St. Seraphim Sobolev, the Wonderworker of Sofia (+1950)
St. Seraphim Sobolev, the Wonderworker of Sofia (+1950) (source)
From my mother's womb Thou art my Protector(Ps. 70:6).
The age-old enemy of our salvation, as if sensing in advance
what a powerful and implacable adversary he would have in the person of Vladika
Seraphim, tried to destroy him while still in his mother's womb.She had an extremely difficult and painful
labor, and the doctors determined it would be necessary to operate-to extract
the infant piece by piece in order to save the mother's life.At this moment she regained consciousness
and, on learning of the doctor's decision, with an oath forbade her husband to
permit the murder of her child.The next
morning, at the first stroke of the church bell on December 1, 1881, she
successfully gave birth without any outside help. When she saw the baby, she
exclaimed, "Oh, what a serious mukhtar!"The infant was named Nicholas in honor of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker,
but his family sometimes called him "mukhtar," an apparently senseless word
which he disliked terribly. Years later, Bishop Nestor of Manchuria visited
Vladika Seraphim in Sofia.He presented
him with a book of his memoirs, in which, in the chapter about his visit to
Jerusalem, it said that the word mukhtar means "bishop" in Arabic.And so, not realizing it herself, his mother
had foretold the destiny of her newborn child.
Nicholas was an excellent student and, after attending the
local parish school, he entered the seminary.There, in the second to the last year, he decided to devote his life to
God.With tears he began to pray
fervently and made this vow to the Saviour, "My Saviour!Help me to write my compositions well, and I
promise to be a monk and belong to Thee with every fibre of my being."From that time on, his compositions were
always the best in the class.
When he finished seminary, his mother, considering his health
too weak to study at the Academy, tried to arrange for him to become a
priest.To this end it was necessary to
find a fiancée. Loving his mother and never opposing her in anything, Nicholas
submitted entirely to her will and even was silent about his vow to become a
monk. Suspecting nothing, his mother began arranging a marriage for her son, and
in one summer they visited several towns and villages in search of a suitable
bride.But such was not God's will, and
every time the matchmaking fell through, often in a completely incomprehensible
way.Finally, in the middle of August,
1904, she said, "All our efforts concerning your marriage and setting you up as
a priest have come to nothing.Now you
arrange your own future."
"In that case," said Nicholas, "let's go to the cathedral, to
our Mother, the Queen of Heaven, to her wonderworking Bogoliubsk Icon and ask
the Mother of God to show me herself my life's path."
His mother readily agreed.It turned out that the wonderworking Icon had been taken back to the
village Zimarova, where it was usually kept. However, on the way to the
cathedral, they met a friend of Nicholas', Misha Smirnov, and Nicholas confided
to him his predicament."You were such a
good student; surely it was not to become just a church reader.You should enroll in the Academy," said
Misha.When Nicholas protested that it
was already too late and that he was completely unprepared for the competitive
examinations, Misha pointed out that because of renovations the entrance exams
at the Petersburg Theological Academy had been postponed until the end of
August."You are a person of deep
faith," said Misha emphatically. "Put your hope in God!The Saviour Himself will help you.Go without any preparation."
These unexpected words from the first person they met
Nicholas took as the answer from the Most Pure Mother of God to his prayer,
clearly and definitely pointing out to him his path in life.Meanwhile, he felt in his heart an unusual
joy and, when he confided this to his mother, she said she also felt great joy
and added, "It's obvious that this is God's will.It's obvious that this is your path."Nicholas then went to the seminary library
and gathered a whole stack of books.In
the ten days he had to prepare, he had time only to look at the chapter headings
and flip through thousands of pages of hefty theological textbooks.From this, all that formed in his head was
His mother gave him her last money for the trip together with
her blessing, and Nicholas set out for the Academy.
