The Solemnities in Sarov and Diveyevo: 1903 and 2003

110 years ago—July 19 (August 1 new style), 1903 Batiushka Seraphim of Sarov, long loved and venerated by the people, was officially canonized a saint and his honorable relics uncovered. The solemnities that took place in Sarov And Diveyevo were a special page in the history of Russia, and Sarov and Diveyevo will forever occupy a an honored place in Russia’s spiritual geography.

1903. The canonization of St. Seraphim of Sarov

Over 100,000 pilgrims arrived from all over the country to participate in the Cross procession. Tsar Nicholas II and the Royal Family, who deeply venerated the saint and had great faith in his intercession before God, also came. All of Russia gathered at the reliquary, and the canonization of its beloved saint truly became a national holiday. Official documents and newspaper correspondence made at the time still tell the story of the event, and eye-witness accounts convey the extraordinary atmosphere of spiritual upliftment. Also come down to us is the photographic chronicle of events, which allows us to participate if only vicariously. We present these rare photos taken over a hundred years ago to our readers.
View of Sarov Monastery from the Sarovka River.

View of Sarov Monastery from the Sarovka River.

The Sarov Monastery bell tower.

The Sarov Monastery bell tower.

The Church of St. John the Baptist near the gates of Sarov Monastery.

The Church of St. John the Baptist near the gates of Sarov Monastery.

The Dormition Cathedral of Sarov Monastery, with the chapel over St. Seraphim’s grave in the front.

The Dormition Cathedral of Sarov Monastery, with the chapel over St. Seraphim’s grave in the front.

The Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, built over St. Seraphim’s cell.

The Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, built over St. Seraphim’s cell.

The Chapel over the cell of St. Seraphim in the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity.

The Chapel over the cell of St. Seraphim in the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity.

The Church of Sts. Zosima and Savvati of Solovki, the Holy Table of which was made by St. Seraphim.

The Church of Sts. Zosima and Savvati of Solovki, the Holy Table of which was made by St. Seraphim.

The hewn coffin in which St. Seraphim was buried, made by the Saint himself.

The hewn coffin in which St. Seraphim was buried, made by the Saint himself.

The hewn coffin of St. Seraphim.

The hewn coffin of St. Seraphim.

The reliquary that held St. Seraphim’s relics, made in the traditional style, in the Church of Sts. Zosima and Savvaty.

The reliquary that held St. Seraphim’s relics, made in the traditional style, in the Church of Sts. Zosima and Savvaty.

The reliquary of St. Seraphim’s relics.

The reliquary of St. Seraphim’s relics.

The reliquary that held St. Seraphim’s relics, made in the traditional style, in the Church of Sts. Zosima and Savvaty.

The reliquary that held St. Seraphim’s relics, made in the traditional style, in the Church of Sts. Zosima and Savvaty.

St. Seraphim’s hermitage.

St. Seraphim’s hermitage.

An archway constructed for the meeting of the Tsar on the border of Tambov Province.

An archway constructed for the meeting of the Tsar on the border of Tambov Province.

The triumphal entrance of the Imperial carriage into Tambov Province.

The triumphal entrance of the Imperial carriage into Tambov Province.

The Royal family entering Sarov Monastery.

The Royal family entering Sarov Monastery.

The clergy meet the Tsar in Sarov Monastery.

The clergy meet the Tsar in Sarov Monastery.

The delegation of Tambov nobility meeting the Tsar.

The delegation of Tambov nobility meeting the Tsar.

The delegation of Mordovian peasants.

The delegation of Mordovian peasants.

The people greet the Imperial family in Sarov Monastery.

The people greet the Imperial family in Sarov Monastery.

The people greet the Imperial family in Sarov Monastery.

The people greet the Imperial family in Sarov Monastery.

The people greet the Imperial family in Sarov Monastery.

The people greet the Imperial family in Sarov Monastery.

Members of the Imperial family accompanied by the future hieromartyr, Archimandrite Seraphim (Chichagov) in Sarov Monastery.

Members of the Imperial family accompanied by the future hieromartyr, Archimandrite Seraphim (Chichagov) in Sarov Monastery.

Emperor Nicholas II with members of his family, carrying the relics of St. Seraphim.

Emperor Nicholas II with members of his family, carrying the relics of St. Seraphim.

Cross procession with the relics of St. Seraphim.

Cross procession with the relics of St. Seraphim.

Cross procession in Sarov Monastery.

Cross procession in Sarov Monastery.

Cross procession with the relics of St. Seraphim.

Cross procession with the relics of St. Seraphim.

Chapel over the grave of St. Seraphim.

Chapel over the grave of St. Seraphim.

By St. Seraphim’s well.

By St. Seraphim’s well.

Empress Alexander Feodorovna and her sister, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, driving to St. Seraphim’s spring.

Empress Alexander Feodorovna and her sister, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, driving to St. Seraphim’s spring.

Emperor Nicholas II and family members walking to St. Seraphim’s spring. To the Emperor’s right is Archimandrite Seraphim (Chichagov).

Emperor Nicholas II and family members walking to St. Seraphim’s spring. To the Emperor’s right is Archimandrite Seraphim (Chichagov).

Empress Alexandra and her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth, walking through the Sarov forest to St. Seraphim’s spring.

Empress Alexandra and her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth, walking through the Sarov forest to St. Seraphim’s spring.

The chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring.

The chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring.

The Imperial retinue leaving the chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring.

The Imperial retinue leaving the chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring.

The Royal Family leaving the chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring, after the moleben.

