St. Seraphim of Sarov

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Today’s article is devoted to the great Christian saint, ascetic, insight Elder, St. Seraphim of Sarov miracle worker (in the world Prokhorov Isidorovich Moshnin 1754-1833).

The life of such greats as Seraphim, inspires love, faith, hope, humility, millions of believers of different times. In modern times, unfortunately people have forgotten the names of their heroes. I think something says a little, for any of today’s youth about the name Seraphim of Sarov.

But in the 19th century, Seraphim was extremely popular. His fame resounded throughout the then Russian Empire, thousands peoples from everywhere flocked to him in Sarov seeking treatment, life’s instructions, tips. And Seraphim never refused to help all the people who came to him he had met with gentle words: “My joy!” And bowing low at his feet, regardless of who was standing in front of him, whether the noble Earl, or a wealthy landowner, or simply a poor serf.

Most of his life Seraphim spent in strict fasting and continuous prayers, living like a hermit in the woods at some distance from Sarov, once a week, on Sunday, visiting the monastery to pick up a portion of crackers or sauerkraut. This small rations and the fact that he grew in his garden (which he had built near his cell, in the woods), and lived, spending all the time for lessons of Jesus’ prayer, scripture reading and manual labor in the garden. Part of its products, he gave the forest creatures, birds, who loved him, and even according to legend, fed from the hands the bear.

Seraphim and the bear

One day it happened is a story among the local peasants went bad rumors about the supposedly wealthy pilgrims who come to him for spiritual advice and leave the big donations. The three peasants decided to rob the saint. They found him in the woods when one with an ax in his hands chopping the wood itself. Seraphim was a fairly strong, and having even to the same ax in hand, could quite successfully defend themselves against attackers. But he did not do so, he calmly put the ax on the ground and said attackers, “Do what you have” One of them took an ax and that the forces struck on the head with Seraphim. The blow he lost consciousness and was dragged to his cell merciless beating. Breaking into the cell, the robbers had expected to find great riches, but break all upside down, found only an icon and a few potatoes from the garden. At this point, they embraced the great horror and shame of such act, and they ran away, took nothing. Recovering, Seraph with great difficulty arrived battered and mutilated in a monastery. His wounds were not compatible with life, he fractured skull and caused several fatal wounds. The fact that he survived, in and of itself was a miracle. After 5 months of Seraphim spent in a monastery, recovering from wounds inflicted. Those criminals were caught and soon it seemed nothing could save them from punishment of justice. However, they had been saved the holy Seraphim, who never keep the evil. He has publicly declared that if his abusers will be punished, he will leave forever Sarov. As a result, those farmers were released without any punishment for his crime but they still pay, because soon a fire destroyed their home ground. These peasants have repented, and then as pilgrims came to St. Seraphim, asking forgiveness for their crime.

For his spiritual exploits Saint Seraphim received from God the gift of clairvoyance and healing. All the people, who came to him for advice and admonitions, he saw through, even the innermost thoughts of every single person read like an open book. After that, people like Seraphim and named – insightful elder. Those who came to him in desperation, he comforted those who were in trouble, he soothed, sad he gave joy, to many people he has helped by his gift of clairvoyance. So one day he was visited by the farmer, who lost a horse, which was a support and breadwinner of the family, Seraphim said the farmer the exact spot where the horse is, the farmer went to the place and took the horse. Such cases were very many. The number of visitors during the holidays Seraphim sometimes even reached 5000 people a day.

When Seraphim went somewhere, he had a habit of taking on his shoulders a bag full of heavy stones. When asked why he was doing, replied: “one who is straitened wearies me” (The body is often tormented spirit, and he bag with heavy stones afflict the body. So I understand this is his statement. And indeed, when the body is in physical fatigue, spirit flying high. Orthodox and Buddhist monks knew this, so the physical work was a mandatory attribute their spiritual formation. In the Orthodox tradition, there is still such a practice as a genuflection, if it do all the rules, you get serious charge)

Seraphim died on January 2, 1833 at the age of 79 years. On the morning of that day, the monks went into his cell and saw the Seraphim kneeling before a small altar on which was an icon of the Mother of God and Prayer. The head was lowered, as if he was asleep, great elder, died during a prayer. St. Seraphim did not leave behind any records, but his teachings come to us through people who have had great happiness in their lives to meet with such a great man.

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