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Patriarch Hermogenes

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Hermogenes, or Germogen (before 1530 - February 17, 1612), was the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia from 1606. It was he who inspired the popular uprising that put an end to the Time of Troubles. Hermogenes was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1913.

Patriarch Hermogenes refusing to bless the Poles painting by Pavel Chistyakov (1860).

At the Holy Synod of 1589, which established the patriarchy in Moscow, Hermogenes was appointed Metropolitan of the newly-conquered city of Kazan. During the following two decades, he gained renown for a number of Muslim Tatars converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.

In 1606, Hermogenes was summoned by False Dmitry I to take part in the Senate recently instituted in Moscow. There he learnt about the tsar's design to marry a Roman Catholic woman, Marina Mniszech, and firmly declared against such an alliance. At that he was exiled from the capital, only to return with great honours several months later, when the false tsar had been deposed, and Patriarch Ignatius followed suit.

The new tsar, Vasily IV, helped Hermogenes to become patriarch. During Vasily's reign, Hermogenes generally supported the tsar's efforts to pacify the country and anathemized Ivan Bolotnikov and his army. When Vasily was dethroned and the Poles took hold of the Moscow Kremlin, Hermogenes staunchly opposed their plans to put Wladyslaw IV on the Russian throne, lest he converts to Orthodoxy. Despite knife threats from some of the boyars, he refused to sign any petitions to the Polish king, thus preventing Wladyslaw from coronation.[1]

In December 1610 Hermogenes distributed letters to various Russian towns, urging the populace to rise against the Poles. When the volunteer army under Prokopy Lyapunov finally approached Moscow, he defied the Polish exhortations to anathemize the army. Despite being threatened with death penalty, he cursed the Roman Catholics and showed support for Lyapunov. After that, he was arrested and thrown into the Chudov Monastery. There he heard about the new volunteer army, mustered by Kuzma Minin and commanded by Prince Pozharsky, and blessed them both. Thereupon the patriarch was beaten and starved to death.[2]

The purported relics of Patriarch Germogen were accidentally found in one of the crypts of the Chudov Monastery during the 1913 repair works. In connection with the Romanov Dynasty Tercentenary, celebrated that same year, the remains were canonised and transferred to the nearby Dormition Cathedral.


  1. Maureen Perrie. Pretenders and Popular Monarchism in Early Modern Russia. Cambridge University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-521-47274-1. Page 210.
    Robert Auty, Dimitri Obolensky. Companion to Russian Studies. Cambridge University Press, 1981. ISBN 0-521-28038-9. Page 108.
  2. Reverend R Thornton. Lives of Eminent Russian Prelates. Kessinger Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-4179-4649-0. Page 3.
    "He endured to the end and was accounted worthy of the crown of martyrdom: inflexible alike to prayers and threats, he was starved to death in prison, to be a pledge of deliverance to his country". -- A N Mouravieff. A History of the Church of Russia, 1842, reprinted 2004. ISBN 1-4179-1250-2. Page 166.
Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
Succeeded by

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