The little harbor where the monks keep their trusty boat ìArchangelî, which they built out of aluminum with the help of some local boat makers.
St. Michael's Skete on the south side of Spruce Island, a couple of hours walk from Monks Lagoon to the east.
The main upper floor area of St. Michael's Skete. Notice the radio to the right. There are no phones, and electricity is very limited, by solar power only.
Looking left into one of the guest cells, and right into the chapel.
The trapeza (kitchen and dining area) on the lower level of St. Michael's Skete.
A newly built cell at St. Michael's Skete, with an Icon of St. Herman of Alaska in the foreground.
Thomas Reese and Fr. Andrew resting on the back porch of St. Michael's Skete.
A view of Kodiak Island from St. Michael's Skete.
The Trapeza and main ìgathering placeî for pilgrims on St. Nilus island, on which is located St. Nilus Skete. This is a women's monastery, a dependency of New Valaam Monastery (as is the men's Skete of St. Michael).
Heading out of the little harbor to Monks Lagoon.
Father Martyrios and Thomas Reese.
Fr. Andrew, with Monks Rock in the left background. Kodiak Island is in the distance.
Monks Rock, on the southeastern tip of Spruce Island, enroute to Monks Lagoon.
Our first glimpse of Monks Lagoon, with the unfinished monastery barely visible. The monastery was built in part by New Valaam Monastery and is currently maintained by them. May God grant that one day monasticism will flourish in Monks Lagoon. Through the prayers of St. Herman of Alaska!
The gate to the Meeting of the Lord Chapel on Monks Lagoon. It was built some years ago on the probable site of a church built by St. Herman. The Meeting of the Lord was St. Herman's favorite Feast Day.
Walking to the Meeting of the Lord Chapel.
Iconographic frescoes inside the Meeting of the Lord Chapel.
Silver salmon are running in mid-September. A fresh water stream flowed down the middle of the beach into the lagoon. Innumerable salmon were constantly attempting to spawn up this shallow stream.
The unfinished monastic building on Monks Lagoon, which contains a trapeza, chapel, small library, and sleeping areas for at least a dozen people.
Sea vegetables strewn across the beach.
The beach at Monks Lagoon. One wonders how closely it resembles the time when St. Herman walked upon it over 200 years ago.
The main path from the beach to where St. Herman lived and died. This path existed during his time.
The kellia (monastic cell) built by Fr. Gerasim (Schmaltz; +1969), who spent thirty-five years here as a hermit, faithfully tending to the site where St. Herman lived, his relics, etc.
The grave of Fr. Gerasim and Fr. Peter Kreta, a beloved parish Priest from the area.
This Cross marks the site where St. Herman had his small monastic cell.
Inside Fr. Gerasim's cell.
Inside the chapel dedicated to the Kaluga Icon of the Mother of God, which was built by Fr. Gerasim.
The Kaluga Icon of the Mother of God.
One of several 17th century Icons in the chapel.
St. Herman's spring, which flowed during his time. These holy waters have healed many people.
Father Andrew offering a weary pilgrim a drink of refreshing spring water.
A view of Fr. Gerasim's cell from the spring.
An Icon of Christ along the path to the Chapel over the grave of St. Herman.
Sts. Sergius & Herman of Valaam Chapel, built over the site of St. Herman's resting place. Notice the brownish rectangular door below the second window. This door opens to allow pilgrims to crawl under and venerate his grave, and ask for his heavenly intercessions.
The beautiful doors and chapel bell, casted by the expert craftsmen of All Saints of America Bells (http://www.orthobells.com/).
The Altar inside Sts. Sergius & Herman of Valaam Chapel.
An epitaphion for St. Herman, placed over the reliquery that used to house his relics until they were moved to Holy Resurrection Church (OCA) in Kodiak. May God grant that one day the Saint's relics will return to his beloved Spruce Island.
Looking through the little door under the Chapel at the grave of St. Herman.
The grave of St. Herman. Pilgrims take soil from his grave. The grace of the Saint's relics have sanctified this holy soil, which has been a source of healing for many people (either through mixing a little soil with water and drinking it, or by making some mud and anointing one's body).
The Chapel inside the monastic house at Monks Lagoon.
Silver Salmon that successfully reached the spawning area.
A Silver Salmon attempting to spawn up the shallow stream that runs over the beach at Monks Lagoon.
Fr. Andrew cooking up something tasty at Monks Lagoon.
A monastic cell built in the Alutiiq (a.k.a., Aleut) tradition of barabaras. These cozy dwellings are built into the side of a hill and have an earthen roof.
A scene from Icon Bay, which is next to Monks Lagoon. It is on a beach in this bay that St. Herman placed an Icon of the Mother of God (now lost) and prayed that God would not allow an inbound tidal wave to go past it. His prayers were answered, and the island was spared a catastrophe. This is one of the reasons why he is known as St. Herman ìthe Wonderworker.î
An Icon to unknown Saints along a path on St. Nilus Island.
Waiting patiently for Silver Salmon to jump in a secluded lagoon on Spruce Island.
Thomas Reese holding one end of the net while we attempt a beach seine to catch Silver Salmon in Icon Bay.
Colby Kuschatka, pilgrim and professional photographer (http://www.cdkimaging.com), shooting the fishing action. The splash from a jumping Silver is visible to the left of center.
Colby: ìWhat a haul!î Twenty-three in all.