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Author Topic: Father Seraphim Rose  (Read 16730 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 10, 2009, 02:19:32 AM »

Can anyone recommend the writings of Father Seraphim Rose? I am thinking about getting the book of His Life and Works. I don't know much about him, but this book seems very interesting. I am new to Orthodoxy, and I am also EOTC Non-Chalcedonian. Do you think that this man's writings would be helpful to me, or should I avoid him? Thank you for any insight you can give me.

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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 02:24:05 AM »

Although I personally have not read his books, I have heard nothing but good things about him. Some even venerate him as a saint.  angel
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2009, 02:27:57 AM »

I've dedicated the better part of the last few years to thinking and writing about Fr. Seraphim. Interesting character indeed. I would recommend the book you've mentioned, as well as God's Revelation to the Human Heart.
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2009, 02:28:25 AM »

Father Rose was EO.  I personally have benefitted greatly from the writings of many EO authors, so I wouldn't let his status as an EO turn you away from his writings.  Whether his writings are otherwise good or not, I personally can't tell you, as I have never read his works.  If you click on the tag below, there are other threads about him.
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2009, 02:29:30 AM »

Most of his literature strikes me as being alarmist/escapist, but what do you expect from a monk?   Grin

I really don't know if you'll like his material.  You will just have to try it out for yourself.

What a helpful post!
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2009, 09:59:58 AM »

People seem to either really like his work or really dislike it.  Most of the time I find myself in the latter camp.   I would not recommend his books.
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2009, 04:02:15 PM »

For me it'd have to be a case by case basis when it comes to his material. So, fwiw, here are the books written by him that I've read, and whether I'd recommend them or not...

God's Revelation to the Human Heart - Recommended
Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age - I'm neutral on this one
Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future - Not recommended
The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church - Recommended
The Soul After Death - Not Recommended

I'd also recommend the book you asked about, Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works. In addition there are two books edited by him that I'd recommend, Vita Patrum, by St. Gregory of Tours, and The Apocalypse of St. John: An Orthodox Commentary by Archbp. Averky.
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2009, 04:14:36 PM »

For me it'd have to be a case by case basis when it comes to his material. So, fwiw, here are the books written by him that I've read, and whether I'd recommend them or not...

God's Revelation to the Human Heart - Recommended
Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age - I'm neutral on this one
Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future - Not recommended
The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church - Recommended
The Soul After Death - Not Recommended

I'd also recommend the book you asked about, Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works. In addition there are two books edited by him that I'd recommend, Vita Patrum, by St. Gregory of Tours, and The Apocalypse of St. John: An Orthodox Commentary by Archbp. Averky.

I'd give the exact same recommendations.  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2009, 04:38:10 PM »

For me it'd have to be a case by case basis when it comes to his material. So, fwiw, here are the books written by him that I've read, and whether I'd recommend them or not...

God's Revelation to the Human Heart - Recommended
Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age - I'm neutral on this one
Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future - Not recommended
The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church - Recommended
The Soul After Death - Not Recommended

I'd also recommend the book you asked about, Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works. In addition there are two books edited by him that I'd recommend, Vita Patrum, by St. Gregory of Tours, and The Apocalypse of St. John: An Orthodox Commentary by Archbp. Averky.
Can you share you reasons for recommending and not recommending his works? I have been interested in this saintly man and his works and plan to starting reading his books. BTW, what is God's Revelation to the Human Heart about?
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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2009, 12:23:33 AM »

^ Even though I wasn't asked to reply:

You can listen to Fr. Seraphim give the lecture, God's Revelation to the Human Heart here: http://strannik.com/phronema/node/249

From an Amazon review: What does man seek in religion and what should he seek in it? How does God reveal Himself in order to bring man to a knowledge of the Truth? How does suffering help this revelation to occur? Fr. Seraphim Rose addressed these and other issues during a lecture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1981. GOD'S REVELATION TO THE HUMAN HEART is a transcription of that lecture, and the question-and-answer session between Fr. Seraphim and the university students.

Drawing upon a wealth of resources--the Holy Scriptures, patristic writings, the Lives of ancient and modern saints, and accounts of persecuted Christians in today's world--Fr. Seraphim leads the audience to the core of all Christian life: the conversion of the heart of man, which begins to burn with love for Christ and transforms him into a new man.

I would shy away from Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future because it seems incredibly dated. Fr. Seraphim takes on Hare Krishnas, the UFO phenomenon, the New Age, and other manifestations of Eastern belief and practice. He also discusses what seems to him an unavoidable merger of all religions to prepare the way for Antichrist.  His treatment of these other faiths and practices is cursory, and he doesn't supply all that much reason why one shouldn't believe in them other than the fact that they're not Orthodoxy.

