Saint Seraphim of Sarov was canonized in 1903, 70 years after his death. Saint Seraphim, who was much respected while alive, became one of the most revered saints among the Russians, similar to Saint Sergius of Radonezh.
The spiritual way of life led by Saint Seraphim was marked with great modesty, typical of Russian saints. The Saint from Sarov, who was blessed by God since childhood, never had hesitation on his way to spiritual perfection. He was a novice for 8 years, and for 8 years he served in the church; what followed is his hermitage and his life of pillar asceticism, the vow of silence and, finally, spiritual eldership. He easily managed to perform the feats, which seem impossible for an average man and beyond the capacity of a human being. Thus, for example, he was praying to God, staying on the stone for 1000 days and night.
The heritage of Saint Seraphim is not just in the secret of prayer, but also another treasure – his great and wise teachings, some of which he wrote himself, and the others were written by those who talked to the Saint. “Fasting, vigil and other Christian duties are great, but they are no the aim of Christianity, although the help to reach it. The true goal of our Christian life is to attainment of God’s Holy Spirit”. Once the Saint was blessed by the Holy Spirit and saw the whole Russian land, which was covered with a cloud of prayers by the faithful Christians.
In the life stories of Saint Seraphim it is stated, that he could foresee and used this ability to make people repent and to disciple them spiritually.
“God showed me, – he said, – that the time will come, when the hierarchs of Russian land and other men of God will deviate from preserving the orthodoxy, and that is why the wrath of God will defeat them. For three days I was asking God to have mercy upon them. Iasked Him to deprive me, poor Seraphim, of the Kingdom of Heaven, but not punish them. The Lord was steadfast and did not accept poor Seraphim’s request. He said that he will not spare them, as they will live by the law of men, not
the law of God”.
the law of God”.
Saint Seraphim told that the main feat and means of attainment of the Holy Spirit is prayer. “Each virtue in the name of Christ will bestow a blessing upon you, but prayer gives you most of all. And it is the easiest to perform”. The Saint said: “There is no sin worse than dismay”. He was always in good mood and he tried to share his spiritual happiness with the people who visited him with the words like “My joy, Christ is risen!” Any life troubles seemed to be trifles when the Saint took on them. A lot of grieving people gathered near his house, as they wanted to meet him and bask in his spirituality and grace. People could see that the Saint’s appeal was true: “Attain peace, and thus you will help thousands of men to attain salvation”. Saint Seraphim is considered to be the disciple of the Mother of God.
Three times the Mother of God healed his incurable diseases, many times the Mother of God appeared to him, guided him and fostered his spirit. On the very beginning of his way, when he laid on his bed being sick and weak physically, he saw the Mother of God, pointing at him and saying to apostle John: “This one is one of us”.
The teachings of Saint Seraphim resonate with a great force: “God is looking for the hearts, which are full of love to Him and to thy neighbors. The Lord says: “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs, 23:26). A human heart can take the whole Kingdom of Heaven.