Thomas More vs. Herman of Alaska

Welcome to the Saintly Sixteen! With your help, we have successfully cut our 32 saints in half. Numerically speaking, that is, not in a martyred kind of way. For this round, rather than the basic biographical information we enter the realm of Quirks and Quotes. Our brilliant Celebrity Bloggers will provide unusual information or legends surrounding their saints along with quotes either by or about their saints.

Yesterday Clare of Assisi snagged the final spot in the Saintly Sixteen by defeating Isidore of Seville 59% to 41%. Clare will face Elizabeth Fry in the next round.

Don’t forget, you can always go to the Bracket Tab, deftly managed by Bracket Czar Adam Thomas, to easily find previous battles if you need to refresh your basic knowledge on these saints. This is yet another free courtesy extended to you, the Lent Madness Global Public.

We kick things off with a matchup between Thomas More and Herman of Alaska. To get to this point, Thomas defeated James the Less in the very first battle of Lent Madness 2020, while Herman surprised Elizabeth of Hungary.

Thomas More
Sir Thomas More is as multi-faceted an individual as any in history: at once stern and witty; ahead of his time and behind his time; prayerful and pious, and yet also politically calculating and cunning. Opinions on More sway as easily as the breeze, depending highly on the counsel one chooses to take on More’s life and character, and there is a  good case is to be made that all those opinions are correct. Yet More’s conviction to the church, and his faith in God remain beyond question.

Among More’s masterworks was Utopia, writing some consider a political essay, and others consider political satire. In Utopia, More imagines the ideal community, including, fittingly, a good way to run meetings—a lesson many a church Vestry could stand to heed:

“One rule observed in their council is, never to debate a thing on the same day in which it is first proposed; for that is always referred to the next meeting, that so men may not rashly and in the heat of discourse engage themselves too soon… to prevent this, they take care that they may rather be deliberate than sudden in their motions.”

Given so many church meetings stress over finances, it is also notable that More’s Utopia also imagined a world where people, rather than wealth, stand at the center of human society:

“They wonder much to hear that gold, which in itself is so useless a thing, should be everywhere so much esteemed, that even men for whom it was made, and by whom it has its value, should yet be thought of less value than it is.”

Perhaps aware of his polarizing character, after he was imprisoned for refusing to disavow the Roman Catholic Church after Henry VIII’s assertion of control over the Church in England, More wrote to his daughter Margaret Roper:

“I do no­body harm, I say none harm, I think none harm, but wish everybody good. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith, I long not to live.”

And even as he was led to his death, More proclaimed that

“I die the king’s faithful servant, and God’s first.”

More’s legacy is complex, including to Episcopalians and Anglicans. Perhaps foreseeing his own end, he wrote of Richard III in 1543,

“For men use, if they have an evil turn, to write it in marble: and whoso doth us a good turn we write it in dust.”

Whether More is for dust or marble remains a debatable question, even to this day. One cannot doubt, however, More’s depth of sincerity and conviction.

—David Sibley


Herman of Alaska
During his 85 years, Herman of Alaska dedicated his life to the Gospel. He maintained, “A true Christian is made by faith and love toward Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the word of the Savior Himself.”

In 1794 when Herman embarked on a voyage to Russian-owned Alaska, he was filled with missionary zeal. “From this day forth from this very hour and this very minute, let us love God above all and seek to accomplish His Holy Will,” Herman reflected.

What he discovered in Alaska were flourishing trading posts, many fellow Russians, and the mistreatment of the Aleuts, the native inhabitants of that area.

His writings reflect how sickened he was of the harsh domination, and of his calling to comfort the populace in their misery. Herman wrote, “Since the welfare of this nation by the Providence of God, it is not known for how long, is dependent on and has been entrusted into the hands of the Russian government which has now been given into your own power, therefore I, the most humble servant of these people, and their nurse stand before you in their behalf, write this petition with tears of blood. Be our Father and our Protector. Certainly we do not know how to be eloquent, so with an inarticulate infant’s tongue we say: Wipe away the tears of the defenseless orphans, cool the hearts melting away in the fire of sorrow. Help us to know what consolation means.”