Fr. Seraphim's disciple, Fr. Damascene (who, incidentally, discovered Orthodoxy while attending the lecture mentioned above!) wrote something of an updated and condensed version of Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future. It can be read in its entirety here. http://www.apostle1.com/New-World-Ecumenism-One-world-church.htm


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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2009, 01:09:36 AM »

I would recommend "His Life and Works", "God's Revelation to the Human Heart", as well as "Nihilism- the Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age" which is available online here:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html#
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2009, 02:01:21 AM »

Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future because it seems incredibly dated. Fr. Seraphim takes on Hare Krishnas, the UFO phenomenon, the New Age, and other manifestations of Eastern belief and practice. He also discusses what seems to him an unavoidable merger of all religions to prepare the way for Antichrist.

That's why it's interesting...
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2009, 03:26:45 AM »

Quote
Can you share you reasons for recommending and not recommending his works?

I'm glad that Bogoliubtsy already gave his thoughts, because honestly I have little other than general impressions of the books at this point. It's been about 6-8 years since I read the books in question, and I sold all the books when I became an atheist a few years back, so I mostly just remember generalities and not particulars. But fwiw, here are some thoughts...

God's Revelation to the Human Heart - Recommended - As far as I remember, the book is about how God reaches us, and uses suffering in a positive way. I don't recall much other than that, other than I had a generally favorable impression of this little book.

Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age - I'm neutral on this one - This is the one I remember least about, probably because I remember finding it very dull reading. While I seem to remember discussions of various philosophies, I don't even remember the main point of the book, thus the reason that I said I was neutral on it.

Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future - Not recommended - IMO this book focuses way too much on things that are of little importance, like the charismatic movement. I can understand Fr. Seraphim wanting to combat ecumenism, but I think he fired his missiles at mostly the wrong targets. It's also my general impression that much of what Fr. Seraphim feared has not come to pass in the 30 years or so since the book was first published. I think that if he were alive today, even he would advise using caution when reading the original text.

The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church - Recommended - Though not exactly scholarly, I remember this being a nice, short, heart-felt defense of St. Augustine, which is something that's needed since there have been some attacks on Augustine put forward by Orthodox sources.

The Soul After Death - Not Recommended - I don't accept the toll houses doctrine, even metaphorically, and I think the doctrine causes too much confusion and, to some extent, division. As with Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, I just think there's a good bit of undue speculation here, much of which is unnecessary or wrong.

Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works - Recommended - I only read the first version, before the (apparently needed) revision/editing took place. Still, even based on the first edition, I'd recommend getting this book. It was an engaging read (it'd have to be, as long as it is!), and I think it truly painted a detailed, accurate picture of a man who struggled with modernity and the great questions of life.

Vita Patrum, by St. Gregory of Tours - Recommended - I don't recall much of this book, other than Fr. Seraphim rose lamented the state of Orthodox seminaries in the introduction. I do remember the actual text being spiritually beneficial at the time, though.

The Apocalypse of St. John: An Orthodox Commentary by Archbp. Averky - Recommended - The only Orthodox commentary on the Scripture that I've read, though I thought it was a good one. It didn't answer all my questions or suddenly make everything click for me, but I do remember coming away from the book having felt like I understood Revelation a bit better. That, and it's probably a good book for reference if you ever have a question about a passage. There are also numerous quotes from Church Fathers in it.
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2009, 01:54:15 PM »

I am currently reading Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.  It IS dated, but the movements he's describing (UFO's, Hare Krishnas, etc) could be replaced by more modern idols (insert New Age or any -ism).  His gist is that you have to "test the spirits", which is indeed what we're supposed to do as Orthodox.  Just because you experience something out of the ordinary doesn't mean it's from God.  Spiritual delusion or pride, prelest, can be avoided by referring all thoughts and experiences to God in prayer.

I have not read his work The Soul after Death because frankly I'm afraid to.  Not sure the idea of toll houses are appropriate reading for new Orthodox Christians who haven't been weaned off milk yet.  Also, as far as I know, the concept is a theologoumenon (theological opinion), not doctrine.
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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2009, 02:32:14 PM »

One of the most difficult texts of Fr Seraphim is Genesis,Creation and Early Man

He makes a case for Creationism, using mainly protestant sources. His arguement seemed to hang on the fact that the Fathers believed in the inerrancy of Genesis. He (Fr S) implies that St George fought a dinosaur.

