Ukrainian Church canonizes 16th-17th century Abbess Seraphima

Kiev, December 11, 2019

Holy Trinity-Koretsky Monastery today. Photo: Holy Trinity-Koretsky Monastery today. Photo:     

The liturgical calendar of the Orthodox Church has been enhanced with the name of a new saint.

Gathered at the Kiev Caves Lavra under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine on December 6, the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church resolved to glorify St. Seraphima the Abbess of the Korets-Holy Trinity Convent (+ 1633), reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

The Synod also glorified the Viliya Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” at the same session.

The Commission for the Canonization of Saints of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church met in the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra on October 30 to examine materials related to the holy abbess and the wonderworking icon. After studying the materials, they were transferred for consideration to the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which resolved to glorify them both.


Abbess Seraphima was a princess who served as the first abbess of Holy Trinity Monastery after the invasion of Khan Meñli I Giray at the end of the 15th century. The monastery was initially built in 1064 by St. Barlaam of the Kiev Caves, though it was destroyed and resurrected several times throughout its long history.

After being ravaged by the Khan’s hordes, the monastery was revived 75 years later by Prince Euthymy and his son Joachim Koretsky. Joachim’s daughter Sophia, who received the name Seraphima in the tonsure, was appointed abbess.

The main church, of the Resurrection of Christ, took place in 1580. After 16 years, the Union of Brest was concluded, and over the next 20 years, only 9 men’s monasteries and the Holy Trinity Convent remained Orthodox out of the 57 monasteries in Volhynia. The monastery began to conduct anti-Catholic activities and soon became a stronghold of Orthodoxy and a refuge for nuns who were expelled from other monasteries by the Uniates.

Over time, a new more expensive monastery was built under Mother Seraphima’s direction, though it was soon handed over to Franciscans.

During her abbacy, in 1622, the wonderworking “Surety of Sinners” Icon of the Mother of God of Korets was transferred to the monastery, along with the shroud of the Theotokos (a Korestky family relic).

It is also known that Mother Seraphima was acquainted with the great St. Job of Pochaev, who spent several days at the monastery in 1628, celebrating the services and holding spiritual talks with the sisters.

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