Hermogenes of Moscow

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Synaxis of the Hierarchs of Moscow
Our father among the saints Hieromartyr Hermogenes (or Germogen) (+ 1612) was the Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia from 1606 to 1612. He is commemorated by the Church on February 17 and May 12, also with the Synaxis of the Hierarchs of Moscow on October 5.


St Hermogenes was born in Kazan around 1530 and was descended from the Don Cossacks. He served as a priest in Kazan in a church dedicated to St Nicholas, near the Kazan bazaar. While he was a priest there in 1579, the wonderworking Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was discovered. With the blessing of Archbishop Jeremiah of Kazan, he carried the newly appeared icon from the place of its discovery to the Church of St Nicholas.

Soon after, he became a monk and from 1582 was made archimandrite of the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery at Kazan.

Metropolitan of Kazan

On May 13, 1589, he was consecrated bishop and became the first Metropolitan of Kazan. In 1591 the saint gathered newly baptized Tatars into the cathedral church, and for several days he instructed them in the Faith.

On January 9, 1592, St Hermogenes asked Patriarch Job for permission to commemorate in his See of Kazan those Orthodox soldiers who gave their lives for the Faith and the nation in a battle against the Tatars. He mentioned three martyrs who had suffered at Kazan for their faith in Christ, one of whom was a Russian named John (January 24), born at Nizhny Novgorod and captured by the Tatars. The other two, Stephen and Peter (March 24), were newly converted Tatars. The patriarch issued a decree on February 25 which said to celebrate throughout all the Kazan Metropolitanate a panikhida for all the Orthodox soldiers killed at Kazan and the environs of Kazan, on the Saturday following the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (October 1). The patriarch also ordered that the three Kazan martyrs be inscribed in the Synodicon.

St Hermogenes displayed passion in the observance of Church traditions, and he devoted himself to enlightening the Kazan Tatars with the faith of Christ.


Metropolitan Hermogenes was elected to the primatial see on July 3, 1606. He was installed as patriarch by the Assembly of the Holy Hierarchs at Moscow's Dormition Cathedral. Metropolitan Isidore handed the patriarch the staff of the Holy Hierarch Peter, Moscow Wonderworker, and the tsar gave as a gift to the new patriarch a panagia embellished with precious stones, a white klobuk, and a staff. Patriarch Hermogenes made his entrance riding upon a donkey, as was the ancient way.

The new first hierarch devoted all his powers to the service of the Church and the nation. But this was a time of troubles for the Russian state with the appearance of the false Demetrius (or Dmitr(i)y, an impostor claiming to be the son of Ivan the Terrible) and the Polish king Sigismund III. The patriarch stood up against the traitors and enemies of the nation, who wanted to spread Uniatism and Western Catholicism throughout Russia and to wipe out Orthodoxy while enslaving the Russian nation.

When the impostor arrived at Moscow and settled himself at Tushino, Patriarch Hermogenes sent two letters to the Russian traitors reminding them of their faith and their country. False Dmitry was killed by his own close associates on December 11, 1610. But Moscow continued to remain in peril, since the Poles and traitors, loyal to Sigismund III, remained in the city.

Documents sent by Patriarch Hermogenes throughout the cities and villages urged the Russian nation to liberate Moscow and to choose a lawful Russian tsar. The Muscovites rose up in rebellion. The Poles burned the city, shutting themselves up in the Kremlin. Together with Russian traitors, they forcefully seized Patriarch Hermogenes and imprisoned him in the Chudov Monastery.

While still in prison, the Hieromartyr Hermogenes sent a final epistle to the Russian nation, blessing the liberating army to fight the invaders. He suffered for more than nine months in confinement, and on February 17, 1612, he died a martyr's death from starvation. The body of the hieromartyr was buried in the Chudov Monastery and in 1654 before being transferred to the Moscow Dormition Cathedral. The glorification of Patriarch Hermogenes occurred on May 12, 1913.

See also

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Succession box:
Hermogenes of Moscow
Preceded by:
Tikhon II
Metropolitan of Kazan
1589 - 1606
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
1606 - 1612
Succeeded by:
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