Whilst feeling that the Darwinian orthodoxy needs debunking and soon I'm not sure that Fr Seraphim's approach is one I can support.

Yes, The Religion of the Futureis dated and not really worth reading (its also badly edited)

Yes, Fr Seraphim is popular in Russia and is a saint I think
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2009, 02:33:42 PM »

Sorry, I'm too old for this new fangled stuff! I didn't mean to have it all in italics (or nearly all)
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2009, 04:25:09 PM »

I'm about 250 pages into Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works. I have really enjoyed it thus far. I like his analysis of Dostoevsky and The Brothers Karamozov. I read that book about ten years ago, and Father Seraphim Rose's insights were similar to the thoughts I had while reading it. (Not that I'm comparing my intellect to his!)

I'll give more opinions about His Life and Works later on as get deeper into it. But it is an enjoyable read so far. Certainly ample food for thought!

Selam
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2009, 08:04:29 PM »

I will not recommend his books at all.
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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2009, 08:27:37 PM »

A couple of years ago I spent some very hard earned money on a copy of "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future" and was less than enchanted with what I read therein. Very disappointing.
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2009, 08:42:19 PM »

I will not recommend his books at all.

Fr. Seraphim is a controversial figure. Many think he is a Saint and many strongly dislike his idea's. I personally have gotten a lot from his teachings and reading his biography has made a positive impact on my life.

Be warned that the newest additions have been cleaned up a bit with criticisms of various Bishops deleted. I found this out and purchased an older addition that minced no words.

Fr. Seraphim represents one of two major tendencies in modern American Orthodoxy. The other has Fr. Alexander Schmemenn at it's head.

Fr. Seraphim led a renewal in Orthodoxy Monasticism, re establishing it as our example of piety and practice. Fr. Schmemenn wanted to Americanize Orthodoxy and explicitly rejected the monastic way as the bell weather for the rest of us.

Both men had some good points and some bad. Fr. Schmemenn certainly deserves credit for helping to reestablish regular communion but once he was asked by a young man if he should become a monk and replied "No, go get a job"

Fr. Seraphim represents the Traditional wing of Orthodoxy and Fr. Schmemenn the more Modernist. They fought like cats and dogs . However I heard that after Fr. Seraphim's repose each side apologized and there was a rapprochement.  

Father Seraphim pray for us sinners.
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« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2009, 09:03:23 PM »

Both men had some good points and some bad. Fr. Schmemenn certainly deserves credit for helping to reestablish regular communion but once he was asked by a young man if he should become a monk and replied "No, go get a job"

I don't remember that being the full story.  He said he should get a menial job for x number of years, accept no promotions, not get angry at work, keep a prayer rule and attend liturgical services - and only then consider monasticism.  I remember that from somewhere, but alas I don't remember exactly.  That's quite a bit different than a categorical refusal. 

I'm not a big fan of many of Fr. Seraphim Rose's writings, but I did enjoy his biography.  Ironically he did do the above (work a menial job type of thing) for quite some time before becoming a monastic.  He also warned against zeal not according to knowledge.  He also had a programme of classical music and literature that he had novices go through to soften the soul in order to prepare them for Orthodox spiritual work.  I remember that books about the local indigenous peoples were also on his required reading list for novices.  Had Fr. Schmemenn had a similar ideas, I can already hear the thunder of anathemas from traditionalists. 
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2009, 01:10:46 PM »

Both men had some good points and some bad. Fr. Schmemenn certainly deserves credit for helping to reestablish regular communion but once he was asked by a young man if he should become a monk and replied "No, go get a job"

I don't remember that being the full story.  He said he should get a menial job for x number of years, accept no promotions, not get angry at work, keep a prayer rule and attend liturgical services - and only then consider monasticism.  I remember that from somewhere, but alas I don't remember exactly.  That's quite a bit different than a categorical refusal. 

I'm not a big fan of many of Fr. Seraphim Rose's writings, but I did enjoy his biography.  Ironically he did do the above (work a menial job type of thing) for quite some time before becoming a monastic.  He also warned against zeal not according to knowledge.  He also had a programme of classical music and literature that he had novices go through to soften the soul in order to prepare them for Orthodox spiritual work.  I remember that books about the local indigenous peoples were also on his required reading list for novices.  Had Fr. Schmemenn had a similar ideas, I can already hear the thunder of anathemas from traditionalists. 

