Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Also known as

  • Prokhor Moshnin

Memorial

Profile

Son of a builder, he had a middle-class upbringing. Monk at Sarov in 1777, taking the name Seraphim. Studious as a boy, he was able to apply himself there as the monks of Sarov spent much of the day studying Scripture and the early Church writings. Severely ill and bed-ridden from 1780 to 1783, Seraphim continued his studies, and received repeated apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Ordained in 1793, he celebrated Mass daily, which was unusual at the time.

In 1794 he became a hermit in the forest near the Sarov monastery. In 1804 he was severely beaten by thieves, and left for dead; he dragged himself to the monastery, spent five months in recovery, and spent the rest of his life stooped and requiring a cane to walk. He lived for a while atop a pillar, then in a walled up cell. Offered the abbacy of Sarov in 1807, but declined, and lived the next three years without speaking.

In 1810 his health had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer live in the woods. He returned to the Sarov abbey, and lived as a hermit within its walls. In 1832 he received a vision from the Virgin Mary that told him to return to the world and give others the benefit of his wisdom. He attracted followers and students, became known as a healer, and was called by the honourific starets, Russian for spiritual teacher. Many of his teachings have been reprinted in the West, and Pope John Paul II referred to him in the book Threshold of Hope.

Born

Died

Canonized

  • 1903 by the Russian Orthodox Church

Additional Information

Readings

From thy youth up thou hast loved Christ, O blessed Saint, and aflame with the desire to work for Him alone thou hast contended in unceasing prayer and laboured in the wilderness: and gaining by compunction of heart the love of Christ, thou hast appeared as the chosen of the Mother of God. Therefore we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Father Seraphim. - troparion of Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Having left the beauty of the world and what is corrupt in it, O Saint, thou didst settle in Sarov Monastery. And having lived there an angelic life, thou wast for many the way to salvation. Wherefore Christ has glorified thee, O Father Seraphim,and has enriched thee with the gift of healing and miracles. And so we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Seraphim our righteous Father. - kontakion of Saint Seraphim of Sarov

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Seraphim of Sarov“. Saints.SQPN.com. 4 January 2014. Web. 16 April 2014. <>