It is my great joy to share with my dear readers, that Archibishop Saint Seraphim Sobolev (1881-1950), Archibishop of Bogochar has been canonized officially by the Russian Orthodox Church on yesterday 3rd of 2016 in their plenary meeting
held at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.
Saint Seraphim Sobolev, has long time has been considered a saint by many Bulgarians and Russians in Bulgaria, for his countless spiritual intercessions for those who venerate him
and ask for his prayer and spiritual guidance. St. Seraphim Sobolev crypt in the Russian Orthodox Chruch in Sofia Bulgaria in honor of Saint Nicolas.
Even my joy is greater his Eminence Metropolitan Ioan (John) of Varna and Veliki Preslav, who happens also the Bishop of my birth place Dobrich, Bulgaria was present On the official canonization.
Also it is not a coincidence that our Metropolitan Ioan was present at the canonization, since he happens to be a spiritual child of a direct disciple of st. Seraphim Sobolev.
Some other notable bishop presents at the canonization Church service was, His Grace Bishop Arseny of Znepolsk, Vicar of the Plovdiv Metropoliate, and Archimandrite Feoktist (Dimitrov), representative of the Bulgarian Patriarch to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The overall count of Bishops, Archibishops and Metropolitans who took participation in the canonization was approximately 320, almost all the bishops of Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
The news that holy Seraphim Sobolev is considered for canonization has been sweeping the Bulgarian Church space for a long time. A nice priest lady has made even a notable movie, about the saint pointing the general turning points of his difficult life, last year and the movie was presented in the Russian Cultural Center in Sofia Bulgaria, below is the movie (unfortunately in Bulgaria and Russian), hopefully soon someone to translate it also to English:
full of a lot of sorrow and uncertainties, because of the harsh Soviet time in which the saint was serving the Church.
In order to caninize a saint, the process is quite long and usually in Russian Church it takes pretty longer sometimes from 20 to 50 years, however with St. Seraphim Soboev, already 66 years already passed since his peaceful passing to Christ on 26th February 1950. The head of the local Russian Church council was his Eminence Patriarch Kiril Bishop of Moscow and all Russia.
The members of the Council unanimously voted for the glorification of Archbishop Seraphim, who has been venerated for many years in Bulgaria and Russia. Metropolitan Ilarion then read the Act of the Holy Council of Bishops announcing the canonization of Archbishop Seraphim among the host of saints. The Council members then sang the exaltation to the newly-glorified saint. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill then gave Metropolitan Ioann an icon of St Seraphim painted at St Petersburg Theological Academy as a gift to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The full canonization title given to st. Seraphim Sobolev (archibishop Bogocharski) from Sofia (The Wonder worker).
So who is Archibishop Seraphim Sobolev?
St. Nicolas Borisovich Sobolev is born on 1st of December 1881 in Russia, province of Rezan in the Russian Empire. After completion of seminary in 1904, he entered Saint Peterburg spiritual academy, which he completed in 1908 y. with the honour of candidate of Theological studies.
At that time he has been ordained for hieromonk. After a short pastoral service in a school in Jitomir, in 1909 fr. Seraphim become a helpng overseer in Kalujsk spiritual school in 1911 and was inspector in the seminary of Kostroma, in 1912 he become a rector of the spiritual seminary in Voronej.
While in Vironej he had experience the terrors of Red (Soviet) Revolution. In autumn of 1919 archimandrite Seraphim went to Ekaterinodar and from then transferred to Crimea. There in 14.10.1920, he was ordained in bishop Lubenski. The ordaining was God's plan for him and also happened perhaps, because of the need of bihops, because of mass inprisonment of bishops and archibishops by the red beasts of the communist party.
With the blessing of his spiritual elder bishop Seraphim has left Russia. From this day on his life is a life of an emigrant. For a while he has taught Theology in the spiritual school of Constantionople's patriarchy on the Island of Chalkidiki.
In 1921 he was assigned as a bishop of the Christian temple in the Russian Church in honour of Saint Nicolas the Wonderworker in Sofia which was made as a monument of The Bulgarian Liberation – the Russian-Turkish Liebaration war.