Herman’s life in the vast wilderness was tough; nonetheless his ministry to the Aleuts never wavered. While tending to the sick through an epidemic, he related: “I saw mothers over whose bodies cold in death crawled a hungry child, crying and searching in vain for its food…My heart was bursting with compassion! It seemed that if anyone could paint with a worthy brush the full horror of this tragic scene, that he would have successfully aroused fear of death in the most embittered heart.”

Herman never returned to his homeland and retreated to the life of a hermit in his later years. He always knew he was not alone. “God is here, as God is everywhere,” he said.

Even as his life ebbed and he reflected on his relationship with his Maker, Herman remained committed to spreading the Gospel, questioning and challenging others: “I, a sinner, have been trying to love God for more than forty years, and cannot say that I perfectly love Him. If we love someone we always remember him and try to please him; day and night our heart is occupied with that object. Is that how you, gentlemen, love God? Do you often turn to Him, do you always remember Him, do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments?”

Upon his death on November 15, 1836, Bishop Peter Kashevarov reported, “In general all the local inhabitants have a reverent respect for him as a holy ascetic, and are entirely convinced of his having pleased God.”

Neva Rae Fox

Thomas More vs. Herman of Alaska

  • Herman of Alaska (68%, 4,833 Votes)
  • Thomas More (32%, 2,317 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,150

Loading ... Loading ...


Sir Thomas More’s Farewell to His Daughter, 1816-79, Painting by Edward Matthew Ward

107 Comments to "Thomas More vs. Herman of Alaska"

  1. March 19, 2020 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    The Defender of the Faith versus the teacher and defender of the Aleuts.

    • Gillian's Gravatar Gillian
      March 19, 2020 - 8:30 am | Permalink

      I just followed your link for the first time. My friend, do you make lent madness memes????

      • March 19, 2020 - 8:34 am | Permalink

        I am responsible for said memes, yes.

        • Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
          March 19, 2020 - 9:20 am | Permalink

          I too just followed your link for the first time…but it won’t be the last time. Thank you for the memes!!

      • Martha S's Gravatar Martha S
        March 19, 2020 - 10:32 am | Permalink

        Or as Frank would sing… “Thanks..for the meme-ories…”

        • March 19, 2020 - 10:44 am | Permalink

          HA! I saw what you did there.

        • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
          March 19, 2020 - 11:37 am | Permalink

          Martha S.—GROAN! (The highest praise for a pun.)

    • Lynda (with a Lynda (with a "Y")
      March 19, 2020 - 9:50 am | Permalink

      I, too, just followed your link for the first time. And it, too, won’t be the last. More! More (fromyou)! But, I had to go with Herman today.

    • Judy's Gravatar Judy
      March 19, 2020 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      (I want some of those ‘birds on sticks’!)

    • March 19, 2020 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Great meme today. Almost lost my head laughing. 🙂

  2. Kelle Schnabel's Gravatar Kelle Schnabel
    March 19, 2020 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one. Having lived in Alaska I simply can’t fathom how anyone could further burden a people who already deal with such harsh elements of nature. I think I’ll stick with Herman for his compassion and devotion to caring for God’s people.

    • Barbara Pierce's Gravatar Barbara Pierce
      March 19, 2020 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      It is clear in these trying times, as we watch the discrepancies in the testing of the rich and poor with this virus and consider the probable consequences, that prioritizing those that need more help is our duty. Herman shows us the way.

  3. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    March 19, 2020 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    If we love someone we always remember him and try to please him; day and night our heart is occupied with that object. Is that how you, gentlemen, love God? Do you often turn to Him, do you always remember Him, do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments?”
    May we, always.

    • Rod's Gravatar Rod
      March 19, 2020 - 1:21 pm | Permalink


  4. Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
    March 19, 2020 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Herman’s words being to mind the writings of Paul, and later expounded upon by Luther, not by works but by faith.
    At this time in history faith and not works had become even more important. As our churches close and our isolation increases it is good to remember “God is everywhere.”
    Amen, and again, amen.

    • Pastor Rick's Gravatar Pastor Rick
      March 19, 2020 - 9:55 am | Permalink

      I vote for Herman because of who he was and where he was and for whom he was, both in faith and works. But to you, Marian the Lutheran, I would place myself under your ministrations had I the opportunity. Your comments are consistently faithful and relevant.

