Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Feast Day: January 2nd

& July 19th – the Uncovering of his Holy Relics


The Life of Saint Seraphim: No matter what time of the year it was, he would greet everyone with the words, “Christ is Risen, my joy!”…

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Prayers

Akathist Hymn

Apolytikion: Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O Blessed one, and ardently desiring to work for Him alone, thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant Prayer and labour; and having acquired love for Christ with compunction of heart, thou didst prove to be the beloved favourite of the Mother of God. Wherefore, we cry to thee: Save us by thy Prayers, O Seraphim, our Holy Father.

Kontakion: Having left the beauty of the world and what is corrupt therein, O Saint, thou didst settle in the Monastery of Sarov. And having lived there an Angelic life, thou wast for many the way unto Salvation. Wherefore, Christ hath Glorified thee, O Father Seraphim, and hath enriched thee with the Gift of Healing and Miracles. And so we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Seraphim, our Holy Father.

Prayer: 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 and weak, 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 heartfelt contrition for all our sins, to make progress in Christian devotion and to be worthy of thy Prayers before 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 the devil, 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.



Icons

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A cartoon about the life of Saint Seraphim

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A vision of Saint Iakovos of Saint Seraphim showing him Heaven.

Quotes by Saint Seraphim of Sarov

The reading of the Word of God should be performed in solitude, in order that the whole mind of the reader might be plunged into the truths of the Holy Scripture, and that from this he might receive warmth, which in solitude produces tears; from these a man is wholly warmed and is filled with Spiritual Gifts, which rejoice the mind and heart more than any word.

But do not be troubled or sad. The Lord sometimes allows people who are devoted to Him to fall into such dreadful vices; and this is in order to prevent them from falling into a greater sin – pride. Your temptation will pass and you will spend the remaining days of your life in humility. Only do not forget your sin.

At around their thirty-fifth year, that is half-way through our Earthly life, people have a great struggle to remain true to themselves. At that age, many of them don’t remain virtuous, but go astray and follow the path of their desires.

There is nothing better than peace in Christ, for it brings victory over all the evil spirits on Earth and in the air. When peace dwells in a man’s heart it enables him to contemplate the Grace of the Holy Spirit from within. He who dwells in peace collects Spiritual gifts as it were with a scoop, and he sheds the light of knowledge on others. All our thoughts, all our desires, all our efforts, all our actions should make us say constantly with the Church: ‘O Lord, give us peace!’ When a man lives in peace, God reveals Mysteries to him…

Those who wish to please God go through many sorrows.

No spiritual exercise can be compared with silence.

As every sickness has its treatment, so every sin has repentance.

God shows us His love for man not only in those instances when we do good, but also when we affront Him with our sins and anger Him.

Silence is the cross on which we must crucify our ego.

Without having freed itself from the world, the Soul cannot love God sincerely. For worldly things, in the words of Saint Antioch, are as it were a veil for the Soul.

It sometimes happens that a person in despondency thinks to himself that it would be easier for him to be destroyed, or to be without any feeling and consciousness than to remain any longer in this unaccountably tormenting state of mind. One should try to get out of it as quickly as possible. Beware of the spirit of despondency, for it gives birth to every evil.

Heaven and hell begin on Earth.

We have to try to be free from unclean thoughts, especially when we Pray to God. Because it’s not possible for there to be a stench mixed in with a fragrance.

We should so train ourselves that the mind, as it were, swims in the law of the Lord by which we must guide and rule our life.

Do not forget to send gifts to those who hurt you.

When a person accepts anything Godly, then he rejoices in his heart, but when he has accepted anything devilish, then he becomes tormented.

Cheerfulness is not a sin. It drives away weariness, for from weariness there is sometimes dejection, and there is nothing worse than that.

We do well if we don’t comply with sinful thoughts, which come from the devil. Because the evil spirit is able to exercise effective influence only over impassioned people. If you’re without passions, he can try to get at you only from afar.

If in Prayer it happens that the mind is caught up by distracting thoughts, then one should bow down to Our Lord God and ask for forgiveness, saying: I have sinned, O Lord, in word, deed and thought, and all my senses.

A sign of Spiritual life is the immersion of a person within himself and the hidden workings within his heart.

