Testimony about Father Seraphim Rose

An insight into how the heart of Father Seraphim Rose softened and opened towards the love of God is revealed in the writings of his spiritual daughter, Solomonia. Shortly after his repose, she wrote:

“One of the most precious recollections I hold of Father Seraphim dates back to the Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday, marking the beginning of Great Lent. This memory holds a special significance for me because I witnessed him standing, his soul fully immersed in the presence of God. How can one truly express the depth of longing and sorrow in the heart, yearning for the divine? In those moments, we do not see each other; only God knows. However, during the Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday, our hearts collectively intoned the prokeimenon: Do not turn your face away from your servant, for I am in distress. Answer me quickly. Attend to my soul and deliver it (Psalm 68:20-21).

If it were possible, I would have desired not to simply write down this verse, but to convey through its reading the way it is sung, like a profoundly heartfelt plea to God. The memory remains vivid, as if it happened just yesterday: Father Seraphim standing behind the Altar, and as the unfamiliar melody filled the air, only his voice could be heard, filled with tenderness and a humble sense of heartache. His voice was not merely a display of emotion, but something much deeper—a tender sentiment that left one astonished. Then, he quietly reached up to his face, and I wondered: Was he praying to God for his own soul? Did he wipe away a tear from his cheek unnoticed by others?

And I, along with many others, relied on Father Seraphim in many respects, from small everyday matters to more significant spiritual struggles, and he always supported us with love, without ever thinking of himself, to the point that I never stopped to consider the depth of his soul’s longing for God. Year after year, whenever he served the Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday, I eagerly awaited the precious sound of his voice uttering this prayer, and every time, I saw him subtly raising his hand to wipe away the tears from his cheek, almost unnoticed.”

Excerpt from “The Life and Works of Father Seraphim Rose” by Hieromonk Damascene, Sophia Publishing House.

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