    • Cheryl O'Donoghue's Gravatar Cheryl O'Donoghue
      March 19, 2020 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Amen, Marian.

  5. HeatherTeck's Gravatar HeatherTeck
    March 19, 2020 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Both of these entries to the Saintly 16 are worthy, though More in the end,professed service to his king and Herman set his sights higher than man.

  6. Neva Rae Fox's Gravatar Neva Rae Fox
    March 19, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Herman cared for others during an epidemic….timely. Go Herman!

    • Alison Bentley's Gravatar Alison Bentley
      March 19, 2020 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      Indeed. That’s what tipped me over to his side.

      • Frank Hubbard's Gravatar Frank Hubbard
        March 19, 2020 - 9:31 am | Permalink

        Me too. Painfully timely.

    • March 19, 2020 - 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Amen! Herman’s ministry because of his devotion to Christ won our vote! My husband and I read this together every day and then I vote! (one vote only!!!)

    • Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
      March 19, 2020 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

      that’s what persuaded me to vote for Herman.

  7. John Blackwood's Gravatar John Blackwood
    March 19, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Herman’s steadfast love and commitment to minister to an abused people is without controversy. He’s my choice today.

  8. LA's Gravatar LA
    March 19, 2020 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Today’s installment endeared me a little more to More… but not enough to change my vote. I’m sticking with Herman again.

  9. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 19, 2020 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice for me but I went with More. Though controversial, I admire his consistency and his lesson of centering people rather than wealth is of particular personal value to me. It is how I try to approach my duties as a vestry person.

    Herman is also worthy and, while I admire his compassion, I must confess that the need for it was brought about by the artificial miseries of colonization upon indigenous people. His love and basic human decency are only extraordinary in contrast to the failure of so many of us to display those qualities.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 19, 2020 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

      ““I do no­body harm, I say none harm,…”

      Excuse me?
      Burning Protestants at the stake is doing no harm?

      • March 19, 2020 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, Gregory! While, at least in my opinion, More’s devotion and apparent humility were strongly offset by his hubris, Herman’s love of God and compassion appear undiluted. I don’t understand what another poster means by the “artificial miseries of colonization.” They weren’t “artificial” to the colonized, and Herman’s efforts to alleviate them have earned him my vote.

        I wonder how More would have handled an Alaskan winter and an epidemic. I expect he’d have stayed tucked up safely in his house, warm and well fed.

    • Diane Mc's Gravatar Diane Mc
      March 19, 2020 - 11:43 pm | Permalink

      TJ – I agree. In the end Thomas More died for what he believed. No doubt he did make some poor decisions, it would be difficult to work for Henry VIII. I voted for Herman in the first round, but Thomas More was A Man for All Seasons.

  10. Jennifer B Seaver's Gravatar Jennifer B Seaver
    March 19, 2020 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    The first time my husband and I visited Alaska, we drove north from California and back through Canada. We passed through a small community named CHICKEN because, as legend had it, nobody knew how to spell PTARMIGAN. My vote is for Herman.

    • March 19, 2020 - 10:48 am | Permalink

      Oh I do believe that! I live on Ptarmigan Trail which I spend my life spelling to everyone who needs to send me anything.

      • brighter's Gravatar brighter
        March 19, 2020 - 11:20 am | Permalink

        I went to Ptarmigan Elementary School, and I feel your pain.

    • March 19, 2020 - 10:51 am | Permalink

      Oh, I do believe that! I live on Ptarmigan Trail, which I spend my life spelling for anyone who needs to send me something.

    • Myrna's Gravatar Myrna
      March 20, 2020 - 12:08 am | Permalink

      Kind of off the subject here, but I first heard of Chicken, Alaska when I read a book called, “Tisha,” by Robert Specht and Anne Purdy. It’s a wonderful story of a young woman who went to Alaska as a teacher and her life with whites and natives. Quite a book.

  11. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    March 19, 2020 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Cannot vote for a person that put others to death in cruel ways. The humble and faithful Herman receives my vote today.

