Memorial days: 2 January, 19 July
The Monk Seraphim of Sarov, the great ascetic of the Russian Church, was born 19 July 1754. The parents of the Monk, Isidore and Agafia Moshnina, were residents of Kursk. Isidore was a merchant and contracted for the construction of buildings, and at the end of his life began building a cathedral in Kursk, but died before the completion of the work. Younger son Prokhor remained in the care of his mother, who brought up a deep faith in her son.
After the death of her husband, Agafia Moshnina, who continued the construction of the cathedral, once took Prokhor with her, who, stumbling, fell down from the bell tower. The Lord preserved the life of the future lamp of the Church: a frightened mother, going downstairs, found her unharmed.
Young Prokhor, possessing a wonderful memory, soon learned to read and write. He liked to visit church services from childhood and read Holy Scripture and Lives of Saints to his peers, but most of all he liked to pray or read the Holy Gospel in seclusion.
Somehow Prokhor fell seriously ill, his life was in danger. In a dream, the boy saw the Mother of God, who promised to visit and heal him. Soon through the courtyard of the Moshniny estate there was a procession with the icon of the Sign of the Blessed Virgin; Mother carried Prokhora in her arms, and he kissed the holy icon, and then quickly recovered.
Even in his youth, Prokhor had a ripe decision to devote himself entirely to God and go to the monastery. The pious mother did not prevent this and blessed him for the monastic journey with a crucifixion, which the monk bore all his life on his chest. Prokhor with pilgrims went on foot from Kursk to Kiev to worship the Pechersk saints.
Skhimonah the elder Dositheus, whom Prokhor visited, blessed him to go to the Sarov desert and flee there. Returning for a short time to the parental home, Prokhor forever said goodbye to his mother and family. 20 November 1778, he came to Sarov, where the abbot was then a wise elder, Father Pachomius. He graciously accepted the young man and appointed Joseph the elder in the spiritual group. Under his leadership, Prokhor passed many obediences in the monastery: he was a cellmate of the old man, worked in the grain, prospore and carpenter, carried the duties of a sexton, and did everything with jealousy and zeal, serving as if to the Lord Himself. Constant work, he shielded himself from boredom - this, as he later said, "the most dangerous temptation for the new monks, who is taught by prayer, abstinence from idle talk, feasible needlework, reading the Word of God and patience, because it is born of cowardice, carelessness and idle talk" .
Already in these years, Prokhor, following the example of other monks who retired to the forest for prayer, asked the elder's blessing in his spare time to go to the forest, where he performed Jesus' prayer in complete solitude. Two years later the novice Prokhor fell ill with dropsy, his body swelled, he was in great pain. Mentor, Father Joseph, and other elders, who loved Prokhor, took care of him. The disease lasted about three years, and no one ever heard a murmur from him. The elders, fearing for the life of the patient, wanted to call a doctor to him, but Prokhor asked not to do so, telling Father Pachomius: "I gave myself, Holy Father, to the True Physician of Souls and the Body - to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Pure Mother ..." , and wished that he would receive the Holy Mysteries. At the same time, Prokhor had a vision: in the untold light was the Mother of God, accompanied by the holy apostles Peter and John the Theologian. Pointing to the patient with a hand, the Blessed Virgin said to John: "This is of our kind." Then she touched the scepter of the patient's side, and immediately the liquid filling the body began to flow through the hole formed, and he quickly recovered. Soon, on the site of the appearance of the Mother of God, a hospital church was built, one of which was consecrated in the name of the Monks Zosima and Savvatiy Solovetsky. The throne for the chapel was built by the Monk Seraphim with his own hands from a cypress tree and always associated with the Holy Mysteries in this church.