The body is a slave, the Soul a sovereign, and therefore it is due to Divine Mercy when the body is worn out by illness: for thereby the passions are weakened, and a man comes to himself; indeed, bodily illness itself is sometimes caused by the passions.

My joy put your trust in God and ask for His help, but know how to forgive your neighbour – and you will be given all that you ask.

The Grace of True Communion is so great that it is imprinted on all the people who receive Communion.

When a child smiles in a dream, an Angel plays with him.

Whatever you do, do it gently and unhurriedly, because Virtue is not a pear to be eaten in one bite.

Where there is God, there is no evil. Everything coming from God is peaceful, healthy and leads a person to the judgement of his own imperfections and humility.

The Lord personally gives us the Commandment to love one another, so that, by consoling one another with mutual love, we may lighten the sorrowful and narrow way of our journey to the Heavenly country. Why did He descend too us from Heaven, if not for the purpose of taking upon Himself our poverty and making us rich with the riches of His Goodness and His unutterable generosity? He did not come to be served by men but to serve them Himself and to give His life for the Salvation of many.

We should not be put off in the Spiritual life by any power of the enemy. On the contrary, we should depend on the Words of God: “Do not fear with their fear and do not be troubled, for God is with us. Sanctify the Lord your God and He shall be your fear” (Isaiah 8:12-13).

Bear it in silence when an enemy offends you, and open your heart to the Lord.

One must not be content with progressing from disbelief to belief, but rather, one must strive to progress from belief to a better understanding of the Truth that he believes.

We should be prepared to put up with everything, happily, for the sake of God. Our life is but a moment compared to Eternity and therefore, as Saint Paul says: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the Glory that will be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

As fire purifies gold, so sorrow that is in accord with God purifies a sinful heart.

The door of repentance is open to all, and you do know who will enter it first – you, who are judging, or the one who is being judged by you.

The person who has entered onto the path of silence must constantly remember why he has done so. This is so that the heart may not be turned away from its purpose toward something else.

The devil is like a lion, hiding in ambush. He secretly sets out nets of unclean and unHoly thoughts. So, it is necessary to break them off as soon as we notice them, by means of pious reflection and Prayer.

Just as our Lord is solicitous about our Salvation, so too the murderer of men, the devil, strives to lead a man into despair… Judas the betrayer was fainthearted and unskilled in battle, and so the enemy, seeing his despair, attacked him and forced him to hang himself; but Peter, a firm rock, when he fell into great sin, like one skilled in battle did not despair nor lose heart, but shed bitter tears from a burning heart, and the enemy, seeing these tears, his eyes scorched as by fire, fled far from him wailing in pain.

It is very useful to spend time reading the Word of God in solitude and to read the whole Bible with understanding. In return for this exercise alone, without the addition of any other virtuous deeds, the Lord grants man His Mercy and fills him with the gift of understanding. When a man provides his Soul with the Word of God, the he is granted the understanding of what is good and what is evil.

Bear sorrows for the sake of the Heavenly Kingdom. Without sorrows there is no Salvation. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God awaits those who have patiently endured. And all the glory of the world is nothing in comparison. My joy! I implore you to acquire a peaceful spirit.

One should nourish the Soul with the Word of God: for the Word of God, as Saint Gregory the Theologian says, is Angelic bread, by which are nourished Souls who hunger for God. Most of all, one should occupy oneself with reading the New Testament and the Psalter, which one should do standing up. From this there occurs an enlightenment in the mind, which is changed by a Divine change.

Of course, every good deed done for Christ’s sake gives us the Grace of the Holy Spirit, but Prayer gives us this Grace most of all, for it is always at hand, as an instrument for acquiring the Grace of the Spirit. For instance, you would like to go to Church, but there is no Church or the Service is over; you would like to give alms to a beggar, but there isn’t one, or you have nothing to give; you would like to preserve your virginity, but you have not the strength to do so because of your temperament, or because of the violence of the wiles of the enemy which because of your human weakness you cannot withstand; you would like to do some other good deed for Christ’s sake, but either you have not the strength or the opportunity is lacking. This certainly does not apply to Prayer. Prayer is always possible for everyone, rich and poor, noble and humble, strong and weak, healthy and sick, righteous and sinful.