  12. March 19, 2020 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Herman’s my man. “I, a sinner, have been trying to love God for more than forty years, and cannot say that I perfectly love Him. If we love someone we always remember him and try to please him; day and night our heart is occupied with that object. Is that how you, gentlemen, love God? Do you often turn to Him, do you always remember Him, do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments?” Oh my God, how could I not vote for such an eloquent person. That first line is a killer! Amen, Herman!

  13. March 19, 2020 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I was persuaded by the enigmatic profile of the saint; that is, a wounded pilgrim on this earth. For me, that is St. Thomas More.

  14. Bryan Miller's Gravatar Bryan Miller
    March 19, 2020 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    If we treasure martyrs, More was certainly responsible for creating some, with his zealous persecution of “heretics.” My vote goes to Herman, who labored to help others, rather than to More, who applauded the torture of those who disagreed with him.

  15. Jeanine's Gravatar Jeanine
    March 19, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Like others, I find Herman’s humble eloquence more moving than More’s service to kings.

  16. Tom's Gravatar Tom
    March 19, 2020 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    There must be some political and religious rules and regulations “for the good of society and the Church.” Nevertheless, in both cases, I think less is more, whereas “Utopia” indicates, More is better.

  17. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 19, 2020 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Herman, a man for our times. “Help us to know what consolation means” did it for me.

  18. Gretchen Denton's Gravatar Gretchen Denton
    March 19, 2020 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    As a student of Robert’s Rules of Order I have to go with More for pondering and writing about how we make decisions.

  19. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 19, 2020 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Herman goes all the way to the final on my bracket. Lovely to give him another vote! We all need the helpers, these days.

  20. Linda MacDonald's Gravatar Linda MacDonald
    March 19, 2020 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Herman’s life is so compelling especially his caring for people during a severe epidemic. Definitely a reminder of today’s pandemic situation. If only those at the “top” of the pyramid understood that they too meet an end perhaps the choices made through elected people would show the compassion needed for everyone at the “bottom”. There is an odd connection between More and Herman. But my vote is for Herman.

  21. March 19, 2020 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    voted for Thomas originally, but today I’m saying Herman for the Golden Halo

  22. SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
    March 19, 2020 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    We recently returned from Alaska 09/19 and we both were struck by the vastness of the country and its beauty!
    We took the RR up to the gold mines, 3000 in the day went up and 300 came down! All, looking for GOLD, not GOD!
    You all, I am sure know who I have voted for!
    God Bless and be Safe in this 2020!
    What God brings us to,HE will Bering us Thru,

  23. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 19, 2020 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Herman’s compassion in action won me over.

  24. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    March 19, 2020 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I find this a tough choice. My initial choice was Herman, who in spite of the dominating culture in which he was raised, saw the sinfulness of what his fellow Russians were doing. It is a wise and saintly man who can rise above the dominating mores of his culture. Then I was reminded about Thomas More’s Utopia which I choose to believe was his idea of a Christian world, not a political satire. If I remember correctly, it actually is quite in line with what our early Church Fathers believed, where Christians were to be interested in heavenly riches, but gave to the poor, took care of the sick, and put their neighbor’s needs at least equal and preferably above their own. This is what the Gospels preach. What to do, what to do.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 19, 2020 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

      ” It is difficult to reconcile the author of Utopia with the heretic hunter of the mid-1520s, who personally broke into Lutherans’ homes and sent men to the stake. It is true that Luther’s challenge, from 1519 onward, and Henry’s proposed divorce, menaced More with visions of schism, and that the literal defense of the realm became More’s necessary objective as Lord Chancellor. (He likened the fight against heretics to the fight against the Ottoman Empire.) But certainly, the shift from Utopian to prosecutor, in the space of ten years, is a bewildering one.”

  25. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 19, 2020 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Herman, as one who cared for and defended the rights of the indigenous people of Alaska, speaks to my heart at a time when Canadian indigenous and non-indigenous Anglicans are walking the path of reconciliation. While I admire Thomas Moore’s “God first/King second” stance, as a Ricardian I am small enough to resent his role in the malicious defamation of Richard III. My vote goes to Herman of Alaska.

    • Bryan Miller's Gravatar Bryan Miller
      March 19, 2020 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that was quite the smear campaign against Richard! Another reason to vote for the compassionate Herman.

