Thursday, August 29, 2013

Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833)

"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church" -- Pope Eugene IV at the Ecumenical Council of Florence, Bull "Cantate Domino"

"No man can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church one can have everything except salvation. One can have honor, one can have the sacraments, one can sing alleluia, one can answer amen, one can have faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and preach it too, but never can one find salvation except in the Catholic Church" -- St. Augustine the Great of Hippo, Sermon to the People of the Church of Caesarea, 6 (Patrologia Latina 43:695), qtd. in John Randolph Willis, The Teachings of the Church Fathers (Ignatius Press, 2002), 60 <https://books.google.com/books?id=leoK-f67rsYC&pg=PA60#v=onepage&q&f=false>. Latin: "Extra Ecclesiam catholicam totum potest praeter salutem. Potest habere honorem, potest habere Sacramenta, potest cantare Alleluia, potest respondere Amen, potest Evangelium tenere, potest in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti fidem habere et praedicare: sed nusquam nisi in Ecclesia catholica salutem poterit invenire."

Pope St. John Paul II the Great of Rome, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (New York: Random House, 1994), 17-18 <https://books.google.com/books?id=feAMAAAAQBAJ&pg=17#v=onepage&q&f=false>: "Much has been written about prayer, and further, prayer has been widely experienced in the history of mankind, especially in the history of Israel and Christianity. Man achieves the fullness of prayer not when he expresses himself, but when he lets God be most fully present in prayer. The history of mystical prayer in the East and West attests to this: Saint Francis, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and, in the East, for example, Saint Seraphim of Sarov and many others."


Pope St. John Paul II the Great of Rome, Apostolic Visit to Azerbaijan and Bulgaria, Pilgrimage to the Holy Monastery of Rila (3/25/2002): "Having been enabled to see the world through God’s eyes, and become ever more configured to Christ, religious men and women move towards the ultimate end for which man was created: divinization, sharing in the life of the Trinity. Grace makes this possible only to those who — through prayer, tears of compunction and charity — open themselves to the Holy Spirit, as we are reminded by another great monk of these beloved Slav lands, Seraphim of Sarov (cf. Colloquio con Motovilov III, in P. Evdokimov, Serafim di Sarov, Uomo dello Spirito, Bose 1996, pp. 67-81)." <http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/2002/may/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20020525_rila-bulgaria.html>

Louis Monden, S.J., Signs and Wonders: A Study of the Miraculous Element in Religion (New York: Desclée, 1966), 306-307: "Let us study, for instance, the life of St. Seraphim of Sarov (died in 1833), the greatest miracle-worker of the 19th century. His biography, no doubt, presents an impressive number of facts which any Catholic would readily recognize as proofs of a supernatural intervention of God. He would, however, recognize just as readily that none of them qualifies as a major miracle, that is, one with an intrinsic apologetic value and of the kind we have so far found absent everywhere except in the Catholic Church. There are two particularly striking instances among the cures attributed to him: the cases of Michael Manturov and Judge Nikolai Motovilov. Both are cases of functional paralysis, which, judging by the way the illness and the manner of the cure are described, could have been cured, medically speaking, through spontaneous psychotherapy with religious motivation. At the Lourdes Bureau cases like these would not even be considered."

Martin Jugie, A.A., Le schisme byzantin, aperçu historique et doctrinal (Paris, P. Lethielleux, 1941), 447-460, esp. 457:

En 1903, la canonisation de l’ascète Séraphin de Sarov († 1833) fut due déjà a la violenté expresse de l’empereur Nicolas II et de sa femme l’impératrice Alexandra Féodorovna, malgré un obstacle qui paraissant insurmontable. Le corps de Séraphin, en effet, n’avait pas été trouvé conservé. Or, le grande miracle qui est à l’origine de la plupart des canonisations historiques est l’incorruption du cadavre. Lorsque l’historien Golubinskii, dans l’ouvrage signalé plus haut, prétendit que cette marquée de sainteté n’était pas obligatoire, la censure ecclésiastique le mit à l’index.1 Mais sous la pression du tsar, et surtout de la tsarine, l’opposition des milieux ecclésiastiques cessa. La condamnation portée contre l’ouvrage de Goloubinskii fut levée et l’on procéda solennellement, en 1903, à la canonisation du saint anachorète, célèbre par ses exploits ascétiques, son oraison, ses visions extatiques et ses enseignements spirituels.2 Cette canonisation, qui ressemblait à un coup de force de l’autorité impériale, fit scandale en Russie. En tout cas, il faut la considérer comme une exception dans l’histoire des canonisations russes officielles.

