Saint Seraphim of Sarov was born in the year 1883, within the city of Kursk, located in the then Russian Empire. His birth name was Prokhor Moshnin, and he would grow up into becoming one of the most influential Russian monks within the Orthodox Church. Saint Seraphim is widely thought to be the greatest out of all of the 19th century elders within his respective faith. One of the many great things that he accomplished, was to open the door of accessibility into the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial, so that an every day person could understand it. Saint Seraphim is also renown for teaching that a persons sole purpose in life is to accept and surrender to the Holy Spirit. Due to his many accomplishments, this Russian mystic was canonized in 1903 within the Orthodox Church. The day upon which he died is now a happy day of feasting, in honor of his memory. He is even honored by many in the Catholic Church.
One of the better known stories from within Saint Seraphim's life, took place one day, when he was attacked by a group of thugs while out chopping wood. These thugs beat the Saint within inches of losing his life, savagery which is thought to have been motivated by the frustration over the fact that Saint Seraphim had no money to steal. The monk put up zero resistance during the confrontation, which very well may have saved his life. Where this tragedy gets interesting, is that after the incident, Saint Seraphim when and spent one thousand nights in a row on a rock, locked in continuous prayer. During these rigorous prayer sessions, he held his arms raised to the sky, which is an amazing accomplishment considering the permanent damage that he received to his spine during the assault on him. Afterwards during the trial of the thugs that beat him, Saint Seraphim graciously asked the judge to show mercy upon them, showing total forgiveness.
During the year 1815, Saint Seraphim of Sarov acting as a confessor began allowing pilgrims into his hermitage. He stated that he was inspired to do this by a spiritual vision he had, which he accredited to the Blessed Virgin Mary. At first only a small trickle of pilgrims started coming to him, but then soon afterward the trickle turned into a flood. Rumors started circulating about Saint Seraphim having healing powers, and the ability to prophesied. At it's peak, it is thought that over a hundred pilgrims visited the monk each day. Many of them stated that the Saint was able to answer questions before people would ask them. The Saint was also noted for his gracious and loving presence towards all strangers, having always greeted them with a kiss, upon which he would tell them Christ is risen. Sadly this amazing man pass away in 1833, at the age of 74. It is said that the monk died while kneeling in prayer before a Theotokos icon.
This wonderful Saint of Sarov, is thought to have left behind a great many relics after he passed, many of which were revered for a time. However during the exceptionally brutal and murderous Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviet communist thugs confiscated most of the relics, and some have never been seen ever since, and were very likely destroyed. A small portion of the relics were however rediscovered in a museum in 1991, and the Orthodox Church was happy to see them returned. The faithful masses even created a religious ceremony or crucession to escort and march the relics on foot all the way from the Russian capital of Moscow, to the Diveyevo Convent, where you can view them all today. That concludes this article, we hope that it has inspired you to research Saint Seraphim of Sarov in greater depth. The Russian Orthodox Church has many great online resources dedicated to the man, so please be sure and check them out.