After eight years as a novice in the Sarov monastery, Prokhor took monastic tonsure with the name of Seraphim, who so well expressed his ardent love for the Lord and the desire to serve Him jealously. A year later, Seraphim was ordained a hierodeacon. With a burning spirit, he served daily in the temple, constantly praying and after the service. The Lord vouchsafed the holy gracious visions during the church services: he repeatedly saw the holy Angels, servants of the brethren. A special blessed vision, the monk was honored during the Divine Liturgy on Holy Thursday, performed by Father Pachomius and Father Joseph. When after the troparion the monk said, "Lord, save the pious," and, standing in the royal gates, guided the orarion to the worshipers with a cry of "and for ever and ever," a bright ray suddenly took him. Raising his eyes, the Monk Seraphim saw the Lord Jesus Christ walking through the air from the western doors of the temple, surrounded by Heavenly Bodiless Forces. Reaching the ambo. The Lord blessed all the worshipers and entered the local image to the right of the royal gates. The Monk Seraphim, in spiritual ecstasy, looking at the marvelous phenomenon, could not say a word, nor go away. He was taken by the arms to the altar, where he stood for another three hours, changing in the face from the great grace that illuminated him. After the vision, the monk intensified his exploits: during the day he worked in the monastery, and spent the nights in prayer in a deserted forest cell. In 1793 year, at the age of 39 years, the Monk Seraphim was ordained to the rank of hieromonk and continued service in the temple. After the death of the abbot, Father Pachomiya, the Monk Seraphim, having his deathbed blessing for a new feat - desert life, took also the blessing of the new abbot - father Isaiah - and went into the deserted cell a few kilometers from the monastery, in a dense forest. Here he began to indulge in solitary prayers, coming to the monastery only on Saturday, before the all-night service, and returning to his cell after the liturgy, for which he communed with the Holy Mysteries. The Monk led a life in severe exploits. His prayer of prayer he made according to the charter of the ancient desert monasteries; He never parted with the Holy Gospel, reading the entire New Testament during the week, he also read patristic and liturgical books. The Monk learned by heart many church songs and sang them during his hours in the forest. Near the cell, he planted a vegetable garden and arranged a bee-eater. To himself, getting food, the monk held a very strict fast, ate once a day, and on Wednesday and Friday abstained completely from food. In the first week of the Holy Thursday, he did not eat until Saturday, when he communed with the Holy Mysteries.
The holy elder in solitude so often plunged into inner prayer of heart, that for a long time remained motionless, without hearing or seeing anything around. Visiting him occasionally deserters - Schemonos Mark Silchannik and Hierodeacon Alexander, finding the saint in such a prayer, with reverence quietly removed, so as not to disturb his contemplation.
In the summer heat, the monk collected moss for fertilizing the garden in a swamp; mosquitoes mercilessly stung him, but he patiently tolerated this suffering, saying: "Passion is exterminated by suffering and sorrow, or arbitrary, or sent by Providence." For about three years the monk ate only one grass, which grew around his cell. To him more and more began to come, except for the brethren, laity - for advice and blessing. It disturbed his solitude. Having sought the blessing of the abbot, the monk blocked his access to women, and then to all the others, receiving a sign that the Lord approves of his thought of complete silence. By the prayer of the Monk, the road to his deserted cell was blocked by the huge boughs of age-old pines. Now only the birds that flocked to the monk in abundance, and the wild beasts visited him. The monk from the hands fed the bear with bread when the monastery brought him bread.
Seeing the feats of the Monk Seraphim, the enemy of the human race armed against him and, wanting to force the saint to leave silence, decided to frighten him, but the monk shielded himself with prayer and the power of the Life-giving Cross. The devil brought to the saint the "mental warfare" -a persistent long temptation. To repel the onslaught of the enemy, the Monk Seraphim aggravated the labors, taking upon himself the feat of pandemonium. Every night he climbed a huge stone in the forest and prayed with his arms raised, crying: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." In the daytime he prayed in a cell, also on a stone, which he brought from the forest, leaving him only for a brief rest and reinforcement of the body with scanty food. So prayed the reverend 1000 days and nights. The devil, confounded by the monk, planned to kill him and sent robbers. Approaching the saint, who worked in the garden, the robbers began to demand money from him. The Reverend had an ax in his hand at the time, he was physically strong and could have defended himself, but he did not want to do it, remembering the words of the Lord: "Those who take the sword with the sword will perish" (Matt. 26, 52). The saint, having lowered the ax to the ground, said: "Do what you need." The robbers began to beat the Reverend, they broke their necks with their necks, broke several ribs, then, after binding him, they wanted to throw him into the river, but first they searched the cell for money. Having crushed everything in the cell and found nothing in it except the icon and several potatoes, they were ashamed of their atrocity and left. The Monk, having regained consciousness, crawled to the cell and, suffering cruelly, lay all night. In the morning, with great difficulty, he made his way to the monastery. The brothers were horrified when they saw the wounded ascetic. For eight days the monk was lying, suffering from wounds; doctors were summoned to him, surprised that Seraphim survived after such beatings. But the Reverend was not healed