Nihilism by Father Seraphim Rose

Roosh

Cardinal
Originally posted on RooshV.com




There aren’t many American Orthodox monks who are candidates for sainthood, but Father Seraphim Rose (born Eugene Rose) is one of them. He led a worldly life that included an illicit relationship before turning to Christ and becoming a light for the Orthodox faithful around the world. His academic and philosophical style has appealed to many who crave a sharp, intellectual theology. While that style is hard for me to grasp early in my walk with Christ, his book Nihilism is important reading to understand the root of our present-day maladies.

You must descend before ascending

From his own experience, Eugene believed that modern man cannot come to Christ fully until he is first aware of how far he and his society have fallen away from Him, that is, until he has first faced the Nihilism in himself.
—Introduction by Father Damascene

There is no redemption without a fall. While you could be an exception, God is likely to permit you to be under the throes of Satan until you choose Him of your own free will. And then He will help you begin your new life.

Nihilism has become the default world orientation

Nihilism has become, in our time, so widespread and pervasive, has entered so thoroughly and so deeply into the minds and hearts of all men living today, that there is no longer any “front” on which it may be fought; and those who think they are fighting it are most often using its own weapons, which they in effect turn against themselves.

Nihilism is baked into the cake of our society. Most nihilists don’t even know they are one. Recently I watched a news segment at my father’s house. It described how subterranean bacteria evolved hundreds of millions of years ago, as if it was an obvious fact and not the theory it is, and last year while visiting America’s national parks, I saw countless informational placards made by geologists that pegged the age of rock formations with as much confidence as I proclaim my age to you. God surely use long stretches of time in nature, but scientific information is presented to you without any scriptural context, and so you hurtle down the default orientation of nihilism, Big Bang theory, evolution from salty water, and all manner of made-up events to explain your existence.

Nihilism is the opposite of Christianity

What, then, is the nature of the Nihilist faith? It is the precise opposite of Christian faith, and so not properly called ‘faith’ at all. Where Christian faith is joyous, certain, serene, loving, humble, patient, submitting in all things to the Will of God, its Nihilist counterpart is full of doubt, suspicion, disgust, envy, jealousy, pride, impatience, rebelliousness, blasphemy—one or more of these qualities predominating in any given personality. It is an attitude of dissatisfaction with self, with the world, with society, with God; it knows but one thing: that it will not accept things as they are, but must devote its energies either to changing them or fleeing from them. it was well described by Bakunin as ‘the sentiment of rebellion, this Satanic pride, which spurns subjection to any master whatever, whether of divine or human origin.’

Have you ever encountered a happy atheist? If he’s in the middle of experiencing pleasure, perhaps. He will be in a good mood and full of exuberance when you catch him at a fun party, the morning after sleeping with a woman (or man), in the middle of eating a craft burger, or upon buying a new gadget, but when the worldly high fades, he’s back in the doldrums to masturbate to porn, get drunk, take pills, and attack others in anger. Atheists claim that their lives are revolved around the pursuit of happiness, that they themselves conjure the meaning and purpose to their existence, but without exception they are unhappy people who live only by that which is fleeting.


The “New Atheists”
All truth leads to Christ

No one has rightly sought the truth who has not encountered at the end of this search—whether to accept or reject Him—our Lord, Jesus Christ, ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’

[…]

…it is impossible to extinguish the thirst for truth which God has implanted in man to lead them to Him, and which can only be satisfied in the acceptance of His Revelation. Even those who profess satisfaction with ‘relative’ truths and consider themselves too ‘sophisticated’ or ‘honest’ or even ‘humble’ to pursue the absolute—even they tire, eventually, of the fare of unsatisfying tidbits to which they have arbitrarily confined themselves, and long for more substantial fare.

If you are honest about your pursuit of truth, you will come to Christ. It’s impossible not to. Many men claim to pursue the truth, as I have in the past, but apply that truth to primarily gain pleasure and worldly benefits. I shared the truth of fallen women and men and then used that within the confines of my bedroom to secure a steady supply of sex. I closed my eyes to anything that hurt my access to the female body. A tiny bit of truth gave me pleasure, I got addicted to that pleasure, and so my pursuit of truth was stifled.