  26. Linda Williams's Gravatar Linda Williams
    March 19, 2020 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    Although Thomas More was not perfect as viewed through our 21st century lens, his commitment to universal religious toleration, free education for men and women alike, a firm stand against the political power of secular culture over the tenets of the church and our faith, death over favoritism to a king he loved, and lasting modeling of the expectations of servanthood are far beyond the contributions of many in the Round of 32…More!!

  27. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 19, 2020 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Big shoutout to David Sibley for a wonderful writeup of More; no one could have more capably presented a case for More, balanced and thoughtful. But I voted for Herman, being moved by the words “Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity.” That is one hopeful thought! Also his faithful service to indigenous people; would that all the early colonizers and settlers have done likewise. But profit superseded prophet in the New World to our lasting discredit and wretched deplorableness. Herman’s humility impresses me as well: after forty years of loving God, I still do not love perfectly. Brother Herman, pray for us. (I cannot refrain from adding that the diocese of Alaska is missing an opportunity to establish a monastery and retreat center called Herman’s Hermits.)

    • Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
      March 19, 2020 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      Bwahahaha! Herman’s Hermits – classic! I, too, am impressed by Herman’s humility and life of love and service.

    • March 19, 2020 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      Woman, you are FUNNY!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 19, 2020 - 10:45 am | Permalink

      I may bake a batch of hermits to enjoy with a Homousion cocktail, if I can ever find the ingredients for that.

    • March 19, 2020 - 11:25 am | Permalink

      Beautifully said, St. Celia, and that Herman’s Hermits twist at the end, nicely played.

    • March 19, 2020 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

      love it!

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 19, 2020 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I’m down for the first retreat at the proposed hermitage.

  28. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 19, 2020 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Another tough one. Happy Episcopalian that I am, my vote today goes to Thomas More. I love the compassion of Herman of Alaska, and his courage in taking care of the people afflicted by an epidemic. However, I also admire the political astuteness of Thomas. This is a much overlooked quality in the clergy, I suspect, but it is absolutely essential if the world is to be shaped in any degree toward God’s kingdom

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 19, 2020 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      What an interesting point you make: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”

  29. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 19, 2020 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    In the first round I voted for Thomas and not for Herman, but this morning my vote goes to Herman. His purity of soul, and the life he led, contrast with Thomas’s brilliant but decidedly mixed bag. This morning I’m seeing Thomas as an absolutist whose religious fanaticism extended even to himself.

    Not that I venerate Henry VIII; like many Anglicans I feel a tension between my church’s ambiguous institutional origins and the blessing it has been to the Church Universal. Nor do I devalue Thomas’s great intellect and worthy accomplishments; but Herman seems to have had no dark side, and his ministry during the epidemic speaks to these times with particular power.

    • March 19, 2020 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      Well said. I thought I would go with Thomas More all the way, but I am leaning toward Herman. Herman’s position that sin does not keep us from our faith is profound in this day when so many Christians keep trying to draw the circle tighter and smaller, and are expending so much energy and churning out so much legislation to prove who is more sinful than they.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 19, 2020 - 10:51 am | Permalink

      “whose religious fanaticism extended even to himself”: what a brilliant insight, Davis. More reminds me of the officer in Kafka’s penal colony, who is so committed to the “literal execution of the law” that he himself climbs into the execution machine to die grotesquely as the machine impales the law letter by letter into his flesh become corpse. So learned and yet so obtuse, so committed to the letter that kills, so resistant to the spirit that gives life.

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        March 19, 2020 - 1:45 pm | Permalink


  30. Kyle Dahlem's Gravatar Kyle Dahlem
    March 19, 2020 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    Thomas More has my vote as he did not retreat from the earthly powers that demanded his loyalty.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 19, 2020 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      “While tending to the sick through an epidemic . . . “

      and that’s how Herman of Alaska got my vote.

  31. Sally Mangan's Gravatar Sally Mangan
    March 19, 2020 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    “ God is here, as God is everywhere.” Herman, words we need to remember today. You have my vote.

  32. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 19, 2020 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Anyone else miss having the Collects at the end of the write ups?

    • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
      March 19, 2020 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      Yes! I miss them!