The written examinations began. The most difficult was the
first written examination in logic, on the topic, "From a logical point of view,
how does one explain that in philosophical arguments, to the very same question
the argumentations of both sides can be diametrically opposed toone another." This difficult topic was given
first with the purpose of immediately selecting the very best seminarians coming
from all over Russia.Sighs were heard
among the students. First one, then another, began rising from his seat, and
gathering together his documents in order to return home. Nicholas began to pray
fervently, "O Lord, give me understanding of what to write on such a difficult
subject."In answer he heard an inner
voice, "Do not write from a logical, but rather from a psychological point of
view." He immediately began writing that from a logical point of view this was
impossible to explain because the laws of logic are identical.And he developed his theme from a
psychological approach, based on the words of the Saviour, "Out of the heart
proceed your thoughts."That is why from
the proud heart of Leo Tolstoy came false teaching, but the grace-filled heart
of Fr. John of Kronstadt poured out truth. Nicholas was worried that he had
taken liberties in changing the topic, but, to his great amazement and joy, he
received for this composition a 4.5, which was the highest grade and stood out
from among the multitude of twos and threes and even ones received by other
After this began the oral examinations.The first was on dogmatic theology.Only two days were given for
preparation.Nicholas spent them in the
attic of the Academy, leafing through the pages of thick textbooks. At midnight
on the eve of the exam, he sat on the stairs leading to the attic and wept.
During these two days, all he had managed to do was to convince himself that of
the 150 question cards he knew only one: "The history of the dogma of the Holy
Trinity," because he had answered it on an examination in seminary.With tears Nicholas prayed, "O Lord, my
Saviour, Thou Who art merciful and all-powerful, make it so that tomorrow the
question card, 'The history of the dogma of the Holy Trinity' will fall to
me.Otherwise I will fail and go home
with great sorrow and grieve my mother."
Before going to the examination the next morning, he went to
the Academy church, where he made a prostration before the icon of the Saviour
and repeated his request.Each student
was tested for half an hour and more, and many of them answered very well
because they had been preparing all summer.Nicholas was worried, and he prayed fervently to the Saviour. Finally,
about three o'clock, came his turn.Trembling, he turned over his question card and read: "The history of the
dogma of the Holy Trinity." The Lord had answered his prayer! Sobolev gave an
excellent answer and received a grade of 4.75.His joy was boundless from the realization of the Saviour's divine
The next exam was in church history.There was twice as much textbook material on
this subject as for dogmatics and there were 250 question cards. Looking through
the questions, Nicholas was dismayed to see that he knew only one question well:
"The history of the Arian heresy after the Nicaean Council."Just as he had done when preparing for
dogmatics, on the eve of the examination in church history, he sat at the attic
door and wept.And again he began to
pray fervently that the Saviour once again grant him His divine help. "My
Saviour, my Joy!" he said."Thou Who art
merciful, all-powerful, what is it to Thee to fulfill once more my request. Thou
knowest that I know only one question and do not know the others. Please, let
fall to me the question card, 'The history of the Arian heresy after the Nicaean
Council.'Otherwise I will fail, return
home and grieve my mother."Back in his
room, Nicholas fell asleep in tears.
The next morning at the examination, suffering terribly from
anxiety and the uncertainty of his fate, he could repeat only, "O Lord, help
me.My Joy, my Provider, help me."When Nicholas was called to the examination
table, hardly able to stand on his feet, he drew out and turned over his
question card. What joy he felt when he read on it, "The history of the Arian
heresy after the Nicean Council."He
could barely contain his feeling of thankfulness toward the Saviour, Who had so
miraculously revealed to him His protection a second time.
Sobolev answered so well that the professors decided to send
a letter of thanks to the Riazan seminary for the brilliant student.And when he returned to his seat, the other
students whispered, "At-a-boy, Riazaner!" For the rest of the examinations,
Nicholas no longer dared to ask the Saviour's favor, but they also went well.
