St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
of Boston, MA

April 2012-Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa

Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa A kind neighbor took Basil with him to St. Petersburg, and found him a job as a store clerk. Basil continued to work and send money home to his family. When he was twenty-four years old, Basil married his wife Olga.

He started his own business as a furrier, and became very wealthy. They had a son, Nicholas and a daughter, Olga. When their children had grown and settled in their own lives, Basil and his wife donated most of their wealth to charities and to various monasteries.  Later, Basil and Olga decided to enter monasteries to better serve God. Olga was tonsured a nun in 1919 and lived in the Resurrection Monastery in St. Petersburg. Her monastic name was Seraphima. She died in 1945.

On 19 October 1920 Vasily was tonsured a monk at St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg. His monastic name was Seraphim. He later became Father Confessor to the monks. Soon it became apparent that St. Seraphim had received from God the gifts of clairvoyance and healing, and many people came to him seeking his help and advice.

With the rise of Communism, monks were arrested, exiled, and sent to labor camps. Many of them were executed. Beginning in 1929, St. Seraphim was arrested fourteen times. He continued his priestly ministry in the prison camps, where he strengthened and encouraged his fellow-prisoners.

In 1933, he was exiled and settled in Vyritsa. This was a very beautiful place with forests and a river, and it was known for its healthy climate. St. Seraphim's health had deteriorated in the prison camps, and he had been beaten many times.

After he had recovered somewhat, Fr Seraphim began to receive visitors who came seeking advice and comfort from him. Many of those afflicted with illness received healing by his prayers.

The Nazi’s occupied Vyritsa in September of 1941, and persecuted the population. During the War, Fr Seraphim became weak and served only rarely in the chapel of St. Seraphim. By the spring of 1949, St. Seraphim was very weak and had to remain in bed. Still, he permitted visitors to come to him as before.

Shortly before his death, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to St. Seraphim and told him to receive Holy Communion every day.  St. Seraphim departed to the Lord on April 3rd , 1949. In the hours before his death, he asked that the Akathists to the Most Holy Theotokos, to St. Seraphim of Sarov, and to St. Nicholas be read. For a week after his blessed repose, a sweet fragrance permeated the entire region of Vyritsa.

St. Seraphim was buried in the cemetery next to the church of the Kazan Icon in Vyritsa. Great throngs of people came for the funeral, and Vyritsa is now a place of pilgrimage.

St. Seraphim was canonized in August of 2000.

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church | V. Rev. Fr. Timothy Ferguson, Pastor
55 Emmonsdale Road P.O.Box 320164 | West Roxbury, MA 02132
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