Herman of Alaska (Page 15 of 16)

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The creole Constantine, when he was not more than twelve years old, was asked by Father Herman, “My beloved one, what do you think; this chapel which they are now building, will it ever stand empty?” The youngster answered, “I do not know, ‘Apa.” “And indeed,” said Constantine, “I did not understand his question at that time, even though that whole conversation with the Elder remains vivid in my memory.” The Elder remained silent for a short time, and then said, “My child remember, in time in this place there will be a monastery.”

Father Herman said to his disciple the Aleut Ignaty Aiigyaga, “Thirty years shall pass after my death, and all those living on Spruce Island will have died, but you alone will remain alive. You will be old and poor when I will be remembered.” And indeed after the death of Father Herman thirty years passed when they were reminded of him, and they began to gather information and facts about him; on the basis of which was written his life. “It is amazing,” exclaims Ignaty, “how a man like us could know all this so long before it happened! However, no, he was no ordinary man! He knew our thoughts, and involuntarily he led us to the point where we revealed them to him, and we received counsel from him!”

“When I die,” said the Elder to his disciples, “you will bury me alongside Father Joasaph. You will bury me by yourself, for you will not wait for the priest! Do not wash my body. Lay it on a board, clasp my hands over my chest, wrap me in my ‘mantia’ (the monk’s outer cloak), and with its wings cover my face and place the ‘klobuk’ on my head. (The ‘klobuk’ is the monastic head-dress.) If anyone wishes to bid farewell to me, let them kiss the Cross. Do not show my face to anyone . . .”


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