Great in the Lord is Seraphim

Father Seraphim and the American Heartland

The feast day of St Seraphim is celebrated by the entire Orthodox world.
We have already grown accustomed to the breadth of this celebration in Russia,
and to the global scope of this event. But there is a corner of the world where,
almost unnoticeably, our father is now fervently revered.
This is Boise, Idaho, in the northwest American heartland.

Fr David Moser arrived here in 1991, during the second translation of the relics of St Seraphim, with the blessing of Archbishop Alypy of Chicago (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia). He was looking for work here, because priests abroad must often take civil jobs, too. Vladya Alypy, a renowned icon painter, gave his blessing to open a missionary parish. Now Idaho is a part of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Church Abroad.  

In literally a few weeks, a group of Orthodox Christians established a parish in the Russian Orthodox tradition. This group included not only Russians but dyed-in-the-wool Americans. Today St Seraphim Parish also boasts Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians and other Orthodox Christians.  

“Since we are a missionary parish,” writes Fr David in an appeal to his parishioners, “our services are performed in English. Still, we sometimes serve in Church Slavonic, recalling our bond with the Russian Church. We are in the jurisdiction of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York.”

This year, the Boise church ceremoniously celebrated the feast day of St Seraphim, the entire parish thanked their batiushka for the fact that over 20 years since its founding and the second translation of the saint’s relics, the parish not only survived, but continued to grow and is now blossoming.

Every year, more and more Americans join the life of this parish in hopes of benefiting from St Seraphim’s prayers. Protestant and Catholic churches are seeing their parishes fall apart and close. In 2011, however, the Orthodox Christians of Idaho truly experienced their “summer Pascha.”

In his sermon of August 1, Fr David reminded his American parishioners about the great commandment of Fr Seraphim to acquire the Holy Spirit.

“We spend our entire lives acquiring material things,” said the rector, “we obtain money, homes, cars, families, a reputation in society, personal property and a great deal more, we build our career. But the most important thing we must spend our time on is acquiring the grace of the Holy Spirit. Heed the words of our Batiushka Seraphim and ‘acquire the Divine Holy Spirit.’”

And thus St Seraphim the Miracle-worker of all Russia arrived in the American heartland. Great in the Lord is Seraphim, and now he is glorified by simple Americans, seeking their salvation and transforming the reality of their environment.  

Alexander Kornilov
Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society
Nizhegorodskije eparkhial’nije vedomosti [Nizhny Novgorod Diocesan News] No. 15 (204), 2011

Website of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

10/9/2011

See also
St. Seraphim of Sarov. A Sermon by St. John Maximovitch St. Seraphim of Sarov. A Sermon by St. John Maximovitch
St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco
St. Seraphim of Sarov. A Sermon by St. John Maximovitch St. Seraphim of Sarov. A Sermon by St. John Maximovitch
St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco
It was the same during his earthly life. Cities were being destroyed, kingdoms were being established, Napoleon advanced upon Russia with twelve nations and then left in disgrace, Moscow burned and was again raised from the ashes, Decembrists organized revolts and were then sentenced; but was as if these events did not touch St. Seraphim.
The Spiritual Path of St. Seraphim of Sarov The Spiritual Path of St. Seraphim of Sarov The Spiritual Path of St. Seraphim of Sarov The Spiritual Path of St. Seraphim of Sarov
"He who truly loves God considers himself a wanderer and newcomer on earth, for in him is a striving towards God in soul and mind, which contemplates God alone." Certain people emerge as standouts in the church. Their chief characteristic is the search to live in the presence of God with every fiber of their being, and to recognize God's presence in creation and humanity. Such a saint was Seraphim of Sarov, author of the saying quoted above.
St. Seraphim on Monastic Life St. Seraphim on Monastic Life
From the book, St. Seraphim of Sarov, by Elena Kontsevitch
St. Seraphim on Monastic Life St. Seraphim on Monastic Life
From the book, St. Seraphim of Sarov, by Elena Kontsevitch
Elena Kontsevitch
“One distinguishing characteristic of the superior should be his love for his inferiors: for the true pastor, according to the words of St John Climacus, is shown by his love for his flock. For it is out of love that the Chief Shepherd was crucified on the cross.”
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