The Significance of Fr. Seraphim Rose for the American Christian of Today

This serious article is a valuable resource for those of us seeking to live the Life in Christ in these last days, and may be read and re-read profitably.

Fr. Seraphim Rose (†1982) is a saint for our time, a trustworthy guide and example for us as we struggle against the deluge of apostasy, madness, and demonic activity which has been unleashed on the world.

The life of Fr. Seraphim Rose shows us that the way to recover our souls as Westerners is to return to the roots of the real culture of the West—Patristic Christianity, to form our souls, not of the pablum and poison of contemporary culture, but on apostolic faith, catacomb spirituality, Orthodox piety, and the mind of the fathers.

The American Acquisition of the Patristic Mind

The Significance of Fr. Seraphim Rose for the Christian of Today

by Vincent Rossi, Pravoslavie/OrthoChristian, September 2, 2017:

Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina (reposed September 2, 1982)

In the back of the St. Herman Calendar published by the  St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, there is a page entitled  Remember Your Instructors, on which we find among others the name of Hieromonk Seraphim Rose of Platina.

Why do we need to remember our instructors? The purpose of remembering our instructors is, it seems to me, threefold:

first, to reverence their memory as holy, wise, and beloved counselors and teachers (as St. Paulinus of Nola said, “Only if the sky can forego its stars, earth its grass, honeycombs their honey, streams their water, and breasts their milk will our tongues be able to renounce their praise of the saints, in whom God is the strength of life and the fame of death”);

second, to pray for the repose of their souls and to seek their intercession on behalf of our continuing spiritual warfare here on earth (“Give rest to our fathers and brethren who have departed this life before us, and through the prayers of them all have mercy on my unhappy self in my depravity,” says St. Peter of Damascus in the prayer at the end of Compline);

and third, to imitate their example (as St. Basil the Great points out, “The righteous themselves do not want glory, but we who are as yet in this life need remembering them, so as to imitate them”).

In a sense, this third purpose for remembering our instructors, to imitate their example, implies the other two, and is the really important reason for us to keep fresh in our memories the lives of those who handed down the Orthodox faith and tradition to us.

I believe the example of Fr. Seraphim Rose, both in his life and in his work, contains a key that is of universal Orthodox significance in these last days, and is especially important for all those seeking to find and struggling to preserve true Orthodoxy in the West.

I believe the example of Fr. Seraphim Rose, both in his life and in his work, contains a key that is of universal Orthodox significance in these last days, and is especially important for all those seeking to find and struggling to preserve true Orthodoxy in the West. For Fr. Seraphim is our contemporary, a man who lived and breathed the same deadly modern atmosphere of godless humanism, atheistic hedonism, and soulless ecumenism that is the common experience of all modern children of the West.

Continue reading “The Significance of Fr. Seraphim Rose for the American Christian of Today”

Abbot Damascene Interview: Video 6 of 6

‘Pray for us!’ is the message that comes from the people from the USA to the Greek Orthodox Christians. ‘Orthodox Christians hold your faith!’ With these words ends the interview of Archimandrite Damascene, abbot of St. Herman’s of Alaska monastery in California, in this last part.”

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

September 2 marks the 35th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. To honor his commemoration, I will be posting a variety of media and articles of interest.

 

Source: Pemptousia

 

Abbot Damascene Interview: Video 5 of 6

“The teaching of Father Seraphim Rose about the patristic view of the creation of the world and its impact to the life of the modern man and Christian is the subject of this part of interview to Pemptousia, given by father Damascene, Abbot of the Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska in California.”

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

September 2 will mark the 35th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. In the weeks leading up to this date, I will be occasionally posting a variety of media and articles of interest.

 

Source: Pemptousia

 

Abbot Damascene Interview: Video 4 of 6

Abbot Damascene of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina CA, in this part of his interview to Pemptousia, talks about the worth of social media to the lives of modern Christian, highlighting at the same time their spiritual dangers.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

September 2 will mark the 35th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. In the weeks leading up to this date, I will be occasionally posting a variety of media and articles of interest.

 

Source: Pemptousia

 

Abbot Damascene Interview – Video 3 of 6

“Athos is the motherland of orthodox monasticism in the world!”

In this third part of his interview to Pemptousia, Archimandrite Damascene, abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California, talks about his pilgrimages to Mount Athos. He also reflects on encountering such sincere veneration of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) by the monks of the Holy Mountain, especially meaningful as monasticism in America is so young by comparison.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

September 2 will mark the 35th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. In the weeks leading up to this date, I will be occasionally posting a variety of media and articles of interest.

 

Source: Pemptousia

 

Abbot Damascene of St Herman of Alaska Monastery – Video 2 of 6

In this second of a six-part video interview, “Father Damascene, abbot of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, talks to Pemptousia about the history of the brotherhood of the Monastery and how the brotherhood turned from missionary to monastic. He is mentioning some important spiritual words of Father Seraphim Rose and he is describing the situation of Orthodoxy in USA today.”

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

September 2 will mark the 35th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. In the weeks leading up to this date, I will be occasionally posting a variety of media and articles of interest.

 

Source: Pemptousia

 

Abbot Damascene of St Herman of Alaska Monastery – Video 1 of 6

In this first of a six part interview to Pemptousia, Archimandrite Damascene, Abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California, speaks about his acquaintance with Father Seraphim Rose and the influence of his presence on Fr Damascene’s Christian life.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

September 2 will mark the 35th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. In the weeks leading up to this date, I will be occasionally posting a variety of media and articles of interest.

