July 19, 2013

Translation of the Holy Relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov (photos)

The Cell in which the relic of St. Seraphim was kept in Sarov until 1903

The Venerable Seraphim of Sarov reposed in 1833 and seventy years later he was canonized by the Russian Church. On July 18, 1903 there were between 200,000 and 300,000 pilgrims in the streets of Sarov as the relics of St. Seraphim were transferred to the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos. There from the night of July 18th till the next morning there was an all-night vigil in all the churches of Holy Russia.

The Royal Family of Russia in procession

The uncovering of the holy relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov on July 19, 1903 was attended by many thousands, among them the foremost of the clergy and royalty; the holy Tsar Nicholas II (July 17) was one of the bearers of the relics in procession, and the Grand Duchess Elizabeth (July 18) 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.

Apolytikion 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.

The relic of St. Seraphim in Dormition Cathedral

In 1926 the Bolsheviks shut down the Monastery of Sarov and took the larnax which contained the relic of St. Seraphim. They first brought it to Arzamas then to Moscow. There they also brought many other holy relics from all over Russia, where a special committee considered which ones interested them the most. When they reached the coffin of St. Seraphim and opened it, the holy relic was miraculously not found.

Patriarch Alexius in Kazan on January 30, 1991

The holy relic was discovered on January 11, 1991 in the Church of the Virgin of Kazan in St. Petersburg. That night thunder and lightning had crossed the skies of St. Petersburg, and all understood something was happening.

From St. Petersburg the holy relic of St. Seraphim was transferred to Diveyevo in order to fulfill the prophecy of St. Seraphim, who before his repose said that he would find rest in Diveyevo.