Someone sent me the quote by Fr. Schmemenn some time ago. I'll see if I still have it but as I recall it was a pretty straight foward anti-monastic statement.
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2009, 01:45:38 PM »

I also enjoyed the biography but beyond that... I would not recommend his writings, particularly the Soul after Death.
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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2009, 02:06:32 PM »

I liked the Soul After Death because it talked about Astral travel and I could relate to it from playing AD&D.   Grin
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« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2009, 09:59:34 AM »

Fr. Schmemenn certainly deserves credit for helping to reestablish regular communion but once he was asked by a young man if he should become a monk and replied "No, go get a job"

This may be interesting.... from Fr Schmemann's journal....



"More and more often it seems to me that revising the monasticism that everybody so ecstatically talks about–or at least trying to revive it–can be done only by liquidating first of all the monastic institution itself, i.e. the whole vaudeville of klobuks, cowls, stylization, etc. If I were a staretz–an elder–I would tell a candidate for monasticism roughly the following:

–get a job, if possible the simplest one, without creativity (for example as a cashier in a bank);

–while working, pray and seek inner peace; do no get angry; do not think of yourself (rights, fairness, etc.). Accept everyone (coworkers, clients) as someone sent to you; pray for them;

–after paying for a modest apartment and groceries, give your money to the poor; to individuals rather than foundations;

–always go to the same church and there try to be a real helper, not by lecturing about spiritual life or icons, not by teaching but with a “dust rag” (cf. St Seraphim of Sarov). Keep at that kind of service and be–in church matters–totally obedient to the parish priest.

–do not thrust yourself and your service on anyone; do not be sad that your talents are not being used; be helpful; serve where needed and not where you think you are needed;

–read and learn as much as you can; do not read only monastic literature, but broadly (this point needs more precise definition);

–if friends and acquaintances invite you because they are close to you–go; but not too often, and within reason. Never stay more than one and a half or two hours. After that the friendliest atmosphere becomes harmful;

–dress like everybody else, but modestly, and without visible signs of a special spiritual life;

–be always simple, light, joyous. Do not teach. Avoid like the plague any “spiritual” conversations and any religious or churchly idle talk. If you act that way, everything will be to your benefit;

–do not seek a spiritual elder or guide. If he is needed, God will send him, and will send him when needed;

–having worked and served this way for ten years–no less–ask God whether you should continue to live this way, or whether change is needed. And wait for an answer: it will come; the signs will be “joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.”"

Entry for Tuesday, January 20, 1981 in his Journals

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« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2009, 12:25:39 PM »

This reminds me of the interview with Met. Jonah about who is a good candidate for monasticism; I think it's still a podcast at AFR.
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« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2009, 04:07:07 PM »

Fr. Schmemenn certainly deserves credit for helping to reestablish regular communion but once he was asked by a young man if he should become a monk and replied "No, go get a job"

This may be interesting.... from Fr Schmemann's journal....



"More and more often it seems to me that revising the monasticism that everybody so ecstatically talks about–or at least trying to revive it–can be done only by liquidating first of all the monastic institution itself, i.e. the whole vaudeville of klobuks, cowls, stylization, etc. If I were a staretz–an elder–I would tell a candidate for monasticism roughly the following:

–get a job, if possible the simplest one, without creativity (for example as a cashier in a bank);

–while working, pray and seek inner peace; do no get angry; do not think of yourself (rights, fairness, etc.). Accept everyone (coworkers, clients) as someone sent to you; pray for them;

–after paying for a modest apartment and groceries, give your money to the poor; to individuals rather than foundations;

–always go to the same church and there try to be a real helper, not by lecturing about spiritual life or icons, not by teaching but with a “dust rag” (cf. St Seraphim of Sarov). Keep at that kind of service and be–in church matters–totally obedient to the parish priest.

–do not thrust yourself and your service on anyone; do not be sad that your talents are not being used; be helpful; serve where needed and not where you think you are needed;

–read and learn as much as you can; do not read only monastic literature, but broadly (this point needs more precise definition);

–if friends and acquaintances invite you because they are close to you–go; but not too often, and within reason. Never stay more than one and a half or two hours. After that the friendliest atmosphere becomes harmful;

–dress like everybody else, but modestly, and without visible signs of a special spiritual life;

–be always simple, light, joyous. Do not teach. Avoid like the plague any “spiritual” conversations and any religious or churchly idle talk. If you act that way, everything will be to your benefit;

–do not seek a spiritual elder or guide. If he is needed, God will send him, and will send him when needed;

–having worked and served this way for ten years–no less–ask God whether you should continue to live this way, or whether change is needed. And wait for an answer: it will come; the signs will be “joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.”"

