Orthodox America

   Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich

As a young monk Archbishop Seraphim spent 6 years as a zealous missionary in the Alaskan diocese where he was greatly valued by his fellow-laborer Bishop Tikhon, the future Patriarch, Returning to Russia in 1907, he was assigned first as Abbot of the Tolga Monastery and then as Abbot of the Protection Monastery in Uglich. Following the death of Patriarch Tikhon, Archbishop Seraphim was appointed as one of the substitutes of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens. His predecessors in this position were in prison and he knew the same fate awaited him and whomever he would appoint as his successor. Therefore, when asked by the GPU whom he was to name as successor, he replied: "The Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Let it be known to the whole world how 'freely' Orthodox Christians are living under a 'free' government."

When Metropolitan Sergius issued his Declaration, Archbishop Seraphim protested an humbly exhorted him t turn from his apostasy. It was not long before he was arrested and sent to Solovki. There he worked at heavy labor until he fell from a ladder and served out the rest of his term as an invalid. In 1932 he was sent into exile to the far north where he grew weaker in body but remained strong in spirit. He considered that in an epoch of persecution, there should not be any single centralized Church government; a bishop in exile should be the head of the secret church wherever he is staying. Archbishop Seraphim never returned from exile; he died in deprivation - a true confessor and faithful servant of Christ.