Source: Pemptousia

 

 

Inspirations, Part 1

As I prepare for another round of monastery travel and photography, I thought it might be inspiring for you (as well as for me!) to revisit some of my early posts on this website, which try to sketch out the contours of “Why” I am undertaking this two-year pilgrimage, “What” it means to me, and “Where” I hope it will lead.

With some minor editing, this is the section I wrote in Autumn 2015 on the Inspiration for the North American Thebaid.

Inspiration

eugene
Eugene Rose (the future Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina) at about the time he saw a slide show on Orthodox monasticism which would change his life.

The inspiration for The North American Thebaid Project springs primarily from the example of seminarian Gleb Podmoshensky, whose 1961 pilgrimage to monastic sketes and settlements across the United States, Canada and Alaska, and his photographic slide show from these visits, had an inspiring and pivotal impact on a certain young man: Eugene Rose.

Gleb titled his presentation, “Holy Places in America,” and described his encounter with Eugene as follows:

Before Eugene’s amazed expression, Gleb recalls, “a new world of Apostolic Orthodoxy revealed itself. Color icons and portraits of saints and righteous ones of America; scenes of Blessed Fr. Herman’s Spruce Island in Alaska; renewed miracle-working icons that had been brought to America from Shanghai; abbesses and schemamonks in America; Canadian sketes; Holy Trinity Monastery and New Diveyevo Convent in New York, which brought the tradition of the Optina Elders to America, and so on. I gave a brief explanation of the slides, and of the phenomenon of the martyrdom of Holy Russia. Finally I told of the martyric fate of my father and its consequences, which had brought about my conversion to Christ and had eventually brought me here…

“The lecture was finished. My host, Eugene Rose, the future Fr. Seraphim, drawing in his breath, said, ‘What a revelation!’”

Continue reading “Inspirations, Part 1”

The End of What It Looks Like

Photography, Vision and the Heart

Here is a challenging reflection on photography, by David DuChemin, whose work I have been following for a while now and whom I greatly admire for his emphasis on “vision”, not mere “pictorialism” (if I can coin a word).

“The calling of the photographer is to see the invisible and to show it to the world, and those are the things we see not with our eyes so much as with our heart.”

— David duChemin

His words hit me hard, as I have myself written about striving to “reveal glimpses of the hidden, unseen Monastic Way, through visual means.” It is both paradox (so beloved by Orthodox Christianity) and challenge, one which I do not claim to have risen to, but to which I press onwards, striving to fulfill.

Perhaps someone might ask, “Why?”

Because, as an Orthodox Christian, I believe in “Vision.” We even have a theological word for it: “Theoria.” Even if I do not attain it in either my life or my photography, yet will I press forward, hoping that my efforts may help inspire others to do so.

So, I hope you enjoy this article and David’s challenge to go deeper. He writes of the heart, from the heart, and I have appended a few closing thoughts at bottom on this heart of the matter…

See also my posts:

The End of What It Looks Like

by David duChemin, August 30, 2016:

duchemin-img_1147-864x864
Cloud Front, © David duChemin

A couple years ago the number being floated around about photographs on the internet was this: 1.8 billion images a day were being shared on social media channels. All of them showing us what every minute corner of the world looks like. It is safe to say that there is little – if anything at all – that remains to be shown. Do a Google search for any conceivable thing, place, or person and there’s a good chance you’ll get more images than you can use. This used to be the job of photographers, particularly the so-called professionals: to illustrate. To show the world what it looked like.

In order to show the world what it looked like the photographer had to use a rather technical means, had to understand the physics, the chemistry, the optics. Owning and using the gear required was not easy. This was the means by which the photographer accomplished his craft and remained relevant. And that, for generations was the task of most photographers – to use complicated gear to show the world what it looked like.

Can you see where this is heading? Something only has value when it’s needed. When it’s scarce. And you can say neither about the use of the camera nor the need for more illustrative images of a world in which 2 billion photographs are shared, not to mention the ones not shared, every day. Before you despair or rush to the ramparts to defend this craft, let me say that I believe more than ever in the value and need for photographs. It just isn’t where it once was, in illustration.

Continue reading “The End of What It Looks Like”

‘Souls to Match the Mountains!’

Fr. Seraphim Rose and the call for a North American Thebaid

 

Fr Seraphim-MtStHerman

Two brief passages from Fr. Seraphim’s monastic life and writings make clear how he longed for an American Thebaid to flourish in his homeland, as it had in Orthodox lands in preceding centuries:

As at the beginning of his monastic path he had drawn inspiration from the phenomenon of desert-dwelling in northern Russia, so now was he to do so from an identical phenomenon in the land of his forefathers. The flight of God-seeking men and women into the Jura Mountains of ancient Gaul was in fact an exact precursor of the movement that began in Russia almost a millennium later. “The Jura monasteries,” wrote Fr. Seraphim in 1976 to a young monastic aspirant, “are especially interesting to us because they are a forested desert, very close to the spirit of the Northern Thebaid (or to the American Thebaid that could be if there were souls to match the mountains!).”

Excerpt From: Hieromonk Damascene. “Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works.” iBooks edition, p. 1963.

The second excerpt comes from the Epilogue Fr. Seraphim wrote for The Northern Thebaid itself, and shows how his monastic inspiration was always connected with the real examples of earlier desert-dwelling men and women who serve as spiritual trailblazers, showing us the way:

Continue reading “‘Souls to Match the Mountains!’”