And so, with the help of the Saviour, Vladika entered the Theological Academy
without any preparation. When Nicholas was in the fourth year at the Academy,
the inspector, Archimandrite Theophan, asked him point-blank if he intended to
become a monk.Nicholas, in his humility
considering himself unworthy of the monastic podvig, was tormented by this
question, not knowing God's will regarding him.To solve his perplexity, he wrote a letter to Fr. John of Kronstadt, but
he received no reply.He also asked
Elder Anatole (Potapov) of Optina, but the Elder wrote that he could not answer
his question without seeing Nicholas in person.When Nicholas received the letter from Fr. Anatole, he began to grieve
even more; nowhere could he get a direct answer indicating God's will for
At this time he was reading the life of St. Seraphim of
Sarov-the book lay open on his table. Weighed down by his quandary, Nicholas
began pacing the room, when suddenly it dawned on him, "What little faith I
have!Why, St. Seraphim of Sarov is
alive right now.He is at the throne of
the Holy Trinity.Right now he can
resolve all problems and questions, if with faith we turn to him in our
prayers.I will go this very moment to
the table where St. Seraphim's biography is lying.I will turn to him as to a living person, I
will fall on my knees and beg him to resolve my dilemma: Should I marry and
become a priest, or should I become a monk?"
And Nicholas did just this.Making a prostration, with a prayer he opened the book and read: "A
certain novice from the Glinsk Hermitage, wavering exceedingly concerning his
vocation, came purposely to Sarov to ask the advice of Fr. Seraphim. Falling at
the feet of the saint, he entreated him to resolve his tormenting life's
question: Is it God's will for him and his brother, Nicholas to enter a
monastery? The holy elder answered the novice, 'Save yourself and save your
brother.' "Nicholas took these words of
St. Seraphim as a divine revelation from God that he should become a monk, which
was, in fact, his heart's desire.From
this time he regarded monasticism not only as his life's path, commanded him by
God, but also as the path of his brother Misha (who subsequently became the
When the time drew near for his tonsure, Nicholas was asked
what name he would like to receive. He said that, inasmuch as a monk should
renounce his own will from the very onset, he was willing to accept whatever
name he was given."Well, take care,"
said inspector Archimandrite Theophan, "that you not are not upset if you
receive an ugly name." It later came out that they had decided to give Nicholas
the name Dositheus.But it turned out
otherwise.On the eve of the tonsure,
the rector of the Academy, Bishop Sergius, who was supposed to tonsure him, went
to have dinner with the merchant Rubakhin.Rubakhin's two young daughters began asking the rector what name he was
going to give the new monk.On hearing
that it was to be Dosi-theus, they pleaded that it be changed not only to
another but to the very nicest name.
Returning home in the carriage, Bishop Sergius suddenly
remembered that when he was present at the opening of St. Seraphim's relics, he
had made a vow to this God-pleaser that if he became rector of the St.
Petersburg Theological Academy, the first student he tonsured he would name
Seraphim. And he decided to call Nicholas by this name, in honor of the great
Sarov God-pleaser.During the tonsure,
when Nicholas heard, "Our brother Seraphim tonsures the hair of his head," he
gave a start from amazement and was filled with great love and thankfulness to
St. Seraphim, thinking, "He not only revealed to me God's will to become a monk,
but he was pleased to take me under his grace-filled guidance."
Accepting monasticism, the newly-tonsured Seraphim gave
himself over to strict fasting and unceasing prayer.Thus, from the day of his tonsure to his very
death, Vladika did not eat meat.For
many years he ate food only once a day.
Graduating near the top of his class, Fr. Seraphim taught for
a year at a priest's college before being appointed assistant supervisor of the
diocesan school in Kaluga.The pupils
there loved Fr. Seraphim very much, especially the little ones in the first
classes, who had to leave their parents for the first time and cried at being
separated from their mothers. With his loving heart, Fr Seraphim immediately
guessed the cause of the children's sorrow and comforted them.Every day, during free hours and particularly
on holidays, he came to the younger classes and engaged them with soul-saving
discussions, mainly from the lives of the saints.The children became very attached to the good
and affectionate director who understood their hearts so well. He was their
first friend and arbitrator, and also a tender mother.When, during free hours, Fr. Seraphim went
through the corridors, students from different classes ran out, each trying to
call him into his classroom."Come to
us, Batiushka, come to us!" they cried, vying for his attention.Fr. Seraphim tried to visit them all and
uplift them with his talks. When, after two and a half years, Hieromonk Seraphim
was transferred to Kostroma, the children's grief was indescribable. They wept
scalding tears. On the day of his departure, some of them refused to eat, and
they went again and again to him to bid farewell, at which time Fr. Seraphim
gave as a keepsake and consolation little icons, crosses and whatever else was
While he was still in Kaluga, Vladika often went to the
Optina Hermitage, where he visited the elders Anatole, Barsanuphy and
Joseph.Fr. Anatole treated him with
special love and was his father confessor.