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 19, 2020 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Open a second tab in your browser and go to the first round posts, so you can read the collect for each of the nominees who made it to the second round.

  33. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 19, 2020 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    Today’s vote is the most difficult for me so far. In the end I am convinced by Herman’s writing near the end of his life, of his struggle to love God more fully. At 82, having loved God imperfectly all my life, I still struggle. Yet I need the help of all the saints, especially through their writings, to make my way ever closer to true love of my Savior.

  34. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 19, 2020 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Ah … Looks like the Saintly 16 is going to be a lot tougher. I have served on vestries containing surly and unwavering members. More’s advice would have been timely. Early on, he had my vote. Then I read about Herman the Hermit (not the “Can You Feel My Heartbeat ” guy) again. He was tuned in to an internal desire for the love of God at a very local level, caring for the most needy within his reach “My heart is bursting with compassion.” Now I must vote ..

  35. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 19, 2020 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    Today’s matchup is easy peasy for me. Vote Herman of Alaska!

  36. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 19, 2020 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    I voted for each in the first round, which made it even more (no pun intended) difficult to choose this time. And once the saints for whom I voted kept “losing”, I voted for the underdogs.
    Well, Herman is ahead as I write this but I’m going to vote for him anyway!
    Excellent comments, everyone!

  37. Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
    March 19, 2020 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I promised my husband to vote for Herman as long as he was available. My spouse is amused by his name. In this contest I actually love how Thomas More is portrayed. He is a very complex man and most deserving of sainthood. We are all complex.

  38. March 19, 2020 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    I find Thomas More an intriguing historical figure at a time when so much was changing in the Christian world, but I vote for Herman today in this time of modern plague. And anyone who survives the Alaskan winter is most worthy of support!

  39. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 19, 2020 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I have waited to vote for Herman since he beat the 1st Elizabeth.
    He is certainly the saint for our times since can’t gather together we need to remember God is everywhere and we need to pray now more ever.

  40. March 19, 2020 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    A saint for a pandemic.

  41. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    March 19, 2020 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I love Herman’s humble charm and devout faith in God. I am so tickled that he’s doing so well with the discerning Lent Madness crowd, too!

  42. Diane Quantic's Gravatar Diane Quantic
    March 19, 2020 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Being the good English professor I reluctantly side with Thomas More. His influence on Western history and literature is contemporary. Dramas and poems memorialize him. Herman bless his heart, humbly advocated for the First Nations people, but they are still, some would say, needy as they were when Herman was with them. On an emotional level, no question I’d side with humble Huerman.

  43. March 19, 2020 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Wipe away the tears of the defenseless orphans, cool the hearts melting away in the fire of sorrow. Help us to know what consolation means.” Herman for me.

  44. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 19, 2020 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    When I saw the phrase “Herman’s life in the vast wilderness was tough” my heart thought, I’ll bet being around the royal household in King Henry VIII’s day felt like a vast wilderness. Nonetheless, I’m voting for Herman today. Taking care of poor people through an epidemic, advocating for them with the people in power, etc, etc. If Jesus had to choose between living Thomas More’s life and living Herman’s, I think he would have chosen Herman’s more humble place.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 19, 2020 - 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Jesus would not have made a good courtier.

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        March 20, 2020 - 1:35 pm | Permalink


  45. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 19, 2020 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Herman got our vote in the first round, and we vote for him today too. Wouldn’t bother us at all if he got the 2020 Golden Halo!

  46. Ellen L Mintzmyer's Gravatar Ellen L Mintzmyer
    March 19, 2020 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I knew this was going to be tough. Herman worked amongst the Alaskan natives – who still need our support. But in the end, More’s words of wishing good to those around him, some who were now going to put him to death, inspired me in this time when we (include me) are so quick to have evil thoughts of others tarnish our souls, it gave me hope for my own spiritual path and growth. Also, I now plan to read Utopia.

  47. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 19, 2020 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

    To whom was Herman addressing himself, when he requested someone be “Father and Protector” for the Aleuts? The last czar? Lenin? Stalin?

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      March 19, 2020 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I see I’m off by 100 years — 1794 to 1835 — so some czar?

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 19, 2020 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I believe he was praying to God.

