NICHOLAS PAYS FOR PILGRIMAGE

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Czar Bears All Expense of Ceremonies at Tsarhoff.

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ST. PETERSBURG, July 30.– The ceremonies at the monastery at Tsarhoff promise to be interesting. The relics of St. Seraphim will be exposed for adoration after five days of religious exercise. These relics have been installed in a solid silver casket beneath a silver baldachin. The expense of the installation will be borne by the Emperor from the private purse, and Nicholas II testified his interest by writing the following original note on the act of canonization: "Read with feelings of genuine pleasure and deep emotion."

The monastery which is the scene of ceremonial is a women’s asylum, several miles from the village of Tsarhoff. The attendance includes the imperial family and court, with many officials and multitudes of pilgrims.

The holy synod has issued a statement that it regards the "appearance of a new miraculous intercessor as a renewal of heaven’s blessing upon the government of our most exalted monarch, who labors unceasingly for the welfare of the orthodox Russian people and embraces in his royal love and care all of his true subjects of every class and condition."

Most elaborate preparations have been made for the celebration. All of the pomp and magnificence of the Eastern church, with its most impressive and elaborate ceremonies, its imposing processions and its solemn liturgies, will be employed.

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The hermit Prokhor Moshnin died in 1833 at the advanced age. Belief in his sanctity and miraculous intercession with heaven seems to have been widespread during his life and to have grown steadily since his demise. An inquiry was begun in 1892 into the alleged miracles attributed to his relics and satisfied the holy synod of their verity. As a result an act of canonization under the name of St. Seraphim was issued on January 29, which date was added to the orthodox calendar.

An authorized biography says that St. Seraphim’s father was a pious merchant, who built stone and brick churches in South Russia. His widow continued the work, and it is related that her little son accompanied her on a tour of inspection and fell from a great height to the ground without being hurt. He boy entered the monastery of Tsarhoff when only 17 years old. There he distinguished himself in all religious exercises, even carrying a great granite rock into his cell in order that his knees might not rest easily during his long prayers. Later in life he spent fifteen years in silent meditations, during which time he did not leave his hermit’s cell except when absolutely necessary.

When he resumed intercourse with the world all classes of people flocked to him for advice, It is said that he answered questions before they were put and letters that he never unsealed; that he revealed the inmost secrets if the heart and foretold future events. Since his death many millions of pilgrims have visited his grave.

The San Francisco Call, Friday, July 31, 1903, p. 2:6

Reprinted in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol. 6, No.11, July 1999