Life of Serafim Sarovsky (briefly)
This saint, who in the days of earthly life called himself "the wretched Seraphim", after his honest death, began to be called "Father Seraphimushka." Many saints shone forth in God's peace. They are worshiped, they are worshiped. But only those whom they especially love can magnify. Let us open the life of St. Seraphim of Sarov, and see what he gained with such sincere love.
Childhood Prokhor Moshnin
Reverend Seraphim was born on July 19, 1759 in Kursk, in the merchant Moshnin family. At holy baptism they called him Prokhor. Even in childhood, the future founder of the Diveevsky monastery was marked by the special grace of God. The life of Serafim Sarovsky tells of his wonderful rescue, when one day, rising to the belfry with his mother, he fell and, falling from a great height, miraculously remained unharmed. Another time, during a serious illness, when relatives no longer hoped that he would survive, he was allowed to see the Most Holy Mother of God in a dream, announcing a speedy recovery.And after a short time, the procession went along with them, and Prokhor, who was taken out of the house, venerated the icon of the Mother of God and soon recovered.
As the life of St. Seraphim of Sarovsk tells further, being distinguished by his mind, good memory and energy, he did not want to follow in the footsteps of his father who had died by that time. The soul of the future ascetic to the merchant business did not lie. Drawn him to the temple of God, all his thoughts were full of Christ's teachings. An important role in his religious education was played by his mother, Agafya Moshnina. It was she who first noticed the proximity of her son to the Lord and tried her best to help him in his spiritual life.
Striving for monasticism
When Prokhor was sixteen years old, the desire to devote his life to God finally matured in him. When he spoke to his mother about possible monasticism, he met with sympathy. Agafya blessed her son by putting a copper cross on his neck, which he did not remove until the end of his life. Having prayed to God and crouched on the path, Prokhor left his home forever.
At first he went to Kiev, where the holy elder Dositheus, after blessing him, ordered him to go to the Sarov deserts to his father abbot Pachomius, to struggle there as a novice.The life of Serafim Sarovsky with great warmth tells about the father Pachomius as a zealous servant of God and an unusually kind person.
The beginning of monastic life
By his diligence in the performance of obedience, Prokhor earned the respect of all the brethren. He was very pleased to take part in church services, where he was assigned mainly the role of reader. But Prokhor had a particular inclination towards solitary prayers. For their sake, he, with the blessing of his confessor, went into the forest thicket, where he talked with God in private.
Further, the Life of Seraphim of Sarov tells of his serious illness and the second appearance of Prokhor the Most Holy Theotokos. The Lord sent him a test - a dropsy, from which the whole body swelled. And again, as in early childhood, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him with the Apostles Peter and John the Theologian, and, predicting a speedy recovery, said, pointing to the patient: “This is our kind!” Soon, the disease left Prokhor.
For eight years, Prokhor remained a novice in a monastery. Finally, it's time for his tonsure. The abbot, father Pachomius, tonsured him to the monastic rank with the name Seraphim.This happened, as evidenced by the life of St. Seraphim, wonderworker of Sarov, August 13, 1786. From that day Prokhor Moshnin died for the world and the monk Seraphim was born, which means “fiery”. This name perfectly conveys all the fire and the heat of his faith.
After two months he was ordained deacon. In the new title of the Seraphim, he spent days and nights in church services and cell prayers, leaving himself only a short time to sleep. This period includes the first visit to Diveevo women's community, from which a monastery will later be formed, the founder and patron of which will be the Monk Seraphim of Sarov. And in the same days he was honored, while serving in the temple, to see Jesus Christ coming in the air and blessing him. The life of Seraphim Sarovsky also tells us about this miracle.
More than five years have passed, and the eirodiacon Seraphim was elevated to the rank of hieromonk. He was then thirty-four years old. In the prime of his life, he begins a desert life. With the blessing of his father-abbot, he retired to a lonely cell, built in the forest more often.Here, far from the world, he devoted himself to prayers, divine thinking, and reading spiritual books. No outsiders were allowed to him. His life was likened to that which the ancient devotees led.
Saint Seraphim constantly wore heavy chains and clothes only that which befitted his monastic rank. At the same time, he ate the fruits of his hands, smashing a vegetable garden around his cell and collecting edible herbs in the forest. Occasionally he was brought bread from the monastery. It is known that part of his saint gave wild beasts, often coming to his cell. Often on the icons depict how the saint feeds bear bread. Even the evil inhabitants of the forest felt the goodness of the saint.
The enemy of the human race, as is known, always exerts the power to shake the faith of the righteous and prevent him from serving God. Here and against the holy Seraphim, an unclean spirit has fought, trying to intimidate him and force him to stop his retreat. Many times there were terrible voices in his ears, growling of beasts and other fruits of devilish obsession. He tried to shake the body of the saint, and even beat him to the ground. But everything was overcome by fasting and prayer. And the enemy was forced to retreat.
To crown it all, the enemy of men sent down on St. Seraphim the robbers. Those severely beaten him, almost deprived of life, demanding money. But the saint suffered everything with humility, and later even forgave his offenders. For a long time after suffering a beating, he could not walk and remained bent until the end of his days. This period is the third occurrence of Father Seraphim of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As in the previous time, Apostles Peter and John accompanied Her, and also She said, pointing to Seraphim: "This is from our lineage."
Five months later he returned to his forest cell. The days were filled again, filled with prayers and reading spiritual literature. But the monk decided to entrust himself with a new voluntary cross - the feat of silence. From that time his lips were shut up for vain speeches. Even with those rare guests that came from the monastery, he spoke with signs. Very soon, and this ceased to satisfy him, and it was time for the feat, which is rarely found in the life of the saints.
Seraphim of Sarov began his famous standing on a stone, which lasted a thousand days and nights. He spent exactly that time, repeating the Jesus Prayer, at night on a huge boulder in the middle of the forest, and during the day in his cell, on a specially brought stone.He slept only when the forces left him completely.
After this period, the old man returned to the monastery, as he was exhausted by the ascetic life and finally lost his health and could not do without outside help. But even in the walls of the monastery, Father Seraphim leads a former life. This time he carries the feat of seclusion. His whole life is limited to the walls of the cell. Again prayers and Holy Scripture. His shutter lasted five years, ended with another, the last phenomenon of the Most Holy Theotokos, who commanded that the doors of the cell were opened to all who came to him for help.
Last years of earthly life
The tremendous spiritual experience he gained during the years of asceticism should not have been in vain. Given to him by God, he was obliged to convey to people. From this day began the last stage, which tells the Life of Seraphim of Sarov. For children and adults, for the rich and the poor, for people of all social groups, he had wise words that could help and support. In addition, his holy life, he gained the ability to heal disease, because he took in his cell hundreds of sufferers, and everyone got rid of the disease.He departed to the Lord on January 2, 1833.
Thousands of souls and human bodies were healed by Seraphim of Sarov. The life, a summary of which only to a small extent conveys all his love for God and people, became an example of life for many generations of monks. Just like him, they strive to attain spiritual heights, to give themselves to the service of God and people. This is where the roots of people's love for him are. That's how long his tender name is "Father Seraphimushka."