In 1910, during Christmas vacation, Fr. Seraphim decided to
go to his mother in the town of Permyshl. His mother was overjoyed by this but
worried how she would feed her favorite son.She worried about his weak health and wanted very much to fatten him up,
but he did not eat meat and it was impossible to find fish in town in
winter.After praying fervently before
an icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, she put on a sheepskin jacket and went
out into the street.Soon a man came
walking on the other side and she called to him, "Are you a fisherman?""That I am.What of it?""Well, in a few
days my son, a monk, is coming to visit.He doesn't eat meat, only fish. So, go to the river and catch some fish
for him, and I'll pay you as much as you want.""You think you can catch fish now, my dear woman? Why it's minus 25o
C.The fish have all gone to the
bottom." But Vladika's mother persisted. "My son will pray for you."The man finally consented.He went to the Oka River, where he spent
about an hour breaking through the meter-thick ice.Then, crossing himself and praying as the
woman had instructed him, he let down the net into the hole, saying, "O Lord,
for the sake of Thy servant Fr. Seraphim, send a fish."No sooner had the net been lowered than
something got caught in it, and the man pulled out an enormous silver bream
which he took at once to Vladika's mother.Overjoyed, his mother offered him money, but he was adament in his
refusal. "Come, come, my dear woman.I
don't need anything.Why, this was a
miraculous catch. Tell your son to pray for the servant of God, Peter." And he
In 1912, Hieromonk Seraphim was appointed rector of the
seminary in Voronezh.At the time this
seminary was in very shaky condition concerning discipline. Soon after his
arrival, he had a talk with all the seminarians, and he noticed that the
undisciplined pupils jeered at him without fear of reprisal. In the evening, the
inspector brought to the rector a list of the troublemakers and offered to expel
them immediately. Fr. Seraphim took the list and said he would handle the guilty
ones himself. During his free time he began calling them one by one to his
office; he talked with them affectionately, asked them questions and used
persuasion.As a result, he elicited
from them sincere tears of repentance and a promise to reform. Within a year
Vladika had so transformed the seminary that it was judged by the Synod
inspector to be the best in the country.
On October 1, 1920, on the holy day of the Protection of the
Most Holy Mother of God, in the cathedral of Simferopol, Archimandrite Seraphim
was consecrated a bishop.It was a great
comfort for him that on that occasion, by God's inscrutable ways, the great
Russian sacred treasure, the wonderworking Kursk-root Icon of the Mother of God
"Of the Sign," was present in the cathedral.
Soon after this, to his sorrow, Vladika had to leave his
native land.He was a short time in
Constantinople before moving to Bulgaria where, in August 1921, he was appointed
Director of Russian Orthodox monastic communities there.
Living in ceaseless ascetic endeavor, from abstinence and
difficult living conditions, Vladika contracted tuberculosis.Despite his serious illness, he cared for his
flock with true pastoral fervor.He
served frequently and gave sermons three times a week, calling his flock to
repentance, to grace-filled reformation and to the most basic virtue-Christian
humility. Especially noteworthy were Vladika's sermons on Forgiveness Sunday,
when, after his appeal, many people who had quarrelled with each other for years
tearfully begged forgiveness of one another.
