Articles and Books
“God is everywhere. There is no place God is not…You cry out to Him, ‘Where art Thou, my God?’ And He answers, “I am present, my child! I am always beside you.’ Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, ‘God!’
I shall not here devote myself to a general description of my personality, since it has no bearing on the matter to be presented, but try to describe myself to the reader only in terms of my relation to religion.
Having grown up in an Orthodox Christian and rather devout family, and thereafter having studied in a type of institution where faithlessness was not respected as a sign of student's genius, I did not turn out to be a vehement, arrant disbeliever, which the majority of the young people were in my time. In essence I turned out to be something very indefinite: I was not an atheist, and in no way could I regard myself as having been to any degree a religious man, and since both these mental states were not the result of my convictions, but came about, as it were, through being passively superimposed upon me by definite environmental forces, I shall ask the reader to find himself an appropriate classification for my personality with respect to this situation.
His Place in the Orthodox Church: A Corrective
"O Lord the One God, God the Trinity, whatever I have said in these books that is of Thine, may they acknowledge who are Thine; if anything of my own, may it be pardoned both by Thee and by those who are Thine."
—St. Augustine, On the Trinity
There is unfortunately within the Orthodox Church a minority of teachers who, in their zeal to guard the Faithful from some of the errors in St. Augustine's teachings, have gone to the extreme of maligning him and impious heresy-hunting. In their often legitimate criticism of the writings of this blessed Church Father from Hippo, they irreverently seek to prove that he was never, nor should be, considered a Saint of the Orthodox Church. They admonish the Faithful to disavow him as a Father. Moreover, they often wrongly attribute heretical teachings of later "Augustinians" to St. Augustine himself. In this way a few of these people even try to show that he was a heretic. This is shocking and absolutely incorrect, as this compilation and the works cited herein will prove.
by Father Seraphim Rose
Before beginning my talk, a word or two on why it is important to have an Orthodox world-view, and why it is more difficult to build one today than in past centuries.
In past centuries—for example, in 19th century Russia—the Orthodox world-view was an important part of Orthodox life and was supported by the life around it. There was no need even to speak of it as a separate thing—you lived Orthodoxy in harmony with the Orthodox society around you, and you had an Orthodox world-view provided by the Church and society. In many countries the government itself confessed Orthodoxy; it was the center of public functions and the king or ruler himself was historically the first Orthodox layman with a responsibility to give a Christian example to all his subjects. Every city had Orthodox churches, and many of them had services every day, morning and evening. There were monasteries in all the great cities, in many cities, outside the cities, and in the countryside, in deserts and wildernesses. In Russia there were more than 1000 officially organized monasteries, in addition to other more unofficial groups. Monasticism was an accepted part of life. Most families, in fact, had somewhere in them a sister or brother, uncle, grandfather, cousin or someone who was a monk or a nun, in addition to all the other examples of Orthodox life: people who wandered from monastery to monastery, and fools for Christ. The whole way of life was permeated with Orthodox kinds of people, of which, of course, monasticism is the center. Orthodox customs were a part of daily life. Most books that were commonly read were Orthodox. Daily life itself was difficult for most people: they had to work hard to survive, life expectancy was not great, death was a frequent reality—all of which reinforced the Church's teaching on the reality and nearness of the other world. Living an Orthodox life in such circumstances was really the same thing as having an Orthodox world-view, and there was little need to talk of such a thing.
by Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina
THE AIM of the present book is two-fold: first, to give an explanation, in terms of the Orthodox Christian doctrine of life after death, of the present-day "after-death" experiences that have caused such interest in some religious and scientific circles; and second, to present the basic sources and texts which contain the Orthodox teaching on life after death. If the Orthodox teaching is so little understood today, it is largely because these texts have been so neglected and have become so "unfashionable" in our "enlightened" times; and our attempt has been to make these texts more understandable and accessible to present-day readers. Needless to say, they constitute a reading material infinitely more profound and more profitable than the popular "after-death" books of our day, which, even when they are not merely sensational, simply cannot go much below the spectacular surface of today's experiences for want of a coherent and true teaching on the whole subject of life after death.
The Holy Orthodox Church, like a concerned mother, daily, at every divine service, offers up prayers for all her children who have departed for the land of eternity. Thus, at the midnight service troparia and prayers for the departed are read, and they are commemorated at its concluding ektenia. This is so also at compline. At matins and vespers the departed are remembered by name at the Augmented Ektenia, "Have mercy on us, O God ..." They are commemorated three times during the Liturgy: at the Proskomedia, at the ektenia following the Gospel, and after the consecration of the Precious Gifts when "Meet it is in truth . . ." is sung. Furthermore, one day of the week is set aside for prayers for the dead -Saturday, on which it is customary to have a service for the dead, unless it coincides with a feast, if such is to be served on that day.
by Father Seraphim (Rose) of Platina
Editor's Note: The following text was transcribed from a tape of a a "table-top discussion" at the St. Herman Monastery, Platina, California, in 1977. Since Fr. Seraphim's talk was impromptu and informal, a transcription of it is of course more "colloquial" and less "polished" than his carefully composed writings. This talk also differs from the main body of his writings in that it was directed to a specific group of people: young American converts who wanted to dedicate their lives to serving God, some of them as Orthodox missionaries.
by Eugene [Fr. Seraphim] Rose
I am a young American convert to Russian Orthodoxy—not the vague "liberal" spirituality of too many modern Russian "religious thinkers," but the full ascetic and contemplative Orthodoxy of the Fathers and Saints—who have for some years been studying the spiritual "crisis" of our time, and am at present writing a book on the subject.  In the course of my study I have had occasion to read the works of a great number of Roman Catholic authors, some of which (those, for example, of Pieper, Picard, Gilson, P. Danielou, P. de Lubac) I have found quite helpful and not, after all, too distant from the Orthodox perspective, but others of which I have found quite disturbing in the light of what seems to me the plain teaching of the universal Church. I have read several of your works, and especially in some recent articles of yours I seem to find signs of one of the tendencies in contemporary Roman thought (it exists in Orthodoxy too, to be sure) that has most disturbed me. Since you are a Roman monk, I turn to you as to someone likely to clarify the ambiguities I have found in this trend of thought. What I would like to discuss chiefly concerns what might be called the "social mission" of the Church.
Fr. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina
DECEMBER 21, 1972, marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Schema-Archimandrite Paisius Velichkovsky. This remarkable anniversary went almost totally unnoticed in the Orthodox world, which is so occupied with its worldly problems and its very struggle for survival. And yet, for Orthodox Christians of the 20th century there is no more important Holy Father of recent times than Blessed Paisius Velichkovsky. This is so not merely because of his holy life; not merely because, like another Saint Gregory Palamas, he defended the hesychast practice of the mental Prayer of Jesus; not only because he, through his many disciples, inspired the great monastic revival of the 19th century which flowered most notably in the holy Elders of Optina Monastery; but most of all because he redirected the attention of Orthodox Christians to the sources of Holy Orthodoxy, which are the only foundation of true Orthodox life and thought whether of the past or of the present, whether of monks or of laymen.