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Articles by Fr. Seraphim Rose

Signs of the Times

"In the following talk, Fr. Seraphim speaks to us from almost twenty years ago, and yet his words are quite relevant to our times as we approach the end of the second millennium. Although some of the individual examples he gives are now dated, there are now even more extreme examples of the same phenomena of which he speaks. As always, he humbles his understanding before the holy Scriptures and their interpretation by the Orthodox Holy Fathers, and thus his teaching about the times remains timeless, free of the intellectual fashions and prejudices of this world. As time goes on, the Orthodox world-view from which he received his wisdom will become ever more necessary for the spiritual survival of true Christians."



Fr. Seraphim

The Future of Russia and the end of the World

"Every Orthodox Christian is placed between two worlds: this fallen world where we try to work out our salvation, and the other world, heaven, the homeland towards which we are striving and which, if we are leading a true Christian life, gives us the inspiration to live from day to day in Christian virtue and love.

But the world is too much with us. We often, and in fact nowadays we usually forget the heavenly world. The pressure of worldliness is so strong today that we often lose track of what our life as a Christian is all about. Even if we may be attending church services frequently and consider ourselves “active” church members, how often our churchliness is only something external, bound up with beautiful services and the whole richness of our Orthodox tradition of worship, but lacking in real inner conviction that Orthodoxy is the faith that can save our soul for eternity, lacking in real love for and commitment to Christ, the incarnate God and Founder of our faith. How often our church life is just a matter of habit, something we go through outwardly but which does not change us inwardly, does not make us grow spiritually and lead us to eternal life in God."

Orthodoxy in America

"First of all, of course, there was the mission of St. Herman himself, with the seven other missionaries who came with him from Valaam and Konevits Monasteries in the north of Russia in 1794. It is really astonishing what an Orthodox foundation these missionaries laid in Alaska, considering how few they were and what obstacles they faced. One of these eight, Fr. Ioasaph, was consecrated bishop in order to increase the work in America, but he was lost at sea on the return voyage before he could even begin his work. There were few priests in the early years, St. Herman himself wasn't a priest, and the Russian officials in Alaska were not very cooperative -- but in those years thousands of natives were baptized, and their descendants remain Orthodox today; and with St. Herman's labors as a monk, preacher, and carer of orphans, America saw for the first time a living example of the traditional Orthodox piety and spiritual life which made Holy Russia. This is something very important for our Orthodoxy today -- this example of true Orthodox Christianity in practice."

The Orthodox World-View

"Orthodoxy is life. If we don't live Orthodoxy, we simply are not Orthodox, no matter what formal beliefs we might hold.
Life in our contemporary world has become very artificial, very uncertain, very confusing. Orthodoxy, it is true, has a life of its own, but it is also not very far from the life of the world around it, and so the life of the Orthodox Christian, even when he is being truly Orthodox, cannot help but reflect it in some way. A kind of uncertainty and confusion have also entered in Orthodox life in our times. In this talk we will try to look at contemporary life, and then at Orthodox life, to see how better we might fulfill our Christian obligation to lead other-worldly lives even in these quite terrible times, and to have an Orthodox Christian view of the whole of life today that will enable us to survive these times with our faith intact."

The Orthodox Revival in Russia
AS AN INSPIRATION FOR AMERICAN ORTHODOXY


"IN CHOOSING such a topic, my intention is not in the least "nationalistic" or "cultural." What is happening in Russia today is of interest to us in America not specifically as something "Russian," but as something that concerns the human soul, no matter what kind of blood or cultural background a man might have. And we in America and the free world in general have much to learn from what is happening to the human soul in Russia today. This is true both because the situation of the human soul in Russia and the West is really quite similar in basic respects, because the same historical process is occurring there as here; and because there are also basic differences in our situation, and an awareness of these differences can help to strengthen us—and specifically, to strengthen us in Christian faith."

THE HOLY FATHERS
SURE GUIDE TO TRUE CHRISTIANITY


"NEVER HAS THERE BEEN such an age of false teachers as this pitiful 20th century, so rich in material gadgets and so poor in mind and soul. Every conceivable opinion, even the most absurd, even those hitherto rejected by the universal consent of all civilized peoples—now has its platform and its own "teacher." A few of these teachers come with demonstration or promise of "spiritual power" and false miracles, as do some occultists and "charismatics;" but most of the contemporary teachers offer no more than a weak concoction of undigested ideas which they received "out of the air," is it were, or from some modern self-appointed "wise man" (or woman) who knows more than all the ancients merely by living in our "enlightened" modern times. As a result, philosophy has a thousand schools, and "Christianity" a thousand sects. Where is the truth to be found in all this, if indeed it is to be found at all in our most misguided times?"

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