Photo below: One of the last photographs of
Archbishop Seraphim, with pilgrims from Lyon.


Funeral 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 Seraphim’s colleagues in the publication of the children’s book “Igor and Masha in Provemont,” the mayor of our town, Vladyka’s 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 clothing–a 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 Damascene–Vladyka particularly loved these sticherion.

The procession to the cemetery was accompanied by rain, but when they began to lower Vladyka’s 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 God’s 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.”



Nun Evfrosinia

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