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Seraphim of Sarov, Saint (1759–1833)

  1. Bruce V. Foltz

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1242

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Foltz, B. V. 2011. Seraphim of Sarov, Saint (1759–1833). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


St. Seraphim of Sarov was an influential Russian staretz (Greek, geron) or elder, a holy man recognized as bearing the charism, or ministry, of spiritual direction. Although he spent much of his life in solitude and ascetic struggle, he was celebrated throughout Russia as a great clairvoyant and worker of miracles, and today he is widely venerated in the Orthodox world, and beyond, as an outstanding modern exemplar of a life filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. This remains especially the case in Russia, where he is the most beloved of all modern saints. Significantly, and ironically, it was in the basement of the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, which had for years been converted by the communist regime into a “Museum of Atheism,” that his lost relics were re-discovered. Thus, as he had predicted, the recovery of his relics in 1991 was associated with the restoration of the Orthodox faith to Russia.


  • seraphim of Sarov, Saint (1759–1833);
  • Russian staretz or elder, a holy man;
  • “seraphim” from hebrew root, flaming or fiery;
  • “the true goal of our Christian life… holy spirit of God”