The Royal Family leaving the chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring, after the moleben.

Empress Alexandra departing, after bathing in St. Seraphim’s spring (to which she ascribes her conception of a long-awaited heir to the throne).

Empress Alexandra departing, after bathing in St. Seraphim’s spring (to which she ascribes her conception of a long-awaited heir to the throne).

During the moleben at the chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring.

During the moleben at the chapel over St. Seraphim’s spring.

The chapel over the rock on which St. Seraphim prayed for 1000 days and nights.

The chapel over the rock on which St. Seraphim prayed for 1000 days and nights.

During the service of canonization of St. Seraphim, in Sarov Monastery.

During the service of canonization of St. Seraphim, in Sarov Monastery.

At the field refectory for pilgrims.

At the field refectory for pilgrims.

A festive trapeza for guests.

A festive trapeza for guests.

The miracle-working icon of the Mother of God, “Tender Feeling” (Umilenie), before which St. Seraphim reposed as he knelt in prayer.

The miracle-working icon of the Mother of God, “Tender Feeling” (Umilenie), before which St. Seraphim reposed as he knelt in prayer.

Lampadas donated by Tsar Nicholas II to the icon of the “Tender Feeling” Mother of God.

Lampadas donated by Tsar Nicholas II to the icon of the “Tender Feeling” Mother of God.

Meeting the Royal Family in Diveyevo Convent.

Meeting the Royal Family in Diveyevo Convent.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Diveyevo Convent during the 1903 solemnities.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Diveyevo Convent during the 1903 solemnities.

The Diveyevo sisters greet the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in Sarov Monastery.

The Diveyevo sisters greet the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in Sarov Monastery.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Diveyevo Convent during the 1903 solemnities.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Diveyevo Convent during the 1903 solemnities.

The Royal Couple and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna leaving the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Diveyevo Convent, accompanied by Abbess Maria Ushakova.

The Royal Couple and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna leaving the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Diveyevo Convent, accompanied by Abbess Maria Ushakova.

The trapeza building of Diveyevo Monastery.

The trapeza building of Diveyevo Monastery.

With the nobility of Nizhny Novgorod Province.

With the nobility of Nizhny Novgorod Province.

The Royal couple at the Abbess’s quarters in Diveyevo.

The Royal couple at the Abbess’s quarters in Diveyevo.

The Cross procession with the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God “Tender Feeling”, before which St. Seraphim reposed. Following the icon is Archimandrite Seraphim (Chichagov), author of the Diveyevo Chronicles and administrator of the solemnities f

The Cross procession with the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God “Tender Feeling”, before which St. Seraphim reposed. Following the icon is Archimandrite Seraphim (Chichagov), author of the Diveyevo Chronicles and administrator of the solemnities f

Lame Vasily Lykov age 28—one of the many who received healing during the glorification of St. Seraphim.

Lame Vasily Lykov age 28—one of the many who received healing during the glorification of St. Seraphim.

Sisters at the water pump in Diveyevo Convent.

Sisters at the water pump in Diveyevo Convent.

The Abbess’s quarters in Diveyevo Convent.

The Abbess’s quarters in Diveyevo Convent.

At the cemetery church of the Transfiguration, the altar of which was built by St. Seraphim.

At the cemetery church of the Transfiguration, the altar of which was built by St. Seraphim.

By the gates to the convent cemetery within the canal.

By the gates to the convent cemetery within the canal.

With the Nizhny Novgorod nobility.

With the Nizhny Novgorod nobility.

At the field chapel.

At the field chapel.

Pious pilgrims.

Pious pilgrims.

Festal trapeza for guests.

Festal trapeza for guests.

2003. Centennial of the Canonization

The celebration of the Centennial of Batiushka Seraphim’s canonization in July-August, 2003 was a festive occasion for all the Orthodox, for the wonder-worker of Sarov is now venerated all over the world. The event was presided over by Patriarch Alexiy II, and the heads of Local Churches also came to participate. “Just as it was 100 years ago, the memory of St. Seraphim gathered together archpastors, pastors, laypeople, and government authorities as one. The tradition is being renewed of a unified service of the Church and State for the good of the Fatherland and its people,” stated Patriarch Alexiy II in his epistle. The center of events was Sarov. The renovated Church of St. Seraphim was consecrated, a meeting of the Holy Synod convened, and even President Vladimir Putin paid a visit. Over 10,000 people participated in the Cross procession with St. Seraphim’s relics from Sarov to Diveyevo. Pilgrims prayed at the All-Night Vigil and received Holy Communion at Divine Liturgy in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Diveyevo Convent. Photos by Olga Chudova
The Monastery courtyard decorated with flowers.

The Monastery courtyard decorated with flowers.

The arrival of the relics from Sarov on July 31, 2003, before the Vigil Service.

The arrival of the relics from Sarov on July 31, 2003, before the Vigil Service.

The arrival of the relics from Sarov on July 31, 2003, before the Vigil Service.

The arrival of the relics from Sarov on July 31, 2003, before the Vigil Service.

The Patriarch meets the relics of St. Seraphim from Sarov.

The Patriarch meets the relics of St. Seraphim from Sarov.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexiy II

His Holiness Patriarch Alexiy II

Representatives of Local Churches.

Representatives of Local Churches.

Patriarch Alexiy II of Moscow and All Russia and Patriarch Pavle of Serbia.

Patriarch Alexiy II of Moscow and All Russia and Patriarch Pavle of Serbia.

Divine Liturgy

Divine Liturgy

Praying before the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Praying before the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

View of the Convent from the canal.

View of the Convent from the canal.

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