Entry for Tuesday, January 20, 1981 in his Journals



Yes, that is the statement we have be referring to. While the advice concerning lay life is very very good it certainly should not substitue for the Monastic life which in the more traditional paradigm is our example of piety, not a vaudevillian comedy of oddness.

I have a passing acquaintance with part of Fr. Schmemenn's family. I recall a conversation I had with his granddaughter about Priests wearing long beards. The up shot of it was it was totally against all of her sensibilities, she turned up her nose like she smelled some bad oder. That is not to disparage her as she and her family are devoted and fine people, but the notions of piety by folks who follow Fr. Schmemenn and those who look to Fr. Rose is markedly different.
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« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2009, 06:15:21 PM »

I've read the original Not of This World, all 1,000-plus pages, a good condensed version of everything he wrote, as well as Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future and The Soul After Death. He had a lot of good things to say but G.K. Chesterton made many of the same points 50 years before and was a lot shorter and funnier.

Good points I got from reading him:

• O/orthodoxy/C/catholicism does not necessarily mean worshipping the 1950s so give it another chance. Thinking traditionalists like him know that modern problems had already taken root by then and were even the proximate cause of the late 1960s-upheaval.
• The hippies had a point reacting against the cold liberalism of the preceding era ('things are getting better all the time' the 1950s thought... well, not really; there was the fall, you know). But because they were just as rootless as their parents they caused a lot of destruction/harm and created new problems.
• That heaven, hell and the intermediate state are states of being that can occupy the same space as our earth and space but are in different dimensions so we can't usually see them.
• Don't try to have out-of-body experiences; the astral plane is real and not a playground... some not nice kids (demons) hang out there.
• Having the particular judgement (which goes on in that plane according to Russian folklore) described to me.
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« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2009, 06:55:02 PM »

First, I want to make known some history:


The first day I ever stepped foot in an Orthodox parish (which later became the parish in which my wife and I were Catechized, Baptized, Chrismated, and Married) the priest in the bookstore asked us how we had first known about the Orthodox Christian Church.  When I told him I had recently finished reading a book called Christ the Eternal Tao by Hieromonk Damascene, the priest replied:

“Ah, yes, Father Damascene… I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago.”

My jaw literally dropped, because until this point in time Fr Damascene had been my one and only exposure to Orthodoxy. I had never personally encountered an Orthodox person/parish, and Fr Damascene was the only Orthodox author of whose works I had ever read. 

The only reason I knew about the location of the parish was because, after finishing Christ the Eternal Tao, I decided to see if there was an “Orthodox” section in the phone book under the religion genre of “Christian.”  Glory to God there was, and it was here in this parish that I stepped into the Orthodox world for the first time in my life… and within seconds I encountered someone who had personally just finished speaking with the very man whose words had brought me into the doors of the Church!

The priest continued:

“Yes, Father Damascene will be coming here in a couple weeks to present a discussion about ‘Orthodoxy and the Modern World: Both in Contemporary Times and Those Which are Soon to Come.’”

I attended this lecture, and afterwards was able to meet with Fr Damascene and spend some considerable time in private discussion.  During this conversation Fr Damascene explained that he was from the monastery of Platina, which was founded by Fr Seraphim Rose... who (as Fr Damascene humbly emphasized) was actually the main author of Christ the Eternal Tao

It was then that I first learned about Fr Seraphim Rose… that he was actually the man whose labors had brought me to Orthodoxy.  Ever since that day, my wife and I knew that we had wholly and truly found our Home in the Orthodox Church of Jesus Christ.



Our home parish here in Oregon is only a few hours away from the monastery of Platina in northern California.  The history of our parish is very much intertwined with the history of the monastery:

Several members of our parish (including my wife’s Godfather) personally knew Fr Seraphim Rose.  We even have elderly Russians who labored long ago with St John Maximovitch (our parish’s patron saint… who was a major direct spiritual influence on Fr Seraphim Rose) in his orphanage in the slums of Shanghai, China where he saved the lives of countless children.

As I mentioned earlier: upon my initial arrival at an Orthodox parish, it was very mind-blowing to realize the priest whom I first met had very recently communicated with Fr Damascene in Platina, but I soon realized the reason for this:

Ever since my parish was founded years ago, there has been constant interaction/communion between our parish and the monastery.  Platina is the most common destination of our parishioners on pilgrimage.  And, likewise, our parish is one of the most common destinations for Platina monks/Hieromonks to visit.  Last Pascha we had a Brazilian priest from Platina come to serve with our priest.  The abbot of Platina monastery (Abbot Gerasim) spent last year’s Theophany with us, and also is the Godfather of some children in our parish.  Fr Damascene continues to visit our parish at least once a year. 

