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”

Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘Recollections of Mount Athos’

A warm and inspiring first-person account of the author’s journey to the Holy Mountain as a young man, his experiences with different monasteries, counsels received from various monks and elders, and how the Lord directed his steps and helped him grow in his early days as a monk.

Sunset, St Anne’s Skete, Mount Athos; photo © Ralph H. Sidway.

Published in the early years of St Gregory Palamas Monastery (Hayesville, Ohio) under the direction of Bishop Maximos and the sponsorship of the GOA Diocese of Pittsburgh, this beautiful memoir exudes the fragrance and savor of Holy Orthodoxy, and may be of special help to monastic seekers in discerning the Lord’s will for their lives, and in helping them live it to the fullest, as they heed the call to the narrow way to the Kingdom of God.

Rather than being a didactic book of instruction like The Arena and Letters To A Beginner, Recollections of Mount Athos weaves monastic counsels through a charming narrative of unforgettable ascetics, strugglers, abbots and elders, all seen through the wide, perceptive eyes and warm, faithful heart of young George, the future Archimandrite Cherubim, and all overshadowed by the grace of God.

From Chapter 1, First Impressions:

From the time I was fourteen years old, the vivid descriptions of two Hagiorite [i.e., Athonite] hieromonks who were rigorous in practicing the virtues, the Elders Paisios and Chrysanthos, had molded Mount Athos in my soul like a place that, though terrestrial, touches heaven. My burning desire for that place urged me toward the big decision: I was going to live there forever…

As soon as my foot stepped on land, my first concern was to kneel behind an old building an with emotion kiss that holy ground. I had vowed to do it. I used to say: “My Panagia [Greek for “All Holy”, a loving term for the Virgin May, the Theotokos], enable me one day to find myself on the Holy Mountain, and the first thing I will do will be to kiss its ground.”

My favorite quote:

“Talk like a monk, look like a monk, sit like a monk, walk like a monk, eat like a monk, sleep like a monk, think like a monk, pray like a monk.” ~ Papa Joachim, St Anne’s Skete, Mount Athos, p. 82.

Recollections of Mount Athos

by Archimandrite Cherubim Karambelas, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline MA; © 1987, St Gregory Palamas Monastery.

Featuring an Introduction by Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh, ‘Monasticism in the Orthodox Church’, with a helpful glossary of terms.

“This book springs from the author’s own personal monastic experience on Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain. Archimandrite Cherubim Karambelas spent only four years on Mount Athos. He was eighteen years old when he went to the Holy Mountain with the intention of staying there forever. However, he was forced, due to ill health, to return to wartime Athens. He was not to return to the Mountain again until many years later, and then only to visit a dying monk, a friend, who wished to see him before he died. At that time he was the abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Paraclete which he established, located on the outskirts of Athens.”  — From the Translator’s Preface

Order from St Gregory Palamas Monastery; Paperback, 202 pages; Price: $12.00

 

Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘The Arena’

A classic manual on the Christian spiritual life, by Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, this is the second in this series of posts. See post 1 here.

The Arena: Guidelines for Spiritual and Monastic Life

By Ignatius (Brianchaninov) Translated by Lazarus (Moore) Foreword by Kallistos (Ware); Holy Trinity Publications, Jordanville NY.

From the publisher’s description:

This is one of the most important and accessible texts of Orthodox Christian teaching on the spiritual life, and and not unlike the better known “Philokalia.” The author, St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) describes this work as his legacy “of soul saving instruction.” He promises that “Those who carry out these instructions will enter into possession of spiritual riches.”

In an age even more alienated from spiritual culture and rooted in materialism, his words pose both a challenge and an invitation to all who ever say to themselves “There must be more to life than this.”

For anyone who desires to deepen their own spiritual journey based upon an encounter with Christ as God, this book is essential reading. Its contents may ultimately be accepted or rejected, but they will be very difficult to ignore.

Continue reading “Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘The Arena’”