Metropolitan Herman (Swaiko) (born Joseph Swaiko, February 1, 1932 in Bairdford, Pennsylvania) is the former primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). As the head of the OCA, he was the Archbishop of Washington and New York, and Metropolitan of All America and Canada. He was elected Metropolitan on July 22, 2002, replacing Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor), who retired due to health problems related to a series of strokes.[1]


Swaiko completed his primary and secondary education in the West Deer Township school system, and enrolled in Robert Morris University, where he received a degree in business administration and secretarial science. Upon graduation, Swaiko served in the Adjutant General's Corps of the United States Army, and was stationed in Labrador.[2]

After his discharge from the army in 1959, Swaiko enrolled at Saint Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and graduated in 1963. In March 1964, he was ordained as a deacon, and in April 1964 was ordained a priest. Subsequently, he served on the seminary's administrative staff and was an instructor of Church Slavonic. He also served as rector of churches in Dundaff and Union Dale, PA.[2]

Swaiko was tonsured as a monk on December 4, 1970, and received the name Herman (in recognition of Herman of Alaska, the first saint of the OCA). On October 17, 1971, Herman was elevated to the rank of Igumen and was named Deputy Abbot of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Monastery. In October 1972, Herman was elected to the episcopate and was elevated to the rank of archimandrite. He was consecrated to the episcopacy on February 10, 1973, as Bishop of Wilkes-Barre.[2]

After the death of Archbishop Kiprian (Borisevich), Herman was elected Bishop of Philadelphia on March 17, 1981 and rector of Saint Tikhon's Seminary in May 1982. In 1994, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. From May to September 2001, Archbishop Herman served as the temporary administrator of the OCA, while Metropolitan Theodosius was on a medical leave of absence.[2]

Election to Metropolitan

On April 2, 2002, Metropolitan Theodosius (who had suffered a series of strokes) submitted a petition to the Holy Synod of the OCA, requesting his retirement. The Holy Synod granted his request, and announced an election for his replacement to be held on July 22, at the OCA's Thirteenth All-American Council in Orlando.[3]

No candidate received the required two-thirds majority during the first round of voting, which necessitated a second round. During the second round, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada received the majority of votes, but again not the required two-thirds. Subsequently, the Holy Synod decided to elect Archbishop Herman. Metropolitan Theodosius was selected in a similar manner in 1977, having not received a two-thirds majority of votes.[1][3]

Archbishop Herman was enthroned as Metropolitan Herman on September 8, 2002 at a ceremony in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The enthronement ceremony and subsequent reception were attended by a number of prominent Orthodox and secular figures.[4]

Controversy and retirement

In the autumn of 2005, the OCA administration was publicly accused of financial misconduct by its former treasurer, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler. On September 3, 2008, the Special Investigative Committee of the OCA released its 32 page report on this scandal. The report was presented to the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council. The report "held the whole OCA administrative structure responsible for failure". It also recommended "discipline" for 5 individuals. Among them are the former Metropolitan Theodosius and the Metropolitan Herman. It recommended that the Metropolitan Herman resign, retire or be defrocked. The Metropolitan Herman requested medical leave of absence for 9 months before the report was released. The Metropolitan Council requested that the Holy Synod deny the Metropolitan's request for a leave of absence. On September 4, 2008 the Metropolitan Herman voluntarily retired from his position as Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America.[5] As of March 13, 2009 Metropolitan Herman is banned by the Synod of OCA from attending liturgical services at St. Tikhon's Monastery, as well as denied the right to wear white klobuk.

Episcopal succession

Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by:  ?
Date of consecration: February 10, 1973
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Irineu (Duvlea) November 2, 2002
Tikhon (Mollard) February 14, 2004
Benjamin (Peterson) May 1, 2004
Alejo (Pacheco-Vera) May 28, 2005
Preceded by
Theodosius (Lazor)
Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
July 22, 2002 – September 4, 2008
Succeeded by
Jonah (Paffhausen)


ru:Герман (Митрополит всей Америки и Канады)

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