A few years ago, I was working in our parish bookstore when a woman came in to look at our icons.  We had been talking for about 10-15 minutes when she noticed a picture of Fr Seraphim Rose on the wall.  She immediately lit up with joy and began to tell me how much this man meant to her.  She related this story (which had taken place years after the repose of Fr Seraphim):

She and several friends were out in the wilderness, when suddenly they all were abducted by “aliens” (demons).  She cried out to God to save them, and suddenly there was a man present there with them whose face “radiated unearthly peace which sent the aliens fleeing with screams of fear.”  The abduction was over and they were back in the wilderness.  Within days she (for the first time in her life) “randomly” visited an Orthodox parish and saw a photograph of the very man who had saved this woman and her friends from demonic attack.  That day she learned this man’s name: “Father Seraphim Rose.”

These are but a few of numerous examples of the great intimacy between my home parish and the monastery of Platina.  To me, Fr Seraphim Rose is not just some random author, he is a spiritual father and guide whose direct, tangible influence still continues to this very day to extend grace into the lives of countless people, including everyone in my parish.
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« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2009, 06:56:32 PM »

Can anyone recommend the writings of Father Seraphim Rose? I am thinking about getting the book of His Life and Works. I don't know much about him, but this book seems very interesting. I am new to Orthodoxy, and I am also EOTC Non-Chalcedonian. Do you think that this man's writings would be helpful to me, or should I avoid him? Thank you for any insight you can give me.

Selam


Although it is not commonly known, Christ the Eternal Tao is actually a major literary work by Fr Seraphim Rose.  He spent many years laboring on this endeavor, but reposed before the work was totally finished.  Later on the book was completed and published by his main disciple, Fr Damascene.  This book is what brought me home to the Orthodox Church of Jesus Christ, which I had spent my entire life searching for… first in western “Christian” denominations, and later even in non-Christian religions.  Similarly, Father Seraphim Rose experienced his own great struggles as he searched for Truth/Orthodoxy (just as myself) first in western “Christianity” and later in non-Christian religions (especially Chinese religion)… and these struggles are what fueled his motive/ability to write such literary works as Christ the Eternal Tao… which brought a lost, wretched sinner like myself into the True Light of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2009, 06:57:14 PM »

Most of his literature strikes me as being alarmist/escapist...


Does not the current state of the world alarm you to a level beyond words?
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« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2009, 06:59:01 PM »

...here are the books written by him that I've read, and whether I'd recommend them or not...
It's been about 6-8 years since I read the books in question, and I sold all the books when I became an atheist a few years back
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Please forgive me if I am mistaken, but this statement is worded in such a way as to imply that you are still an atheist.  If this is indeed the case, I personally fail to see the relevance your opinion on any spiritual subject in general, especially in regards to Orthodoxy.  Your familiarity, both chronologically and spiritually, with such works leaves much to be desired.
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« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2009, 06:59:49 PM »

I have been interested in this saintly man and his works and plan to starting reading his books.


Wonderful news! 
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« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2009, 07:05:51 PM »

I would shy away from Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future because it seems incredibly dated. Fr. Seraphim takes on Hare Krishnas, the UFO phenomenon, the New Age, and other manifestations of Eastern belief and practice. He also discusses what seems to him an unavoidable merger of all religions to prepare the way for Antichrist.  His treatment of these other faiths and practices is cursory, and he doesn't supply all that much reason why one shouldn't believe in them other than the fact that they're not Orthodoxy.

A couple of years ago I spent some very hard earned money on a copy of "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future" and was less than enchanted with what I read therein. Very disappointing.

I am currently reading Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.  It IS dated, but the movements he's describing (UFO's, Hare Krishnas, etc) could be replaced by more modern idols (insert New Age or any -ism).  His gist is that you have to "test the spirits", which is indeed what we're supposed to do as Orthodox.  Just because you experience something out of the ordinary doesn't mean it's from God.  Spiritual delusion or pride, prelest, can be avoided by referring all thoughts and experiences to God in prayer.

I have not read his work The Soul after Death because frankly I'm afraid to.  Not sure the idea of toll houses are appropriate reading for new Orthodox Christians who haven't been weaned off milk yet.  Also, as far as I know, the concept is a theologoumenon (theological opinion), not doctrine.



[From the Preface of Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future
bold type added for emphasis]:

Quote
Of the forty books which the St. Herman Brotherhood published during Fr. Seraphim Rose’s lifetime, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future was the most popular.  At the time of this writing, it is in its [eighth] English printing. 

