Fr. Seraphim (Rose) serving the Paschal Liturgy.
(Continued from part 7.)
In 1977, Fr. Seraphim was ordained a priest. This dramatically changed the focus of his life — he no longer had much time to theorize about the apocalypse or to partake of silent contemplation, but now devoted himself to the increasing numbers of pilgrims and converts that proved willing to come to remote Platina. He continued to work on The Orthodox Word, but never got a chance to finish Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, and did not write any other books beyond the three that we have examined. Continue reading
“Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.”
(Continued from part 6.)
Fr. Seraphim’s last major polemical work deals with the theory of evolution. If you have been with us this long, surely you can guess what his stance was on this issue; if not, this should clear up any doubt: “Evolution would never have been thought of by men who believe in the God Whom Orthodox Christians worship.” (Genesis, 485) You are free to walk away, if you wish.
Genesis, Creation, and Early Man could have been Fr. Seraphim’s most controversial, even best-selling book, but he never truly finished it. It was published posthumously. His text is pieced together from tape recordings, outlines, letters, and notes written at different times. Although the total length is rather imposing — over 1000 pages — about half of that consists of commentary and additional arguments by Fr. Damascene, and the remainder tends to repeat the same points, since originally they were made at different times to different people. Continue reading
“The author of one of the new books on after-death experiences made a point of asking the opinion of various ‘sects’ on the state of the soul after death. Thus, he called a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and was given a very general opinion of the existence of heaven and hell, but was told that Orthodoxy does not have ‘any specific idea of what the hereafter would be like.’ The author could only conclude that ‘the Greek Orthodox view of the hereafter is not clear.’ On the contrary, of course, Orthodox Christianity has a quite precise doctrine and view of life after death, beginning from the very moment of death itself.”
(The Soul After Death, 3)
(Continued from part 5.)
If anyone asks for an example of Fr. Seraphim’s impact on Orthodox life, at least we can say that now, nearly 40 years after the publication of The Soul After Death, it is very difficult to imagine that an ordained Orthodox clergyman could give such a flippant answer to a question about the afterlife. The first obligation of any religion is to provide a clear and understandable explanation of what happens after we die — anything less would be unprofessional. Continue reading
“Nativity of Christ,” Andrei Rublev, 1405.
Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow, Russia.
Fallen Leaves wishes its readers, whoever they may be, a merry Christmas according to the Julian calendar. Continue reading
“Every heresy has its own ‘spirituality,’ its own characteristic approach to the practical religious life.”
opening line of Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future (xix)
(Continued from part 4.)
It is likely that Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, unlike Nihilism, was never intended as a grand philosophical statement. Continue reading
Platina, CA. Winter 1969-1970.
(Continued from part 3.)
In the 1960s, for some time after his conversion, Eugene worked on an ambitious project, a book of religious philosophy that was to be titled The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God. This book was never finished — only one chapter was polished to the degree where it could be (posthumously) published as a stand-alone text (Nihilism: the Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, 1994). However, many of the themes that Eugene raised here would eventually resurface in Fr. Seraphim’s later writing. Continue reading
The old Russian Orthodox cathedral in San Francisco.
It looks like a refurbished Protestant church because it is one;
in those years, the diocese could not afford a new building.
(Continued from part 2.)
Eugene stumbled into Orthodoxy by chance (or “chance”). He heard something about it, attended a service in a small church that served the Russian community in San Francisco at the time, and stayed. Within a year or two, Christian themes had crept into his correspondence and thinking. His growing Orthodox zeal played a major role in his decision not to pursue a doctoral degree (although his resentment at academia’s treatment of Gi-ming Shien also had a lot to do with it). Continue reading