Same year with a decree of patriarch Tikhon, who now is also canonized – st. Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and all Russia he was assigned to govern the Russian parishes in Bulgaria with the archibishop title Bogucharski.
Until 1944, bishop Seraphim who in 1934, became archibishop was under the jurisdiction of Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia (ROCOR) from 1934.
In 1945 he has joined back to the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy. In 1948 archibishop Seraphim took participation in the All-Orthodox gathering in Moscow.
St. Seraphim Sobolev was a fervent fighter for holy and true orthodoxy and a great enemy of the movement of Ecumenism movement (a movement aiming to unite all Orthodox and then all Churches under the government of a protestant like body called World Council of Churches).
All his life just like Jesus Christ, st. Seraphim Sobolev has lived without possessing on own house. He paid for his one room apartment from his small money priest sallary which at that time was hardly enough to pay his rent and for some food. He lived all his life renting an apartment with his own money, (something which was absolutely unthinkable), for a bishop of all Russian eparchies of Bulgaria at that times.
Even during lifetime, he helped and turned a lot of people from the sinful ways leading to death, had a lot of spiritual children after him, he established a small nun monastery Kniajevo nearby Sofia.
He also was one a fervent fighter against the cult of Dynovism (Danovism), started by anti-christian posing christian, Peter Dynov.
St. Seraphim Sobolev was a fervent defender of Orthodoxy, freely showing up the delusions of Roman-Catholicism, Protestantism, Pentecostals, Baptism, Adventism and was strongly against the popular at that time united prayers between Orthodox and non-orthodox christian teachings. He is also an author of Theological literature who in details makes a comparison between Anglican Protestant Christianity and the Eastern Orthodoxy.
St Seraphim, denounced on a multiple occasions, the movement of ecumenism as being anti-christian and not in the spirit of the one Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, thus all his life and all his spiritual children were strongly trying to hold the Church teachings, was supporters of the celebration of Church feasts under the Julian calender, and was against the untroduction of the Gregorian Calendar – so called new Style calender in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
It has to be said that it is a bit of paradox that the canonization of st. Seraphim Sobolev was made by the Russian Church, as the Russian Orthodox Church, along with Romanian and Serbian and many other Orthodox Churches continues to be an active member in the Ecumenical Movement. Because of St. Seraphim Sobolev even to these days, there are a lot of Christians who continue to follow the old Julian Calendar feasts style, the so cold Old Calendarists.
The most notable work of st. Seraphim Sobolev in my humble opinion is the creation of Acathist of the Greatest Bulgarian Saint, Saint John of Rila.
Perhaps as a fervent fighter to keep the true teaching of the Holy Orthodox Church and his incessant labor for the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, God give him a blessed departure from earthly life to the saviour of mankind the Lord Jesus Christ on the Church feast day of Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
For the 66 years since his passing to Christ, each day on the grave of st. Seraphim Sobolev has been served a special service for co-memoration of the deceased and for forgiveness of his sins called in orthodox terminology Panihida, and the remembemrance of all the brothers and sisters in Christ who has departed from life.
There is plenty of things online already online about St. Seraphim Sobolev, one good link with a bit of short biography worthy to check is here. For those who live in Bulgaria and want to get a book on his living
The grave of Saint Seraphim Sobolev is situated in a small chapel (crypt) located in the center of Sofia, Bulgaria, Russian Orthodox Church, St. Nicolas. Even to this day people go daily on a big queues to ask the saint for help in hardships in life.
The accepted way that people turn for prayer intercession is by writting their beseeches, needs, problems on a piece of paper and then dropping the small letter in a box called (Iashtik) Russian.
I myself have been there and prayed and a lot of the things, I've asked the saint for my personal life and well being already come true. I know also of other people who by the prayers of the saint has been saved from a impossible to escape situations and a lot of people received spiritual confort and peace as well as spiritual healing when turning to the saint.
Saint Seraphim Sobolev, pray the Lord Jesus Christ for us the sinful Bulgarians and all the suffering people around the world, for the refugees, for the sick for the hungry for the homeless and for all nations that we turn to repentance and come back to the way of salvation you Lord Jesus has shown to the nations.