In Russia the impact of the book has been far greater than it has in America—even with the book not having been published in Russian!  During his lifetime Fr. Seraphim learned that the book had been translated into Russian behind the Iron Curtain, but he was never to know the astounding results.  After his death it became known that the Russian translation (or a number of translations) had been secretly distributed among believers all over Russia in the form of countless type-written manuscripts.  The lives of untold thousands were changed as this book awakened them to the spiritual dangers of their times.  The book is particularly relevant to Russia today, where a society deprived by seventy years of enforced materialism is falling prey to the growing influence of fraudulent spiritual trends.

With the “opening up” of Eastern European countries, portions of the widely-known “underground” manuscript of Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future were published in newspapers inside Russia.  The chapters on “The Fakir’s Miracle and the Prayer of Jesus” and on the UFO phenomenon appeared, introduced by biographical information on Fr. Seraphim.  In both cases the articles were deliberately published to fulfill a specific need, since Eastern religions and UFO experiences have attracted tremendous interest in Russia.  As the newspaper publishers stated, Fr. Seraphim’s explanation of these phenomena has proven more plausible than any other theory.  One believer in Russia has said: “Fr. Seraphim’s books demonstrate that these seemingly ‘inexplicable’ phenomena can be explained according to the stable, secure, precise theory of Orthodox Patristic doctrine.”

Finally in 1991, the entire book was published in mass quantities inside Russia.  Since then, several Russian editions have been printed and millions of copies have been distributed.  Along with Fr. Seraphim’s The Soul After Death, this book is one of the most widely read spiritual books in Russia today.  It is sold not only in bookstores and churches throughout the country, but even in the subway (metro) and on booktables in the streets.


Although Fr. Seraphim was generally understated in his deliberate avoidance of sensationalism, some readers may find the conclusions he draws in the book to be unnecessarily harsh and sever.  In this, as in all his published writings, he was not one to soften his punches.  Since betrayals of Christian truth—from the blatant to the highly subtle—were going on everywhere, he felt he could not afford to put on kid gloves; he had to be uncompromising in print.

Despite his severity when it came to writing about demonic deceptions which could lead the well-meaning to eternal perdition, Fr. Seraphim was loving and compassionate when it came to his pastoral approach to individual people.  This personal, one-on-one care for people can be seen in his letters, journals and counsels which are cited in his biography, Not of This World.  The present book, on the other hand, is an unequivocal statement, written for the world at large with a specific purpose in mind.
  Because Fr. Seraphim adhered to this purpose without sidestepping in the least, his book has over the years succeeded in jarring countless people out of complacency, making them take spiritual life more seriously, and giving them a firm push on the right path.  It has challenged them with the reality that there is indeed a spiritual war going on, a battle for souls, and that they must walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15) so as not to lose the grace of God which leads them heavenward.

May God continue to use this book to enlighten those wandering in darkness, and to remind those walking in the light how straight and narrow is the path they are to tread—the path to eternal life.


Fr. Damascene
St. Herman of Alaska Monastery
Platina, California
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« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2009, 07:17:10 PM »

Quote
Please forgive me if I am mistaken, but this statement is worded in such a way as to imply that you are still an atheist.  If this is indeed the case, I personally fail to see the relevance your opinion on any spiritual subject in general, especially in regards to Orthodoxy.  Your familiarity, both chronologically and spiritually, with such works leaves much to be desired

I returned to Orthodoxy last year, after being an agnostic/atheist for about 2 1/2 years. However, at this point, I'm really struggling as to what to think about Orthodoxy.  I still have many issues to sort through, though I'm doing that mostly apart from this site so as not to seem like I'm attacking Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2009, 08:03:50 PM »

 Just last week, I re-discovered an issue of The Orthodox Word that was almost entirely dedicated to the memory of Fr. Seraphim Rose and I was so overjoyed.  Over a few years, I've come to love Fr. Seraphim and regularly beseech him to intercede and pray for me.
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« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2009, 09:09:07 PM »


I returned to Orthodoxy last year, after being an agnostic/atheist for about 2 1/2 years. However, at this point, I'm really struggling as to what to think about Orthodoxy.  I still have many issues to sort through, though I'm doing that mostly apart from this site so as not to seem like I'm attacking Orthodoxy.

Asteriktos:
My prayers are with you during this time. The Lord is near to those who seek Him, and I trust that He will reward and honor your desire to know Him in truth. You are obviously a very learned and intelligent person, and I believe that God will use you and your gifted mind to serve Him greatly in the future.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and lean not on your own understanding."

