As a youth, Fr. Nicholas was very lively and had an exceptional talent as a comedian. He was tempted to join a troupe of actors but his mother insisted that he become a priest. His brilliant secular talents were transformed into spiritual ones. In Kharkov once empty churches became crowded as word of "another Chrysos-tom" spread Fr. Nicholas was very active: he organized pilgrimages to various monasteries in which thousands of people took part. His spiritual gifts blossomed: through his prayers rain fell during a severe drought, a dying woman was healed; there are also several recorded cases of his clairvoyance.
With the blessing of Optina Elder Anatole, Fr, Nicholas began himself to function as an elder. His influence among the people was so great that when he was arrested, the.authorities decided he should leave Kharkov and he went to Petersburg where he lived in hiding for a time. There Fr. Nicholas was numbered among the 5,000 believers arrested on the famous "Holy Night" in 1932. He was sent to Solovki. Never expecting to survive and return to the world and his family, Fr. Nichnolas was secretly tonsured a monk with the name Seraphim. Later he was sent on foot over the tundra to the far north for settlement.
After his release he moved to Oboyan where there was a secret convent. Once again he lived in hiding, serving Liturgy every day. Utterly worn out by years of living under such conditions and the constant threat of arrest-, Fr. Nicholas had a stroke and died on the eve of the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, 1943. Like the brilliant autumn leaves of dying nature, so too, as Fr. Nicholas finished his earthly days, his face was transformed, bearing a stamp of that other world where "the just shine like the stars."[../../_private/oabot.htm]