... 1. La famille impériale attribuait des grâces de guérison déjà l’attouchement du manteau du saint anachorète. L’impératrice insista pour le faire canoniser, espérant obtenir par son intercession la naissance d’un fils. Elle put bientôt se croire exaucée. Exactement un an après la canonisation de Séraphin, elle émit au monde le tsarévitch Alexis.
Albert Michel, "Sainteté," Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (Paris, Letouzey et Ané, 1939), 14.1:####: "Il y ajoute celui de Seraphin de Serov, moine russe,modele de haute perfection dans l'Eglise orthodoxe. Ces cas, quelle que puisse etre l'appreciation exacte à porter sur le degre de sainteté qu'ils comportent, ne sont pas à nier. Si l' axiome : "Hors de l'Eglise, pas de salut », ne nons autorise pas à nier Ia possibilite du salut a ceux qui paraissent vivre hors de l'Eglise, ainsi en est-il du jugement a porter sur Ia sainteté qui, à ses degres divers, est Ia condition essentielle du salut. Si l'homme peut, meme sans Ie sacrement de baptême, assurer son salut eternel en appartenant simplement à l'ame et, par Ie desir au moins implicite, au corps de l'Eglise, ainsi pourra-t-il, surtout s'il est baptise et s'il a Je secours des sacrements validement reçus, vivre de la vie de Ia grace et meme en vivre abondamment. ... D'ailleurs, la Providence veille, semble-t-il, ace que ces cas exceptionnels de sainteté supérieure et héroïque se manifestent toujours en des personnages attires vers l'Eglise romaine. Sundar Singh déclinait positivement l'appartenance à toute confession particulière. Ses vertus ne sauraient donc autoriser aucune confession non catholique : elles valent par ce que valent les principes de vie spirituelle qui les ont inspires. La sainteté d'un Séraphin de Sarov est une sainteté empruntée, apparentée à la sainteté catholique. Prés d'elle allaient se retremper des âmes cherchant des leçons de vie meilleure, la paix de la conscience, une aide contre les tentations de l'esprit et de la chair. Ceux qui auraient été tentes d'aller plus avant et de s'inquiéter de la véritable Eglise du Christ auraient trouve dans la fréquentation d'une telle sainteté un motif, non de se fixer dans l'hétérodoxie, mais de se rapprocher de l'Eglise romaine, dont les prérogatives « leur apparaitraient d'autant mieux, qu'ils auraient commence de gouter le Maitre. » En examinant avec soin la sainteté de l'ermite de Sarov, on constate qu’elle relève per se des principes formules dans la seule Eglise catholique : "Les différences, dit excellemment le P. de Grandmaison, portent sur des modalités par lesquelles  l'Esprit s'adapte et s’attempère à des races diverses; pour le fond, et, plus manifestement encore pour l'élément de choix et de discréation qui juge et hiérarchisé les opérations de la vie spirituelle supérieure, un fidèle catholique peut presque dire : «  Tout est nôtre! … »"

Aidan Nichols, O.P., Rome and the Eastern Churches (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 134: "Again, Catholics of the Byzantine rite do, I believe, commemorate saints canonized by the Orthodox during the period of schism, and even dedicate parish churches to them, like the one recently erected under the patronage of Seraphim of Sarov (a nineteenth century Russian hermit) in Toronto, Canada, but I have not heard of Uniate veneration of an Orthodox saint instrumental in the making or continuance of schism, such as the fifteenth century Greek bishop Mark of Ephesus." Fr. Nichols's book was first published in 1992. For more info on the parish in question see <http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/45221/St%20Seraphim%20of%20Sarov%20Catholic>.

-Seraphim's conversation with Nicholas Motovilov (http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/wonderful.aspx):

-2007 Ruthenian Typicon for Tuesday, January 2: "In the Russian Church, the Venerable and God-bearing Father Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov." For more info on this Typicon, see http://web.archive.org/web/20081221115757/http://www.patronagechurch.com/Typicon/typicon.htm.