Thank you for your honesty and candor. May God bless you my friend.

Selam
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« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2009, 09:56:11 PM »


She and several friends were out in the wilderness, when suddenly they all were abducted by “aliens” (demons).  She cried out to God to save them, and suddenly there was a man present there with them whose face “radiated unearthly peace which sent the aliens fleeing with screams of fear.”  The abduction was over and they were back in the wilderness. 


Well... we each must arrive at a place in which we find our comfort level in terms of belief. I find the above account quite literally unbelievable and that is one of the reasons (among many) that I do not recommend Seraphim Rose's writings. I did, however, find the biography to be an interesting (but certainly not compelling) read.
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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2009, 12:32:11 PM »


I returned to Orthodoxy last year, after being an agnostic/atheist for about 2 1/2 years. However, at this point, I'm really struggling as to what to think about Orthodoxy.  I still have many issues to sort through, though I'm doing that mostly apart from this site so as not to seem like I'm attacking Orthodoxy.

Asteriktos:
My prayers are with you during this time. The Lord is near to those who seek Him, and I trust that He will reward and honor your desire to know Him in truth. You are obviously a very learned and intelligent person, and I believe that God will use you and your gifted mind to serve Him greatly in the future.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and lean not on your own understanding."

Thank you for your honesty and candor. May God bless you my friend.

Selam

Selam,
This is an excellent statement.

Asteriktos,
May God help you.
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2009, 10:27:28 PM »

I've not read much by him, but I have read parts of Religion of the Future.  If I recall correctly, there were a few things that people who are brand spanking new to Orthodoxy might have trouble with.  I was raised Pentecostal, and my first reaction was to be quite offended by what he had to say.  As time goes on, and I've had more time to reflect (not that I'm not still new to Orthodoxy), I find myself agreeing with him more on certain topics.  He took a hard line stance and that can turn people off; though it doesn't make a lot of what he had to say untrue.  My ten cents, FWIW.
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« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2009, 01:57:48 AM »

Fr. Schmemenn certainly deserves credit for helping to reestablish regular communion but once he was asked by a young man if he should become a monk and replied "No, go get a job"

This may be interesting.... from Fr Schmemann's journal....


I think Met. Jonah addresses this in the issue of Divine Ascent dedicated to Fr. Schmemann's memory (2005).  In his editorial, he points out that a) monasticism in America in Fr. S's days was not even in the nascent form it is in today--it was virtually non-existent with only a couple exceptions; and b) his experience of monasticism was colored by Old World experience which in many cases did need reformation.  One can detect the same distaste for a monasticism of form and not substance in the writings of the nun, St. Maria Skobtsova, also living in Paris and a generation older than Fr. S. 
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« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2009, 02:25:07 AM »

Give me Elder Arsenie Papacioc.
Father Seraphim Rose was a good man who loved our Lord.
But give me Elder Arsenie Papacioc any day of the week.
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« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2009, 07:08:43 AM »

Give me Elder Arsenie Papacioc.
Father Seraphim Rose was a good man who loved our Lord.
But give me Elder Arsenie Papacioc any day of the week.

Hello! I wasn't aware his works were translated into English.
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« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2009, 07:18:19 PM »

Fr. Schmemenn certainly deserves credit for helping to reestablish regular communion but once he was asked by a young man if he should become a monk and replied "No, go get a job"

This may be interesting.... from Fr Schmemann's journal....


I think Met. Jonah addresses this in the issue of Divine Ascent dedicated to Fr. Schmemann's memory (2005).  In his editorial, he points out that a) monasticism in America in Fr. S's days was not even in the nascent form it is in today--it was virtually non-existent with only a couple exceptions; and b) his experience of monasticism was colored by Old World experience which in many cases did need reformation.  One can detect the same distaste for a monasticism of form and not substance in the writings of the nun, St. Maria Skobtsova, also living in Paris and a generation older than Fr. S. 

No doubt this error is understandable, but an error never the less. Fr. Seraphim was surely not much younger than Fr. Alexander but was fundamental in setting a new standard in American Monasticism. Fr. Alexander resisted Fr. Seraphim's work tooth and nail.

Let's remember that St. John Maximovitch was Fr. Seraphim's confessor and guide, a monk of an even earlier generation. 
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« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2009, 08:24:14 PM »

Give me Elder Arsenie Papacioc.
Father Seraphim Rose was a good man who loved our Lord.
But give me Elder Arsenie Papacioc any day of the week.

Do you speak Romanian or are his works translated into English?  If he has been translated into English, where did you find his writings?  Thanks in advance.
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