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Hermogenes (Germogen), Patriarch of Moscow

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February 17

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Our Father among the Saints Hermogenes (Germogen), Patriarch of Moscow, was born about 1530 in Kazan. While yet a layman, he lived as a clerk in the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Kazan. In 1569, the year that Metropolitan Philip of Moscow was slain in Tver (see Jan. 9), Saint Barsanuphius, Bishop of Tver, fled to Kazan fearing the wrath of Ivan the Terrible. So Hermogenes became a spiritual son of Saint Barsanuphius. He was made priest of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Kazan, and was a witness of the miracles of the newly-appeared icon of our Lady of Kazan (see July 8). Later he became Abbot of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, and in 1589 was consecrated Metropolitan of Kazan, in which capacity he converted and baptized many pagan Tartars and heterodox.

In late 1604, the so-called false Dimitry, a pretender to the Russian throne who claimed to be the son of Ivan the Terrible (who had died in 1584), crossed the Russian border, having the support of the Jesuits and King Sigismund III of Poland, who hoped through Dimitry to force Papism upon the Russian people; a few cities, such as Chernigov, soon surrendered to him. Shaken by these calamities, Tsar Boris Gudonov died suddenly, and in June, 1605, the pretender entered Moscow and took the Russian throne. He then declared his intention to marry a Polish woman without her receiving Baptism in the Orthodox Church; when the authorities and the hierarchy remained silent out of fear, it was Metropolitan Hermogenes alone who fearlessly rebuked him and demanded that she renounce Papism and be baptized according to the rites of Orthodoxy. For this, Hermogenes was banished to Kazan. In 1606 Prince Basil Shuisky led the people in the overthrow of Dimitry, and Basil was elected Tsar in Moscow; Hermogenes was made Patriarch of Moscow. The overthrow of Dimitry did not end the endeavours of the Poles to subject Russia to themselves, and in those times of upheavals, treachery, and bloodshed, the valiant Patriarch Hermogenes showed himself to be a great spiritual leader of the people, and, like Saint Philip of Moscow almost half a century before, the conscience of Orthodox Russia in times of betrayal and terror.

In 1609 King Sigismund succeeded in setting his son upon the Russian throne, and Patriarch Hermogenes again insisted that the new Tsar be baptized in the Orthodox Church, marry an Orthodox Christian, and have no dealings with the Pope. The Poles, together with rebel boyars who supported them, imprisoned Patriarch Hermogenes in an underground chamber of the Chudov Monastery during Holy Week of 1611, where they slowly starved him to death; he gave up his holy soul on February 17, 1612.

In 1653, his holy relics were found incorrupt; in 1812, when Napoleon captured Moscow, the Saint's tomb was desecrated in the search for treasure; when the French withdrew, the Patriarch's holy body was found intact on the floor of the cathedral; in 1883 his holy relics were again found whole. Saint Hermogenes was glorified on May 12, 1913, and added to the choir of holy hierarchs of Moscow, whose feast is celebrated on October 5; at the time of his glorification a multitude of miracles were wrought through his incorrupt relics.

Apolytikion of Hermogenes Patriarch of Moscow in the Fourth Tone

O first Hierarch of the Russian land and unsleeping man of prayer for her, having laid down thy life for the Faith of Christ and for thy flock, thou didst make firm the dominion of its sovereigns and didst deliver thy country from godlessness. Wherefore, we cry out to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Hieromartyr Hermogenes our Father.

Kontakion of Hermogenes Patriarch of Moscow in the Plagal of the Second Tone

Though spent by imprisonment and hunger, thou didst abide in the Faith even unto death, O blessed Hermogenes, thereby casting cowardice out of the hearts of thy people and calling all to the common struggle. Hence, thou didst put down the turmoil of the godless and didst make firm the scepter of the kingdom. Wherefore, all cry to thee: Rejoice, O intercessor for the Russian land.