from the doctors: The Queen of Heaven appeared to him in a delicate dream with the apostles Peter and John. Touching the head of the monk, the Blessed Virgin gave him healing. After this incident the Monk Seraphim had to spend about five months in the monastery, and then he again went into a deserted cell. Remained forever bent, the monk walked, leaning on a staff or hatchet, but he forgave his abusers and asked not to punish. After the death of the father superior Isaiah, who was his friend from the youth of the monk, he took upon himself the feat of silence, completely renouncing all worldly thoughts for the purest coming to God in incessant prayer. If a saint in the forest met a man, he fell prostrate and did not get up until the passer-by did not move away. In this silence, the elder spent about three years, even stopping to visit the monastery on Sundays. The fruit of silence was the acquisition of the world of the soul and joy of the Holy Spirit for St. Seraphim. The great ascetic so subsequently spoke to one of the monks of the monastery: "... my joy, I pray you, get the spirit of peace, and then thousands of souls will be saved near you." The new abbot, Father Nifont, and the elder brother of the monastery offered Father Seraphim, or still come to the monastery on Sundays to attend divine service and communion with the Holy Mysteries, or return to the monastery. The monk chose the latter, since it became difficult for him to walk from the desert to the monastery. In the spring of 1810, he returned to the monastery after 15 years in the desert. Without interrupting his silence, he added a bolt to this feat, and, not going out anywhere and not taking anyone at all, was constantly in prayer and God-thought. In the gates the Monk Seraphim acquired a high spiritual purity and was honored from God with special blessed gifts - foresight and miracles. Then the Lord appointed His elect to serve people in the highest monastic feat - the eldership. 25 November 1825 The Mother of God, together with the two saints celebrated on this day, appeared in a sleepy vision to the old man and ordered him to leave the shutter and receive the feeble human souls, requiring instruction, consolation, guidance and healing. Having been blessed by the abbot to change the way of life, the monk opened the doors of his cell for all. The Elder saw the hearts of people, and he, like a spiritual physician, healed mental and bodily illnesses by prayer to God and a blessed word. Those who came to St. Seraphim felt his great love and listened with tender affection to the kind words with which he addressed people: "My joy, my treasure." The Elder began to visit his deserted cell and a spring, called Bogoslovsky, near which he was built a small cell house. Coming out of the cell, the old man always carried a knapsack with stones. When asked why he was doing this, the saint humbly replied: "Tomla, who is tormenting me." In the last period of earthly life the Monk Seraphim especially cared for his beloved, child - Diveevo female abode. Even in the rank of Hierodeacon, he accompanied the deceased abbot of Father Pachomiya to the Diveevo community to the abbess nun Alexandra, the great ascetic, and then Father Pachomius blessed the Reverend to always take care of the Diveevo orphans. He was a true father for sisters who addressed him in all their spiritual and worldly difficulties. Pupils and spiritual friends helped the saint to nourish the Diveevo community-Mikhail Vasilievich Manturov, healed by the monk from a grave illness and, on the advice of the elder, took upon himself the feat of voluntary poverty; Elena V. Manturova, one of the Diveevsky sisters, voluntarily agreed to die out of obedience to the elder for her brother, who was still needed in this life; Nikolai Alexandrovich Motovilov, also healed by the monk. N. A. Motovilov recorded the remarkable teaching of the Monk Seraphim about the purpose of the Christian life. In the last years of the life of the Monk Seraphim, one healed him saw him standing on the air in time for prayer. The saint strictly forbade telling about this before his death.
Everyone knew and revered St. Seraphim as a great ascetic and miracle worker. For a year and ten months before his death, on the feast of the Annunciation, the Monk Seraphim once again honored the appearance of the Queen of Heaven, accompanied by the Baptist of the Lord John, the Apostle John the Theologian and twelve virgins, holy martyrs and saints. The Blessed Virgin conversed with the monk for a long time, entrusting him with the Diveevsky sisters. Having finished the conversation, She said to him: "Soon, My beloved, you will be with us." At this phenomenon, with a marvelous visit to the Mother of God, there was one Diveevo old man, according to the prayer of the monk for her.
In the last year of his life the Monk Seraphim began to noticeably weaken and told many about a near death. At that time he was often seen at the coffin, standing in the porch of his cell and cooked for himself. The Monk himself indicated the place where he should be buried, - near the altar of the Assumption Cathedral. 1 January 1833, the Monk Seraphim last came to the hospital Zosimo-Savvatiev church for the liturgy and received the Holy Mysteries, after which he blessed the brethren and said goodbye, saying: "Save yourself, do not faint, watch, we have the crowns ready". On the second of January the cell-attendant of the monk, Father Pavel, at six o'clock in the morning left his cell, heading to the church, and felt the smell of burning that emanated from the cell of the monk; candles burned in the cell of the saint, and he said: "As long as I live, there will be no fire, and when I die, my death will be opened by fire." When the doors opened, it turned out that books and other things were smoldering, and the Reverend knelt before the icon of the Mother of God in prayerful position, but already lifeless. His pure soul during the prayer was taken by the Angels and flew to the Throne of God the Almighty, a faithful servant and servant of Whom the Monk Seraphim was all his life.