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.
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.
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