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Seraphim of Sarov

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Life: given name prior to tonsure
St. Seraphim was born Prokhor Moshnin on [[July 19]], 1754. His parents, Isidore and Agathia Moshnin, lived in Kursk, Russia; Isidore was a merchant. At the age of 10, Seraphim Prokhor became seriously ill. During the course of his illness, he saw the [[Mother of God]] in his sleep, who promised to heal him. Several days later there was a religious procession in Kursk with the locally revered [[miracle]]-working [[icon]] of the Mother of God. Due to bad weather, the procession took an abbreviated route past the house of the Moshnin family. After his mother put Seraphim Prokhor up to the miracle-working image, he recovered rapidly. While at a young age, he needed to help his parents with their shop, but business had little appeal for him. Young Seraphim Prokhor loved to read the [[hagiography|lives of the saints]], to attend church, and to withdraw into seclusion for [[prayer]].
At the age of 18, Seraphim Prokhor firmly decided to become a [[monk]]. His mother blessed him with a large copper [[crucifix]], which he wore over his clothing all his life. After this, he entered the Sarov [[monastery]] as a [[novice]].
===Monastic Life===
From day one in the monastery, exceptional abstinence from food and slumber were the distinguishing features of his life. He ate once a day, and little. On Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing. After asking the blessing of his [[starets]], i.e., (a spiritual elder, ) he began to withdraw often into the forest for prayer and religious contemplation. He became severely ill again soon after, and was forced to spend most of the course of the next three years lying down.
St. Seraphim Prokhor was once again healed by the Most Holy Virgin Mary, who appeared to him accompanied by several saints. Pointing to the [[venerable]] Seraphimyoung novice, the Holy Virgin said to the [[Apostle]] [[John the Theologian]]: "He is of our lineage." Then, by touching his side with her staff, she healed him.
His taking of the monastic vows occurred in 1786, when he was 27 years old. He was given the name Seraphim, which in Hebrew means "fiery," or "burning." He was soon made a [[hierodeacon]]. He justified his name by his extraordinarily burning prayer. He spent all of his time, save for the very shortest of rests, in church. Through such prayer and the labors of religious services, Seraphim became worthy to see [[angel]]s, both serving and singing in church. During the [[Liturgy]] on [[Holy Week|Holy Thursday]], he saw the Lord [[Jesus Christ]] Himself, in the form of the Son of man, proceeding into the Church with the Heavenly host and blessing those praying. The saint could not speak for a long time after being struck by this vision.

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