As an archpastor, Vladika Seraphim made the rounds of Russian
parishes in the provinces, and visited the Russian schools.His talks and his warm, loving personality
left a lasting, grace-filled impression everywhere.In difficult material conditions, Vladika
cared also for poor and sick Russian people. For some he arranged free hospital
treatment, others he placed in homes for invalids, for some he obtained
pensions, some he fed at his place, and some he settled in his monastery.Nor did Vladika overlook the destitute
Russian monks on Mt. Athos.He formed a
committee for collecting help for them and in his sermons appealed to
parishioners to donate to this holy work.
In 1934 Vladika was raised to the position of Archbishop.
Spiritually gifted from his early years and constantly engaged in a fiery
struggle with the passions, Vladika, while still a relatively young bishop,
attained great spiritual heights.Several of his spiritual children have recorded cases of his
clairvoyance, which manifested itself even at a long distances.For his angelic purity, Vladika received from
the Lord the gift to perceive the most subtle deviations from Orthodox Christian
truth.He watched over Orthodox
Christian life and was its conscience, as it were. Where he observed
irregularity, he uncompromisingly exposed it, not fearing to suffer for the
truth. As a result, he produced some priceless theological works.
Vladika's major work was the refutation of the heresy of the
Parisian theologian Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, for which, in 1937, Vladika
received a Master's Degree in theology.He was rushing to complete this work by a certain deadline when he became
ill with a fever.He implored the Mother
of God, to whose prayerful intercession he had resorted all his life, begging
her to heal him. And what happened?Vladika's temperature immediately dropped and he was able to finish his
work within the allotted time.
Vladika poured out all his love for the Saviour in his
theological works, fervently defending the truths of Orthodoxy. "My books are my
blood," he declared.And truly, he lay
down his life for Christ in the struggle with heretics, sparing neither his
strength nor broken health.Vladika
constantly worked at night.This upset
his brother, Archimandrite Sergius, as it did me, in view of his weak
health.Knowing this, Vladika wrote
secretly.In the evening he would lie
down and, when everyone else had fallen asleep, he would get up and continue
writing, taking advantage of the nighttime quiet, considering it his pastoral
duty to defend the truth. It is not by chance that the Lord called Vladika to
the next world on the day when the holy Church celebrates the triumph of
Orthodoxy and its defenders.
In conclusion, I will say that before his very death, Vladika
said to his spiritual children, "If I find boldness before the Lord, I will not
leave you."And in fact, the night after
the burial Vladika 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!"
And we believe that in the abodes of paradise, "where all the
righteous repose," he prays for us and we can turn to him with our sorrowsas to a living person and he will always hear
us andhelp us. Again, I will allow
myself to remind you of the words, poured out from the loving heart of our
Vladika, who lay down his life for his flock, entrusted to him by God, "I am not
only your father, but also your own mother."
Let us forever preserve in our hearts these comforting words
of our unforgettable archpastor.Amen.
Archimandrite Panteleimon (Staritsky) From "A Word in
Remembrance," delivered on the first anniversary of Archbishop Seraphim's
repose, 13/26 Feb. 1951.
["On February 3, 2016, the fifth plenary session of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, held at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, the proposal to canonize Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) was deliberated upon...The members of the Council unanimously voted for the glorification of Archbishop Seraphim, who has been venerated for many years in Bulgaria and Russia. Metropolitan Ilarion then read the Act of the Holy Council of Bishops announcing the canonization of Archbishop Seraphim among the host of saints.
The Council members then sang the exaltation to the newly-glorified saint." (source)]
Some Miracles Worked through the Prayers of
Archbishop Seraphim after his Repose.
From the day of Archbishop Seraphim's repose (February 13/26,
1950), his sepulchre [in the crypt of the Russian Church of St. Nicholas in
Sofia] has been an uninterrupted source of miracles.Just as during his life, so after his death,
Vladika Seraphim mercifully continues to help people who resort to his prayerful
intercession, not only from all over Bulgaria but also from abroad.
One unfortunate mother unexpectedly received help from
Archbishop Seraphim before she even knew of him, when she was still an
unbeliever. She was a teacher in a high school and lived with her only son in
Silivna.In 1952, her son P. was serving
in the army on the southern border of Bulgaria. The winter that year was very
severe, snowy and cold.One day, when
the young man was at his post, tired and frozen through, he fell into the snow
and into a deep sleep.Just then there
was a raid by a group of saboteurs who were trying to cross the border.
