St. Seraphim of Uglich
This Saturday (Nov. 4th) marks the 80th anniversary of martyrdom of St. Seraphim (Samoilovich) of Uglich.
St. Seraphim served with St. Tikhon first in Russia, and then under him as a missionary priest and teacher in Alaska. Bishop Tikhon deeply appreciated this zealous missionary’s personal piety and his sensitive and appropriate treatment of the newly enlightened flock. Due to the harsh Alaskan climate he returned to Russia in 1908. In the darkness that was Bolshevik revolution, St. Seraphim was elevated to Episcopacy despite being in an out of prison. He even at one point governed the Church as the substitute for the Patriarchal Locum Tenens (who happened to be in prison)
While Archbishop Seraphim governed, he did not appoint any deputies in case of his arrest. Therefore when the Soviet agents interrogated him asking “Who will be the head of the Church if we do not free you?” He replied “The Lord Jesus Christ Himself,”. The Soviets looked at him in amazement and said: “All of you bishops have left behind deputies, as did Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter.” The Archbishop’s response was “Well, I have left the Church in the hands of the Lord God.”
This kind of faith and proclamation eventually landed Archbishop Seraphim at the notorious Solovki labour camp in Northern Russia, where in 1937 he was executed.
There is a beautiful connection between the formative years of service of this Archbishop and Martyr, cultivated in the mission fields of Alaska; where the need of clarity and truth as witnessed in the Gospel was an imperative for bringing people to Christ: and same clarity and truth as witnessed in the Gospel that would not let him bow himself, or the Church to any idol or ideology. A connection made manifest in the love of Jesus Christ for humanity by the precious and life giving Cross.
Holy Hiromartyr Seraphim, who served in North America, and those who suffered with him, pray to God for us.