their eternal glory in the eyes of God is not diminished if men failed to see their glory. When the recognition of a saint is obviously possible, when it appears as a necessity and as evidence to generations of contemporaries, the Church renders thanks to God for His mercy in revealing to us His mighty acts: such a recognition, or "canonization," is a grace to us, not the saint himself, who does not need human glory. In a canonization, it is we who acquire the opportunity to ask for his intercession.

In the Orthodox Church recognition of new saints generally starts with popular veneration and acceptance. Only then does the hierarchy act -- after careful study and patient examination -- to permit a solemn liturgical glorification. The process of recognition, by the people and the hierarchy, must take place in the very local church where the saint lived and to which he belonged.

The blessed monk German has been venerated ever since his death by the Orthodox Aleuts, among whom he preached the Gospel and among whom he died.

It is now the task and the duty of all American Orthodox Christians, of all backgrounds and jurisdictions, to pay him honor and to ask for his prayers. All of us, our entire Church, our present and our future, need Father German as our heavenly patron.

In announcing well in advance the date of his solemn glorification, the Great Council of Bishops gives to all an ample opportunity to be ready for the event. It hopes that 1970, by the prayers of the blessed monk German, will mark a new and holy beginning for a united American Orthodoxy.

Fr. John Meyendorff
The Orthodox Church
April 1969.


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