Fortunately, the soldiers of P's detachment were able to beat them off and
disarm them. But when they started looking for the sentry, they found him asleep
at his post, arrested him and sent him to the military court in Sofia.Because of unfavorable political conditions
at the time, the court, in order to give an example to other soldiers, passed
the harshest sentence-execution!To
petition for mercy was out of the question. The distraught mother could only ask
that they give her the body of her son, that they not deprive her of the comfort
of visiting his grave. She came to Sofia and every morning with dread phoned the
prison to find out if the sentence had been carried out.In such hopeless waiting one night she
dozed.Suddenly, there appeared to her a
resplendent elder who said to her, "Suffering mother, come to me to the Russian
church and I will help you!" Not waiting till dawn, while it was still dark, she
ran to the church, thinking she must have seen the image of some saint whose
miracle-working icon was in the church.When she went around to all the holy icons in the church and did not find
such an image, she returned home in disappointment, deciding that it had all
been a hallucination.But the following
night this same elder again appeared to her and said, "You were in the Russian
church, but did not come down to me. Come to me downstairs and I will help
you."The astonished woman then
understood that this was not a hallucination. Once more she went to the Russian
church and asked if any miracle-working icons were kept in the church
basement.Going downstairs, her eyes
suddenly fell on the portrait of Archbishop Seraphim. She recognized in him the
same handsome elder of her dream, who had promised to help her, and she began
fervently to pray to him.After praying
for a long time, all in tears, she came out of the sepulchre.Leaving the church, she unexpectedly met an
old acquaintance whom she had not seen for a long time, a dear friend and
fellow-student of her deceased husband.This man had become a prominent lawyer in Sofia.On learning of her misfortune, he immediately
went with her to the Ministry of Defense to the chief military procurator.The procurator straightway got in touch by
telephone with the current Ministry chairman, V. Chervenkovy, who agreed to
repeal the death sentence, commuting it to life imprisonment. After a few
months, with the very first amnesty, the young man was released!
His mother, up till that time an atheist, came to fervently
believe in God. In gratitude to the Lord, she arranged in the courtyard of the
Russian church a sumptuous meal and personally told everyone of the miraculous
help she had received from Vladika Seraphim.
It is well known that students and school children in
particular visit Vladika Seraphim's grave. They pray to him for successful exams
and receive divine help which is manifested not only on the exams but also is
reflected favorably in their souls.
One student, a second-year medical student, often visited
Vladika Seraphim's sepulchre and prayed to him about his exams.The student was from an atheist family and
was not even baptized. One day he again was praying there. When he had finished
praying on his knees, he kissed the marble sepulchre and arose.And . . . suddenly he saw Archbishop Seraphim
before him, as if alive.Vladika blessed
him and said, "Be baptized and keep the fast!"Then he disappeared. The student was shaken to the depths of his soul by
what had happened. He straightway summoned from the provinces his aunt, who was
a believer, and asked her to be his godmother. He was baptized in the church of
the Great Martyr Panteleimon in the old age home in Knjazhevo.After this remarkable experience, the student
told everyone that even death could not shake his belief in the existence of
life beyond the grave.
This is what a chorister from the Russian church, I.I., had
to say: "One day I was praying in the sepulchre of Archbishop Seraphim.An elderly lady came in, apparently of the
intelligentsia.She told me how, in
1988, a tumor had appeared in her mouth, which started to grow quickly.Soon she began speaking with difficulty and
could not eat because it caused her such great pain.She turned for help to various doctors, one
of whom, an oncologist, was a personal acquaintance.After an examination, he told her frankly
that she had rapidly progressing cancer of the tongue, and that medicine was
powerless to help her; the cancer had already spread to almost the whole inside
of the mouth.
