Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Today the Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen are commemmorated. Lesser known in the western church is St. Seraphim *1759 †1833. As a monk he lived as a hermit in the woods. Once a nun came to see him and she spied a scene similar to the illustration above.

Dostojevskij's character, the Starets Zosima, in The Brothers Karamazov alludes to Seraphim:
...Yonder," said I, "in the forest wanders the bear, fierce and menacing, and yet innocent."
And I told him how once a bear came to a great saint who had taken refuge in a tiny cell in the woods. And the great saint pitied him, went to him without fear and gave him a piece of bread. "Go along," said he, "Christ be with you." And the savage beast walked away meekly and obediently, doing no harm....

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