Voices from Russia

Saturday, 2 August 2014

2 August 2014. Perhaps, A Reason Why Seraphim Rose Won’t be a Saint Any Time Soon

00 Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Joy of all Who Sorrow. San Francisco CA. USA. 02.08.14

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A Cabinet member wrote this to me:

I asked [X] about what they thought about Seraphim Rose and the talk about him becoming a saint. [X] said that far that too many people are “saint crazy”, meaning that they keep wanting to make new saints all the time… [X] also talked about [Death to the World] and how they changed bishops’ names like Bishop Antony of San Francisco. [X] said that the book made Vladyki Antony look bad… but [X] knew that he was a very good man.

I removed the name of the person involved, as it’d give hints about my interlocutor. You see, the reason Seraphim Rose’s cause isn’t moving forward quickly is that many of his “partisans” are a rather questionable lot, especially, the Platina gang. One source told me that Rose wouldn’t become a saint until Platina rejoined ROCOR. We have copious and well-documented sources for Rose’s life up until he left for Platina… after that, all that we have are interested questionable sources offered by Platina (those connected with Podmo are particularly suspect). I’m not being nasty; I’m taking a Bollandist approach, as one must. Sanctity is important, ergo, we don’t decide it on the grounds of hagiography. For instance, we had a plethora of attested (and objective non-Orthodox) sources for St John Maximovich… but we don’t in the case of Rose after Platina. A friend of mine cautioned (and they WERE wise, I’d say):

I’d be very careful in criticising Fr Seraphim. I know that the MP, Serbs, and ROCOR will open a case for glorification. Many miracles are attributed to his intercessions. Icons of him have wept. The Church verified the authenticity of the streaming (via examination, exorcism, prayers, etc). He’s reputedly appeared in visions to bishops.

Nonetheless, friends of mine at the Centre tell me that no formal case exists at present… although there’s a clamour for one to be open, it hasn’t happened yet. One of the reasons for it, as I mentioned above, is that some of his partisans are… well, insistent on a glorification without the usual and normal process. That simply will not be… it’s not in the cards. As a friend at the Centre said:

It’s only been about thirty years since his death. St Serafim Sarovsky died in the 1830s and the Church didn’t glorify him until the turn of the twentieth century (mostly at the urging of Tsar St Nikolai). If such a glorification takes place, it’d be at least twenty to thirty years ahead in future. The Church does take the long view of things.

I think that this is a fair and just view. The Church takes its time with such matters, as it should. I’ll be so bold as to say that if the Church glorifies Rose, it won’t be in my lifetime (I’m 60, after all). Let things develop naturally… that’s best, I’d say. Let the Church have the final word in this… isn’t that what Orthodox Christianity is all about, kids?

BMD

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