Today is the feast day of my patron saint, Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833). There is much that could be said about this starets: he was a contemporary of the Enlightenment, the birth of modernity and of the consciousness of tradition.

As many have noted, he is an exemplar of the so-called “spirituality of light” in Orthodox Christian tradition.

Evoking the ancient “return to Paradise” motif in ascetic theology, one of St. Seraphim’s most famous icons is of him feeding a bear that had wandered out of the woods to his hermitage.

One of his most famous sayings is (I’m quoting from memory, the right book not easily locatable and I’m too lazy today to check the Internet): “Acquire inner peace, and thousands around you will be saved.”

I’ve always found that exhortation to hesychia a fruitful, active, challenging response to modernity.

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