Photo below: One of the last photographs of
Archbishop Seraphim, with pilgrims from Lyon.
and burial service of His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim (Doulgov)
The funeral of newly-reposed Archbishop Seraphim was held
on Wednesday, 26 November, on the day of St. John Chrysostom,
at Lesna Convent in France. On the eve, the Ruling Bishop
of Geneva and Western Europe, His Grace Bishop Ambroise, arrived
along with the clergy of the Elevation of the Cross Cathedral
in Geneva, and also His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin,
Germany and Great Britain, His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart
and several priests from the German Diocese.
The funerary liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop Mark. The
Convent choir sang the compositions that Vladyka Seraphim
especially loved. Vladyka Mark led the funeral as well, which,
in accordance with the will of Archbishop Seraphim, was conducted
by the monastic rite. Despite the fact that there was little
time to inform everyone of the funeral in advance, some 150
worshipers came on the stormy weekday to escort Vladyka Serpahim
on his final journey. Vladyka's first parishioners from Cannes,
in the south of France, came; it was there, when he was still
Fr. Igor, he began his pastoral service over 50 years ago.
Clergy and laity from Lyon were there as well, where the future
Archbishop Seraphim served for many years, until his consecration
as bishop. Orthodox French people whom Vladyka baptised and
nourished spiritually stood side-by-side with Russians whom
Vladyka brought into the Church; children whom Vladyka reared
in the faith and clergy whom he instructed and taught to serve.
Praying also were Vladyka Seraphims colleagues in the
publication of the childrens book Igor and Masha
in Provemont, the mayor of our town, Vladykas
neighbors, and of course the orphaned sisters of our Convent,
where Vladyka spent the last 10 years of his life.
Vladyka willed that his funeral be conducted as plainly and
humbly as possible. He did not want to burden anyone. Vladyka
was buried in his oldest clothinga plain priestly phelonion
in which he celebrated his last liturgy of Apostle James,
in his old omophorion, without a mitre, in the most worn-out
klobuk and wearing a wooden cross with a tin panagia, since
he hoped that his mitres, archpastoral vestments, etc., would
be of use to someone.
Vladyka also desired a monastic funeral, because it is much
shorter than the priestly rite of burial. In his will, Vladyka
indicated that all words regarding asceticism and fasting
should be omitted from his monastic funeral, since, in his
words, he did not possess these qualities, since he became
a monk from obedience, because of his episcopacy...Nonetheless,
we did not omit anything, and the kliros especially tried
to emphasize the sticherion for all 8 tones of St. John the
DamasceneVladyka particularly loved these sticherion.
The procession to the cemetery was accompanied by rain, but
when they began to lower Vladykas body into the earth,
the sun broke through the clouds and the day ended with a
most beautiful sunset. Vladyka Seraphim acutely sensed the
beauty of Gods world, of His creations, seeing in them
the reflection of the splendor of the heavenly abode. During
his entire life, Vladyka Seraphim strove towards this Beauty,
and, over the course of his many pastoral years, he edified
and strengthened a wide array of people upon this path. We
believe that the Lord took him into this heavenly abode now,
saying to him: Good, kind and faithful servant...enter
the joy of Your Lord.