Truth outside of God is demonic

It is the presumption of the fragment to replace the whole; it is the proud attempt to build a Tower of Babel, a collection of facts, to reach to the heights of truth and wisdom from below. But truth is only attained by bowing down and accepting what is received from above. All the pretended ‘humility’ of Realist scholars and scientists, these men of little faith, cannot conceal the pride of their collective usurpation of the throne of God; they, in their smallness, think their painstaking ‘research’ of more weight than Divine Revelation.

[…]

All Nihilists, but preeminently those of the greatest genius and the broadest vision, are the prophets of Satan; refusing to use their talents in the humble service of God, ‘They have waged war against God with His own gifts.’

I no longer see the value of receiving guidance or knowledge from someone who is not in communion with God. Just like how a broken clock is correct twice a day, the nihilist may very well be speaking the truth on some matters, but the secular packaging it’s wrapped in contains lies, urgings to participate in sin, profanity, vulgarity, and callousness towards life. I may observe the work of a nihilist to see what the nihilists are up to, and maybe to receive cheap entertainment, but when it comes to how I live my life, it’s safer to do the exact opposite of what they’re doing, just like how it would have been better for a man to do the opposite of me when I was deep into fornication.

The nothingness of nihilist existence

No man, we have said often enough, lives without a god; who then—or what—is the god of the Nihilist? It is nihil, nothingness itself—not the nothingness of absence or non-existence, but of apostasy and denial; it is the ‘corpse’ of the ‘dead God’ which so weighs upon the Nihilist.

[…]

[In the Nihilist universe] there is neither up nor down, right nor wrong, true nor false, because there is no longer any point of orientation. Where there was once God, there is now nothing; where there were once authority, order, certainty, faith, there are now anarchy, confusion, arbitrary and unprincipled action, doubt and despair.

[…]

The true Nihilist places his father [Satan] in things that pass away and end in nothing; all ‘optimism’ on this foundation is clearly futile. The Christian, renouncing such vanity places his faith in the one thing that will not pass away, the Kingdom of God.

[…]

He who does not live in Christ… already lives in the Abyss, and not all the treasures of this world can ever fill his emptiness.

Some men insist on learning this fact the hard way, or they think they are special enough to win when everyone else has lost. They really believe that they will be a champion of the world, but the higher they climb, the deeper the pit they dig, and the more divine the intervention they’ll need to be lifted out.



Satan’s lies become more appealing in a world void of God

For Satan is the ape of God, and once divine coherence has been shattered and men no longer hope for the absolute coherence God alone can give to human life, the counterfeit coherence that Satan is able to fabricate may come to seem quite attractive.

In previous ages, people had stronger foundations of faith to fall back on. They were catechized as a child, went off into a world of sin and depravity, and then returned to the faith before it was too late, but today, when a person gets horrified by evil, they merely jump towards a new pleasure or sin.

Weak faith allows evil to grow

Christian compromise in thought and word and negligence in deed have opened the way to the triumph of the forces of the absurd, of Satan, of Antichrist. The present age of absurdity is the just reward of Christians who have failed to be Christians.

The apostasy began a long time ago. The comfort, wealth, and mass-produced entertainment that the industrial age brought forth pulled society away from God. Weakened in faith, people no longer had any defenses to Satan’s schemes, from abortion to institutionalized pedophilia. The world is crumbling around us while moderners covet their smartphone, Tinder matches, OnlyFans revenue, and Starbucks coffee, believing they are just one more achievement away from happiness, but there is no worthy achievement apart from God.

Nihilism leads to the absurd (clown world)

From faith comes coherence. The world of faith, which was once the normal world, is a supremely coherent world because in it everything is oriented to God as to its beginning and end, and obtains its meaning in that orientation. Nihilist rebellion, in destroying that world, has inspired a new world: the world of the ‘absurd.’ This word, very much in fashion at the present time to describe the plight of contemporary man, has actually, if properly understood, a profound meaning. For if nothingness be the center of the world, then the world, both in its essence and in every detail, is incoherent, it fails to hold together, it is absurd.