-Servant of God Catherine Doherty (Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine de Hueck Doherty: Madonna House Apostolate foundress) [8/15/1896-12/14/1985] - "She had a great love, of course, forthe saints of Holy Russia (she had an icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov over her bed)" -- Fr. Robert Wild, Catherine Doherty, Servant of God: The Signifiance of Her Life for the Church, and the Present State of Her Cause for Canonization (Combermere, Ontario, Canada: Madonna House Publications, 2005) 47 <http://www.catherinedoherty.org/pdf/Robert_Wild_-_Catherine_Doherty_Servant_of_God.pdf>; see also <http://www.catherinedoherty.org/articles/2004/09/does-the-orthodox-church-canonize-people/> and note that Catherine was also a fan of the writings of Silouan the Athonite <http://www.catherinedoherty.org/articles/2011/11/catherine-and-the-russian-religious-renaissance/>

-At St. Michael's Russian Catholic Church (266 Mulberry Street, New York, NY  10012) there is an icon of Seraphim of Sarov and he is commemorated as a saint in a liturgical setting on January 14. This parish links to <http://www.catholic.ru/kalend/index.html> as the official Russian Catholic calendar; I cannot track down any archived copies of January at <https://web.archive.org/web/20030412122807*/http://www.catholic.ru/kalend/index.html>

-The encyclopedia at the Russian Catholic website lists Seraphim as a saint with a feast day of January 14; see <http://catholic.ru/modules.php?name=Encyclopedia&op=content&tid=2140> and the English translation at <https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fcatholic.ru%2Fmodules.php%3Fname%3DEncyclopedia%26op%3Dcontent%26tid%3D2140&edit-text=>

-Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., Preacher to the Papal Household, Penitential liturgy for the Roman Curia in preparation for the Jubilee, Meditation (2/21/2000): "I must confess, I too have asked me this question, but I have given up thinking on this line further, because it is too easy to determine the sins of others or an institution, which one does not belong to himself. But it is at least in this context, completely unnecessary, because that is anyone helped. Anyone on you approach to defending itself first of all, and rightly so. I always think of a maxim of St. Seraphim of Sarov: "It is easy to preach against the guilt of others; that's like putting down throwing stones from a church tower. But it is difficult to tackle the own fault, that's like putting up wearing those stones from the bottom on his shoulders back to the top of the steeple." <http://www.vatican.va/jubilee_2000/jubilevents/jub_curia_20000221_cantalamessa_ge.html>; trans. <https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vatican.va%2Fjubilee_2000%2Fjubilevents%2Fjub_curia_20000221_cantalamessa_ge.html&edit-text=>

-Theologico-Historical Commission, "THE EARTH IS FILLED WITH YOU SPIRIT, LORD":
"This text, for now, intends to be an instrument of reflection and prayer, until the gift of the Spirit penetrates the life of every believer. According to the words of Jesus in fact, if the terrestrial father grants the prayers of his own children «how much more the Father in Heaven will give the Spirit to those who pray to him» (Lk 11, 13). Prayer is so important for the gift of the Spirit that there exists a variation of the Our Father, followed by many Fathers of the Church, where, at the point of the invocation «May your Kingdom come - we read - may your Spirit come unto us and purify us» (cf. Gregorio of Nissa, Homily on the Our Father, III, 6). It is in this prospective that we can understand, then, the words of a Russian saint of the last century, Serafino of Sarov (1833): «The true end of Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. Prayer, fasting, vigils, charity, these are only means to acquire the Holy Spirit».
<http://www.vatican.va/jubilee_2000/magazine/documents/ju_mag_01091997_p-45_en.html>

