Church History Saints Spirituality

Saint Seraphim of Sarov

“We should devote all our efforts for the benefit of our souls. We should strengthen our bodies only so that they might aid us in strengthening our souls…”

– Saint Seraphim of Sarov
(The Joy of the Holy)


19th Century AD

Kursk Root Icon

As a child, Saint Seraphim of Sarov was healed by God through the Wonderworking Kursk Root icon.


“The teaching of Saint Seraphim, like that of all the saints, is based upon the words of Holy Scripture. Dedicated to daily reading of the Word of God, his life was occupied with its study. It is documented that during his years of seclusion, Saint Seraphim read the entire New Testament every week. He was especially devoted to the reading of the Holy Gospels. He constantly refers to Holy Scripture throughout his teaching, quoting accurately from both the Old and New Testaments. His interpretation is firmly founded on the patristic exegesis of scriptural passages. Clearly, the Bible is the basis for the message of Saint Seraphim…He especially admired the holy hierarchs, Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory the Theologian, Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Ambrose of Milan…He was also dedicated to the mystical writings of the ascetic Fathers, including Saint Macarius the Great, Saint John Climacus, Saint Isaac the Syrian, and Saint Symeon the New Theologian.”
– The Joy of the Holy, 29-30 (Boosalis)

“Saint Seraphim himself did not leave behind any written documents, nor did he seek to organize his teaching in any systematic fashion. The Spiritual Instructions [found in “The Joy of Holy“] are a collection of his oral teachings. They were compiled as a supplement to the first official biography of the saint, which was written in 1837 under the auspices of Archbishop Anthony of the Holy Trinity Lavra, who was himself a disciple of Saint Seraphim…[Saint Seraphim was also known and] respected by Saint Philaret of Moscow, who helped assure that the Spiritual Instructions were published in 1841 which contributed to the veneration of Saint Seraphim and consequently his canonization in 1904.”
– The Joy of the Holy, 29 (Boosalis)



…What does it matter that I am a monk and you are a layman? What God requires is a true faith in Himself and His Only-Begotten Son.” [in conversation with Motovilov]

Prayer, fasting, vigils and all other Christian practices, however good they may be in and of themselves, do not constitute the true goal of our Christian way of life. They only serve as the indispensable means of attaining it. The true goal of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.”

– The Joy of the Holy

Troparion — Tone 4

Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one,
and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor.
With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God.
Wherefore we cry to thee:
Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.

Kontakion — Tone 2

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.

Feast Day(s)

January 2
July 19 (relics)

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