St. Seraphim of Sarov
This is a hagiographical icon featuring scenes from major events in the life of 19th century Russian Saint Seraphim of Sarov. In 1796 St. Seraphim spent 1000 consecutive nights praying on a rock in the forest, uplifting his hands as he recited the Jesus Prayer. He spent the days on a rock in his hermitage hidden from view. The central scene show this event. St. Seraphim holds a Russia prayer rope (chotki), wears the copper crucifix given him by his mother when he left home, and is dressed in his distinctive white cassock. The white bag may contain stones that he used as a pillow when sleeping.
Clockwise from the Upper Left Corner
The child Prohor (St. Seraphim), after a vision of the Theotokos, is healed from a serious illness at age 10 after venerating the Kursk Root icon carried in procession near his home.
As a young monk, St. Seraphim became ill and spent three years in bed. The Theotokos appears to St. Seraphim with St. Peter and John and states “He is one of our kind” and heals him.
Misha the bear befriends St. Seraphim, being fed by the saint and one time bringing a honeycomb to frightened nuns as the saint’s request.
St. Seraphim was attacked by robbers in his far hermitage in 1804 who sought the gold given him by pilgrims but found only potatoes. The saint did not resist their attack. The Theotokos again saved him from death and he saw that the assailants were not punished for their crime (for which they repented and knelt before the saint). Because of the severe beating with the ax handle, the saint walked stooped over for the rest of his life.
St. Seraphim is shown praying in his cell where he received pilgrims before the icon ‘Umilenie’ (Our Lady of Tenderness) wherein the Blessed Virgin is shown in joy at the Annunciation. The words ‘Rejoice Unwedded Bride’ are written on the icon. St. Seraphim died kneeling before the icon on January 2, 1833.
The Sarov monastery where St. Seraphim became a monk in 1778 at age 19 on the advice of the holy recluse Dositheus of Kiev.
The Diveyevo Monastery for women, which was built to the specifications the Theotokos gave St. Seraphim, and which he guided and directed until his death. The Church of the Holy Trinity (with five domes symbolizing Christ and the four Evangelists) was built to his specifications. The tall bell tower was added later. Seraphim himself dug the moat surrounding the monastery and stated that the Blessed Virgin walked it daily.
The vision of singing angels, John the Baptist and John the Theologian, and the Blessed Virgin surrounded by twelve heavenly virgins seen by the Eldress Evpraxia of the Diveyevo monastery. The Theotokos spoke at length the St. Seraphim.
The sick nephew of Princess Shahaeva was carried into St. Seraphim’s cell. The saint told him to lie facing away from him but the in time turned to look at the saint and saw him levitating in the air in prayer. The young man was healed but admonished to never tell what he had seen until after the saint’s death. The lamp in front of the iconostasis contained oil that he used to anoint the sick (sometimes having them drink it).