Father Herman Podmoshensky

  • Gleb Podmoshensky

Father Herman Podmoshensky was at one time a priest-monk in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). He, along with Father Seraphim Rose, founded the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, a monastic group. Podmoshensky was the abbot of the brotherhood’s monastery in Platina, St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, until 2000.

After the death of Rose in 1982, Podmoshensky was accused of serious moral offenses, which Pokrov.org has heard from quite a few different sources was sexual misconduct with young men, some of whom were below the age of majority. He was suspended from the priesthood in 1984 pending the outcome of ROCOR’s investigation into these allegations.

However, Podmoshensky continued to serve as a clergyman. ROCOR defrocked him for disobedience in 1988, without issuing a decision on the underlying moral charges.

Podmoshensky, who held title to the monastery property, then aligned himself with the Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis, a vagante jurisdiction. The majority of the brotherhood remained with ROCOR and did not follow him into Vasiloupolis. Two exceptions were Father Gerasim Eliel and Father Damascene Christensen.

The Holy Order of MANS (HOOM) also joined Vasiloupolis in 1988. Their decision to join this vagante jurisdication instead of entering canonical Orthodoxy was in part due to their adoption of Podmoshensky as a spiritual leader. According to “The Odyssey of a New Religion” by Phillip Charles Lucas, the Order men who became Vasiloupolis clergy were trained by the Platina abbot and 2 Vasiloupolis bishops, Benedict Greene and Pangratios Vrionis.

In 1990, Podmoshensky invited Samuel David Allen to visit Platina to see if he had a vocation to become a member of the brotherhood. Allen had joined HOOM in the late sixties and retained his ties to that group through 2 convictions and 1 parole revocation for child sexual abuse. Podmoshensky wrote, “Yes. I agree wholeheartedly with Br. David Finkelstein about the monastic way, that’s the only way for people like us.” (A typed transcript of the handwritten letter is available here.)

According to Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen of the Orthodox Church in America, Podmoshensky stepped down as the abbot of Platina in 2000 so that the brotherhood could rejoin the canonical Orthodox Church. However, another source indicates that Podmoshensky was forced to step down because of allegations of sexual misconduct, including an assault on one young man who may have been a minor at the time of the abuse.

The St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood became a part of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Early sources said that Podmoshensky was received as a “simple monk,” since the Serbs recognized that he had been defrocked by ROCOR. However, Serbian sources disagreed, denying that he was included in this reception.

In 2009 a video of Podmoshensky was published on youtube. While the video has since been removed, Pokrov.org has learned that the video was of recent vintage, and in it Podmoshensky stated that he had been asked to make some comments to the young.

On July 5, 2011, ROCOR bishop George Schaefer paid a visit to the Platina monastery. While at the facility, Schaefer paid a visit to Podmoshensky.

Podmoshensky died on June 3, 2014.