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        March 19, 2020 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

        He says he is addressing someone who has been placed in power over the Russian government: “Since the welfare of this nation by the Providence of God, it is not known for how long, is dependent on and has been entrusted into the hands of the Russian government which has now been given into your own power . . .”

        Does not sound like God.

  48. Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
    March 19, 2020 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    “Sir Thomas More, [was] cruel in punishment, evasive in argument, lusty for power, and repressive in politics. He betrayed Christianity when he led it so violently into court politics, and he betrayed politics when he surrendered it so meekly to the defense of Catholicism.”

    Excerpted from:
    Wood, James. The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief.
    New York: Random House, 1999. 3-15.

    I say: “No More More!”

  49. Wendi's Gravatar Wendi
    March 19, 2020 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    My grandparents were “home missionaries” to the territory of Alaska. Herman gets my vote.

  50. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 19, 2020 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Herman of Alaska today!

  51. Chuck's Gravatar Chuck
    March 19, 2020 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

    For one who struggles with Lent.I am drawn to Herman and his confession that he is not sure he can say he perfectly loved him. I’m thinking ‘ Golden Halo’

  52. Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
    March 19, 2020 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

    “Help us to know what consolation means.” – A prayer for every age in this imperfect world but speaks most eloquently at this present time. I’m a vote for Herman.

  53. March 19, 2020 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The only open Church on Sunday for miles around was the Divine Liturgy with the Orthodox.
    Herman gets my vote.
    At communion, the priest asked me: “Are you orthodox?” the correct and true
    answer to that question was too complex and lengthy with theology/ history/anthropology
    to answer in a sacramental queue.
    So I answered with the briefest truth possible: “No father, I’m Anglican.”
    He replied. “That’s close enough” and handed me the blessed bread.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 19, 2020 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

      I see that though you gave up trolling Episcopalians for Lent, you are backsliding by tr0lling Orthodox instead. Well done. How’s that reform of the Vatican Bank coming?

      • March 19, 2020 - 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Lol, that’s not a troll, that’s Anglican food for thought. But to answer your question. We don’t don’t know even though I have an MBA in finance. it’s been almost 900 years since we lived in the Vatican under name of Pope Callixtus II and the First Lateran Council (1122). Been a lot of “born agains” since then. 🙂
        Guy of Burgundy +

  54. Noelle Webb's Gravatar Noelle Webb
    March 19, 2020 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Going with Herman!

  55. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 19, 2020 - 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I want to thank David Sibley for his nuanced, beautiful write-up of Thomas More. “Opinions on More sway as easily as the breeze, depending on the counsel one chooses to take on More’s life and character, and there is a good case is to be made that all those opinions are correct.” Wow!

    I first encountered Thomas More when I was in high school and saw a stage production of “A Man for All Seasons,” and I was deeply saddened when I later learned that was a highly edited version of what he was really like. I think that, oddly enough, the best fictional representation of the man is that paragon of historical accuracy, Showtime’s series “The Tudors.” Both the script and Jeremy Northam’s performance captured much of the contradictions that David Sibley encapuslates: “at once stern and witty; ahead of his time and behind his time; prayerful and pious, and yet also politically calculating and cunning.”

    Herman, on the other hand, sounds like an absolute love! I now want to read much more of what he wrote. Thank you, Lent Madness!

  56. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 19, 2020 - 9:03 pm | Permalink

    My belated vote goes with the flow, but Herman’s simple kindness also speaks to me in a way that More’s complicated virtue does not.

  57. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 19, 2020 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Herman again. I agree that he is a saint for our time. Herman for the Golden Halo!

  58. Elizabeth Marsh's Gravatar Elizabeth Marsh
    March 20, 2020 - 2:10 am | Permalink

    I’m curious about the icon of Herman. My old icon instructor recently died. My brother in Alaska says he hasn’t seen this icon, so it’s not in Fairbanks.

  59. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 20, 2020 - 5:16 am | Permalink

    In these complex times in which we live, I feel for More negotiating the febrile political situation of the time. Not all are called to high office, and not all can handle its ambiguities. All that being said, I voted for Herman, for his love, service and humility. “I, a sinner, have been trying to love God for more than forty years, and cannot say that I perfectly love Him.’

Comments are closed.