January 2

St. Seraphim of Sarov

Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Described as one of the most renowned Russian saints and most significant of the 19th century, St. Seraphim of Sarov is being revered for many good reasons.

A Miracle Child

He was born on 19 July 1759; some records said 1754, and he got baptizedwith the name Prokhor Moshnin to Isidore and Agathaia Moshnin in Kursk,Russian empire. Just an ordinary boy, his father, Isidore, was amerchant.

History has it that when seraphim were 7, he felled from the bell towerof the Kursk cathedral (about 3/4 stories tall), contrary toexpectation, he was unharmed. When he became gravely ill at the age ofnine, Seraphim received cure by the icon of the blessed virgin mary. Hewas later to experience some visions.

Seraphim was 19 in 1777 when he joined the Sarov monastery as a novice.1786, he took his monastic vows and took the religious name Seraphim. Ayear later, he became a deacon, and by 1793, Seraphim was ordained apriest at 34.

After his ordination as a priest, Seraphim took to the woods.

Life in Solitude and Confinement

Seraphim lived as a hermit (someone living separately from the societyfor religious reasons) in a small hut in the wood for 25 years. He tookto the extreme ascetic life in the woods. It is stated that he only atebread from the monastery and vegetables. At a time, he was said to haveeaten only grass for three years.

While chopping wood one day, Seraphim was attacked by a gang of thieveshoping to steal money from him. Unfortunately, they found nothing ofvalue with him except the icon of the virgin Mary. They severely beathim up and left him for dead.

Seraphim spent five months recovering in the monastery, after which heretreated to the wood. He remained hunched for the rest of his life.

Devotion as a Way of Life

For every day he lived, st. Seraphim only sought a life of intense andpersonal devotion to god. He’s attributed to wearing peasant clothing, acrucifix around his neck, having his hands over his chest.

Perhaps, one of his most remarkable devotions deemed a miracle by theeastern orthodox church was when he spent 1000 successive nights anddays on a rock kneeling with his hands upraised in prayer.

It is worth mention that while in solitude, st seraphim welcomedeveryone who visited him. Be it man, woman, children, or animal.

In 1815, after a spiritual encounter he attributed to the blessed virginmary, seraphim returned to the monastery to help the pilgrims.

Notable Quotes of St. Seraphim

When st. Seraphim returned to the monastery; he taught the people aboutthe life of prayer and meditation. Every pilgrim who met with him,always left in joy, filled with the hope of the resurrection of Christ.

St.Seraphim served as a confessor to many of the faithful and pilgrims,blessed with the gift of healing and prophecy, a large number of peoplewere drawn to him.

Let’s take a look at some of st seraphim quotes from his manyteachings.

“Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you, thousands will besaved.”

“A sign of spiritual life is the immersion of a person withinhimself and the hidden workings within his heart.”

“Those who have truly decided to serve to serve the lord god shouldpractice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to JesusChrist, mentally saying; Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercyon me, a sinner.”

“Bear sorrows for the sake of the heavenly kingdom. Without sorrows,there is no salvation. The kingdom of God awaits those who havepatiently endured. And all the glory of the world is nothing incomparison.”

“It is necessary that the Holy Spirit enter our hearts. Everythinggood that we do and do for Christ, is given to us by the HolySpirit, but prayer most of all, which is always available to us.

On Sin and Forgiveness, St Seraphim have this to say “The lordsometimes allows people who are devoted to him fall into such dreadfulvices, and thus to prevent them from falling into a still greater sin,PRIDE. Your temptations will pass, and you will spend the remainingdays of your life in humility. Only do not forget your sin”.

The Journey to Glory

St. seraphim died on 14 January 1833. He was canonized by the Russianorthodox church in 1903. Pope John Paul 11, following his reverence inthe catholic church, called him a saint.


[St. Seraphim of Sarov onOrthodoxWiki]{.ul}

5 Interesting Facts About Saint Seraphim

  1. He called everyone who came to him “My Joy” and greeted anyone
    he met with “Christ is Risen”.
  2. He lived, taught and preached forgiveness. How do we know this? When
    the thieves who attacked him were arrested, St Seraphim pleaded to
    the judge for mercy on their behalf.
  3. Are you aware that St.Seraphim is a mystic? He was reputed to
    discern the thoughts and problems of people who visited him before
    they voiced out words.
  4. A Saint with the desire to share with people the inner glory of God.
    He’s on record to be the first priest/monk to have taught lay
    people the traditional monastic method of contemplation, self-
    denial and prayer.
  5. Strange as it sounds, St Seraphim is known as the Patron Saint of
    Russia’s Nuclear Weapons.

Prayer to Saint Seraphim

O great Saint of God, our venerable and God-bearing Father, Seraphim!Look down from the glory that is above, upon us who are humble andweak,burdened with our many sins, and ask thy help and consolation.Bend down to us in thy loving kindness,and help us to carry out God’s commandments without stain,firmly to keep the Orthodox Faith, to approach God in heartfeltcontrition for all our sins,to make progress in Christian devotion and to be worthy of thy prayersbefore God.Yea, O Saint of God, hearken unto us,who pray to thee in faith and love,and despise us not who seek thee as our defender:now, and at the hour of our departure,help us and defend us by thy prayers from the wicked assaults of thedevil,lest evil powers should have dominion over us;but let us be granted, by thy help,to inherit the bliss of heavenly mansions.For we place our hope in thee,O kind-hearted father:be thou indeed our guide to salvation,and bring us to the unwaning light of eternal life,by thy good intercession before the throne of the Most Holy Trinity,so that we may glorify and hymn with all the Saints,the name worthy of adoration,of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,for ages of ages. Amen.