The unfortunate woman, while still in her native city of
Plovdiv, had heard of the extraordinary cases of healing at the grave of Vladika
Seraphim, and she began going every day to the Russian church and praying for a
long time at his grave.On the sixth day
she stood alone in the sepulchre.Suddenly she heard a voice, "Dip the candle you are holding into the
vigil lamp above me and anoint the affected area."Overwhelmed with amazement and joy from this
wonderful answer to her prayer, the sick woman did as she was told.To her great surprise, the intolerable pain
stopped immediately. In the days that followed, she continued to anoint the sick
place; the tumor gradually began to shrink and, after a week, disappeared
completely! The sick woman went to her oncologist-acquaintance.After examining her, the astounded doctor
asked her to tell him with what she had been treated and who had healed her. The
woman recounted to him in detail all that had happened, whereupon the doctor
declared that she had found the most effective means of treatment and joyfully
exclaimed, "Glory to God and to holy Vladika Seraphim!"
The widow of a certain priest suffered very much because her
daughter could not get married. She was told about Vladika Seraphim and she went
with her daughter to his grave where they prayed fervently. When they came out,
they met a young man, an acquaintance whom they had not seen for a long time. He
was overjoyed at the meeting and, very soon after this, he married the
Life and miracles from Kratkoye Zhizneopisaniye
Arkhiepiskopa Serafima (Soboleva), (A Brief Life of Archbishop Seraphim
Sobolev), published as "A Gift of Orthodox Christians of Greece to their
brothers in Christ of Russia"; Thessalonika 1991; translated by Mary
Crockwell, and slightly abridged.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth...And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1: 14, 16-17
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages! Amen!
"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration.
This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world." Excerpt from the Synodikon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy (http://www.anastasis.org.uk/synodikon.htm)
By the Grace of God, here are presented a few true stories of the Saints, sayings of the Holy Fathers, sacred icons, and many other things so that, maybe in a small way, we may remind ourselves that (though we might not be ready to accept it) Jesus Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, and that the Holy Orthodox Church is full of Christ's GRACE and TRUTH, and is no less than the Kingdom of God on earth.
I must say that I am not a part of the clergy, so I hope to primarily put forth quotations from the Gospel, Saints and Holy Fathers, and not my own opinions. But if you see my own words or opinions, keep in mind that they are my opinions or comments and they have little weight, as opposed to the quotations from Christ, the Saints and the Fathers which do.
I ask forgiveness if in this site any of my passions are acting, hindering the Grace of the Holy Spirit because of my sins. I apologize for any errors of mine, mistakes, problems with translations, etc. due to my ignorance and conceit. If anyone notices any mistakes or can suggest a better translation, please let me know. I try to post all of my sources. Please also let me know if I am violating any copyrights or other laws, and I will do my best to comply.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
-I try to update this site fairly regularly. If you are looking for a specific subject, feel free to search for an earlier post that might cover it. I habitually go back and update previous posts too, so though there may not be new info at the top of the site(e.g. for some saint or feast), it's possible that I've updated a previous post with more information, images, etc.
-Please consider the sources for all materials presented. I try to only post reliable information, but I can't be held responsible for every inconsistency or incorrect fact. If you notice an error, please post a comment and let me know. Please keep in perspective material presented without a source, or amateur translations from me.
-Though I don't have explicit permission to reproduce all the material I use on this blog, if I am made aware of some copyright or usage issues, I am very willing to remove the materials in question. If you quote or use material from my blog, please cite the sources where I took it from. If you use some of my amateur translations, please make it clear somehow that it was not a professional translation (unless you can verify my translation).
-Please do not make comments to a post that are irrelevant to the topic being discussed. If there are general comments / questions about the blog, feel free to search for and comment on one of the posts titled "Blog Info / Updates / Suggestions". Comments that are irrelevant to the topic of the post will be deleted.
-If you have a question or a comment about the topic of sources of a post, feel free to comment. However, I ask you to avoid being argumentative, accusatory, combative or bickering. This was not envisioned as a forum for debates, but as another venue to present the stories, writings and miracles of the Holy Fathers and the Church.