-Eleuterio F. Fortino, Ecumenical Commission, "LIFE IN THE SPIRIT IN THE EASTERN AND WESTERN TRADITIONS":
A publication in St. Petersburg presented by Fr. Tecle Vetrali, professor at the Ecumenical Institute "San Bernardino" in Venice, could be taken as a synthesis of the symposium itself. It deals with an experience of communion started between the Patriarch of Moscow and the Franciscan Order of Brothers Minor. The professor said: «This fraternal relationship has exposed many affinities between the Orthodox and Franciscan spiritualities. The correspondence does not reduce to the psychological or cultural field. The communion is profound and touches the same roots of existence: it is born from the same Holy Spirit, who introduces us into communion with the one Christ and the one Father, illuminating us with the one Gospel». The title of the publication is: «Multiple experiences of the one Gospel. Testimonies of the Russian and Franciscan Spiritualities». The book was written by both Catholics and Orthodox and presents some eminent saints from both traditions: Sergio of Radonez, Serafino of Sarov, Elisabeth of Essen, Nicolas of Mira, Francis of Assisi, Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua. The biographies are preceded by a brief history and characterization of Russian monastic and Catholic Franciscan life. The relator concluded: «This book is presented as an exchange of gifts between two Churches and two spiritual traditions which yearn for communion and unity».

The division between Catholics and the Orthodox has in fact also contributed to a profound wound in the recognition of sanctity. The calendars of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are different, except for the saints common in the first century. In particular, the saints canonized after the division are absent. This aporia in veneration is based on theological presuppositions and necessitates a solution in the realm of establishing full communion. The ecclesial division has sliced into the communion of saints, at least in terms of their recognition for veneration. This makes the contradiction generated by the division more evident.


The relations which the Catholic Church has established with other Christians since the Second Vatican Council have, in addition to the growth of communion and fraternity, enabled us to discover what God is bringing about in the members of other Churches and ecclesial communities. The Holy Father has made a theological and spiritual elegy of this. «In a theocentric vision, we Christians already have a common Martyrology» (UUS, 84). In fact, «The witness to Christ borne even to the shedding of blood has become a common inheritance of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants» (TMA, 37). Pope John Paul II desires that the «Christian testimony» given particularly in this century - in the time of Nazism, communism, dictatorships in various parts of the world - are not forgotten, but rather are recognized, are placed forward in such a way as to become examples to imitate. This has an ecumenical value which goes beyond its theological conceptualization. «Perhaps the most convincing form of ecumenism is the ecumenism of the saints and of the martyrs», affirms the Holy Father in the same place. «The communio sanctorum speaks louder than the things which divide us».
<http://www.vatican.va/jubilee_2000/magazine/documents/ju_mag_01111997_p-58_en.html>

Archimandrite Lazarus Moore, An Extraordinary Peace: St. Seraphim Flame of Sarov [a.k.a. Saint Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography] (Anaphora Press, 2009), 238-239: "But if Father Seraphim spoke of the superiority of Orthodoxy to Old Ritualism, still more did he consider it superior to Roman Catholicism. 'He urged us,' we read in the Diveyev Chronicle, 'to stand firmly for the truth of the dogmas of the Orthodox Church, giving as an example St. Mark of Ephesus who showed unshakable zeal in defense of the Eastern Catholic [Orthodox] faith at the Council of Florence. He himself gave various instructions on Orthodoxy, explaining its essence and stressing that it alone contained the truth of Christ's faith in its integrity and purity. He also gave instructions as to how to defend it.'" Ibid. 242-243, on the vision allegedly experienced "in the early 1920’s, [by someone from] a noble family of Protestants in Alsace": "'Suddenly I saw [St.] Francis [of Assisi] himself coming towards me, and with him a little old man like a patriarch, bent but radiant,' she said indicating thereby his old age and venerable appearance. He was all in white. She felt frightened, but they came quite near her and Francis said; 'My daughter, you seek the true Church. It is there, where he is. It supports everyone, and does not require support from anyone.' The white Elder remained silent and only smiled approvingly at the words of Francis. … When she visited his room to see whether he was comfortably settled, she saw there a small Icon and recognized in it the Elder whom she had seen, in her light sleep, with Francis. Astonished and alarmed she asked: 'Who is he, that little old man?' 'St. Seraphim, our Orthodox saint,' answered the workman. Then she understood the meaning of the words of St. Francis about the truth being in the Orthodox Church."
Update 3/5/2016: I will try to find this in the Chronicles of :
(a) pre-1903: http://www.4udel.nne.ru/library/books/letopis
(b) 1903-1927: http://www.4udel.nne.ru/library/books/916/918

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