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June 8, 2012

The Wondrous Grave of Nicholas Motovilov

Nicholas Motovilov was a spiritual child of St. Seraphim of Sarov, and is most famous for writing A Conversation On the Purpose of the Christian Life, that occurred in November 1831 in the forest near Sarov between himself and St. Seraphim.

Motovilov throughout his life worked hard to bring to Russian public awareness the name of St. Seraphim, who was eventually canonized in 1903.

Motovilov died on January 17, 1879 and was buried at Serafimo-Diveyevsky Monastery, as foretold by St. Seraphim of Sarov. On his grave a large tree has grown, which the communists at one point tried to take down but were unable. Some see on the tree a miraculous formation of the head of a bear and the icon of the Theotokos of Umilenie. Both are known from the life of St. Seraphim, with the former being a close companion of St. Seraphim in the forest of Sarov, and the latter being the icon before which St. Seraphim hung on a tree and prayed while on the rock for a thousand days and later died while kneeling before.