Sofia, February 27, 2018
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church commemorated the memory of St. Seraphim the Wonderworker yesterday in the Russian Orthodox dependency Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. By decision of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the solemn Presanctified Liturgy was headed by Metropolitan Seraphim of Nevrokop, and concelebrated by Bishop Gerasim of Melnik Bishop, Archimandrite Philip Vasiltsev, the rector of the Russian parish, Archimandrite Pachomy, the rector of St. John of Rila Seminary in Sofia, and other local clergy, reports the site of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
St. Seraphim’s crypt is found in the St. Nicholas Russian Church.
Representatives of the Russian embassy in Bulgaria prayerfully took part in the service as well. Following the Liturgy, a short supplicatory prayer was read in honor of St. Seraphim’s celebration.
St. Seraphim (Sobolev; 1881-1950) of Boguchar was a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. On February 14, 1920, together with commandant of Sevastopol General Nikolai Stogov, Archbishop Seraphim emigrated from the Crimea to Constantinople. In the spring of 1921 he moved to Bulgaria, where he remained to the end of his days and is known as an ardent defender of the purity of the Orthodox faith and a wonderworker. Before his death, he said to his spiritual children, “If I find boldness before the Lord, I will not leave you.” The night after his burial, he appeared in a dream to one of his spiritual sons, a monk, and said, “Why are you weeping? I have not died, I am alive!”
The joint commission of the Russian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches for the canonization of Archbishop Seraphim was set up in accordance with the decisions of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of October 22, 2015, and of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of September 25, 2015.
St. Seraphim was canonized by unanimous decision of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church on February 3, 2016. A delegation from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church also participated in the session. The main celebration of canonization then took place on February 26 in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Sofia, celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria, with Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of the Russian Church concelebrating.
Following yesterday’s service, Archim. Philip thanked Met. Seraphim for celebrating the glorious Presanctified Liturgy and recalled the work of St. Seraphim of Sofia, who for many years served at the same altar where the Divine service was celebrated in his honor. He then gave an icon of St. Clement of Ohrid to Met. Seraphim, painted more than a century ago in Ohrid.
Metropolitan Seraphim, for his part, also gave thanks for the hospitality offered to him by the parish clergy and the dozens of Orthodox Christians who prayed together during the Presanctified Liturgy.