Sunday, July 19, 2009

The uncovering of the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov

The Seraphimo-Diveevsk "Tenderness" (Umilenie) Icon of the Mother of God belonged to the Monk Seraphim of Sarov, and was his cell icon. With the oil from the lampada, which burned before this holy icon, the Monk anointed the sick, who received healing after the anointing. The ascetic called the icon "Umilenie" (Tenderness) – "Joy of all joys", and in front of it he died at prayer on 2 January 1833. After the death of the Monk Seraphim of Sarov the monastery head Father Niphont gave the holy icon "Joy of all joys" to the sisters of the Diveevsk Seraphimovsk monastery. (photograph taken from:, caption taken from:

The uncovering of the Relics of Saint Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov - Commemorated on July 19
The interior of St. Seraphim's cell at his Far Hermitage - 1903 (photograph taken from: Sarov&spgmFilters=#photo)

"The glorification of St Seraphim of Sarov (January 2), took place in 1903, seventy years after his repose. On July 3, 1903 Metropolitan Anthony of St Petersburg, assisted by Bishop Nazarius of Nizhni-Novgorod and Bishop Innocent of Tambov, transferred the saint's relics from their original burial place to the church of Sts Zosimus and Sabbatius. Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra provided a new cypress coffin to receive the relics. This cypress coffin was then placed inside an oak coffin and remained in the church until the day of the saint's glorification.
The stone on which St. Seraphim stood and kneeled for 1000 days and nights - 1903 (photograph taken from: Sarov&spgmFilters=#photo)

At noon on July 16, the first day of the festivities, Metropolitan Anthony offered a Memorial Service for the ever-memorable Hieromonk Seraphim in the Dormition Cathedral. Services also took place in the monastery's other churches.

Procession on July 17th - 1903 (photograph taken from: Sarov&spgmFilters=#photo)
The next day Metropolitan Anthony and Bishop Nazarius served a Memorial Liturgy in the Dormition Cathedral. At 5:00 that afternoon, the bells of Sarov began to ring, announcing the arrival of Tsar Nicholas and his family. Metropolitan Anthony greeted them and then led them to the Dormition Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving.
The royal family attended the early Liturgy on July 18th and received the Holy Mysteries. Later that morning, the final Memorial Service for the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim's soul was offered in the Cathedral. These would be the last prayers offered for him as a departed servant of God. From that time forward, prayers would be addressed to him as a saint. At 6 P.M. the bells rang for Vigil, the first service with hymns honoring St Seraphim, and during which his relics would be exposed for public veneration.
At the time of the Litia during Vespers, the saint's coffin was carried from the church of Sts Zosimus and Sabbatius and into the Dormition Cathedral.
The Holy Tsar Nicholas and his family (visiting St. Seraphim's cell? [Дальней пустыньки]) - July 18th, 1903 (photograph taken from: Sarov&spgmFilters=#photo)

[The holy Tsar Nicholas II (see July 4) was one of the bearers of the relics in procession, and the Grand Duchess Elizabeth (see July 5) wrote an eyewitness account of the many miracles that took place. Not only had the Saint foretold the coming of the Tsar to his glorification, and that from joy they would chant "Christ is Risen" in summer, but he had also left a letter "for the fourth sovereign, who will come to Sarov." This was Nicholas II, who was given the letter when he came in 1903; the contents of the letter are not known, but when he had read it, the Tsar and future Martyr, though not a man to show his emotions, was visibly shaken. (taken from:]

The translation of St. Seraphim's relics on July 19th, 1903, attended by St. Nicholas the Tsar, his family, and thousands of the clergy and the faithful (photograph taken from: Sarov&spgmFilters=#photo)
Several people were healed of various illnesses during this procession. During Matins, as "Praise ye the Name of the Lord" was sung, the coffin was opened. After the Gospel, Metropolitan Anthony and the other hierarchs kissed the holy relics. They were followed by the royal family, the officiating clergy, and all the people in the cathedral.

On July 19, the saint's birthday, the late Liturgy began at 8 o'clock. At the Little Entrance, twelve Archimandrites lifted the coffin from the middle of the church, carried it around the altar, then placed it into a special shrine. The long awaited event was accompanied by numerous miraculous healings of the sick, who had gathered at Sarov in large numbers. More than 200,000 people came to Sarov from all across Russia.

The festivities at Sarov came to an end with the dedication of the first two churches to St Seraphim. The first church to be consecrated was over his monastic cell in Sarov. The second church was consecrated on July 22 at the Diveyevo convent.

In 1991, St Seraphim's relics were rediscovered after being hidden in a Soviet anti-religious museum for seventy years. Widely esteemed in his lifetime, St Seraphim is one of the most beloved saints of the Orthodox Church." (taken from:
Reliquary with the relics of St. Seraphim today (taken from:
See previous post for the life of, and links and resources on St. Seraphim the Righteous of Sarov:

Icon of St. Seraphim the Righteous Wonderworker of Sarov (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
Apolytikion of St. Seraphim of Sarov in the Fourth Tone
Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and ardently desiring to work for Him alone, thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labour; and having acquired love for Christ with compunction of heart, thou didst prove to be the beloved favourite of the Mother of God. Wherefore, we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim, our holy Father.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Having left the beauty of the world and what is corrupt therein, O Saint, thou didst settle in the Monastery of Sarov. And having lived there an angelic life, thou wast for many the way unto salvation. Wherefore, Christ hath glorified thee, O Father Seraphim, and hath enriched thee with the gift of healing and miracles. And so we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Seraphim, our holy Father.
St. Nicholas the Tsar and Passion-bearer, at the translation of the Relics of St. Seraphim (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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