[…]

If man is after all to end in nothingness, then in the deepest sense it does not matter what he does in this life, for then nothing he may do is of any ultimate consequence, and all talk of ‘living this life to the full’ is empty and vain. It is absolutely true that if ‘there is no immortality’, the world is absurd and ‘everything is permitted’—which is to say, nothing is worth doing, the dust of death smothers every joy and prevents even tears, which would be futile; it would indeed be better if such a world did not exist.

[…]

Absurdism is the last proof that Christian truth is absolute and uncompromising, or else it is the same as no truth at all; and if there is no truth, if Christian truth is not to be understood literally and absolutely, if God is dead, if there is no immortality—then this world is all there is, and this world is absurd, this world is Hell.

We all are living in the clown world of an inverted society where evil is promoted as virtue and good as sin, but God knows how to turn evil to good. Like myself, many of you have recently humbled yourself before Him in part from being a witness to evil.

Nihilism by Father Rose had more of a philosophical tone than books I prefer, but it provided great value in showing me what godlessness really can bring—hell on earth. I pray to God that He can give us the strength to endure the severe tribulations that are sure to come in our lifetimes, to release ourselves from the bondage of this world and to prepare for the world to come.

Learn More: Nihilism by Seraphim Rose on Amazon


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Enigma

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I reread this book recently and felt like I appreciated it even more the second time around.

One of the key takeaways, in my opinion, is that (classical) liberalism, realism, and vitalism are all simply earlier stages of nihilism. His critiques of liberalism, in particular, make it impossible to ever look at American politics and history the same way again.

The Liberal humanist civilization which, in Western Europe, was the last form of the Old Order that was effectively destroyed in that Great War and the Revolutions of the second decade of this century and which continues to exist--though in an even more attenuated "democratic" form--in the free world today, may be principally characterized by its attitude to truth. This is not an attitude of open hostility nor even of deliberate unconcern, for its sincere apologists undeniably have a genuine regard for what they consider to be truth; rather, it is an attitude in which truth, despite certain appearances, no longer occupied the center of attention. The truth in which it professes to believe (apart of course, from scientific fact) is, for it, no spiritual or intellectual coinof current circulation, but idle and unfruitful capital left over from a previous age. The Liberal still speaks, at least on formal occasions, of "eternal verities," of "faith," of "human dignity," of man's "high calling" or his "unquenchable spirit," even of "Christian civilization"; but it is quite clear that these words no longer mean what they once meant. No Liberal takes them with entire seriousness; they are in fact metaphors, ornaments of language that are meant to evoke an emotional, not an intellectual, response--a response largely conditioned by long usage, with the attendant memory of a time when such words actually had a positive and serious meaning.

No one today who prides himself on his "sophistication"--that is to say, very few in academic institutions, in government, in science, in humanist intellectual circles, no one who wishes or professes to be abreast of the "times"--does or can fully believe in absolute truth, or more particularly in Christian Truth.
Yet the name of truth has been retained, as have been the names of those truths men once regarded as absolute, and few in any position of authority or influence would hesitate to use them, even when they are aware that their meanings have changed. Truth, in a word, has been "reinterpreted"; the old forms have been emptied and given a new, quasi-Nihilist content. This may easily be seen by a brief examination of several of the principal areas in which truth has been "reinterpreted."

In the theological order the first truth is, of course, God. Omnipotent and omnipresent Creator of all, revealed to faith and in the experience of the faithful (and not contradicted by the reason of those who do not deny faith), God is the supreme end of all creation and Himself, unlike His creation, finds His end in Himself, everything created stands in relation to and dependence upon Him, Who alone depends upon nothing outside Himself, He has created the world that it might live in enjoyment of Him, and everything in the world is oriented toward this end, which however men may miss by a misuse of their freedom.

The modern mentality cannot tolerate such a God. He is both too intimate--too "personal," even too "human"--and too absolute, too uncompromising in His demands of us; and He makes Himself known only to humble faith--a fact bound to alienate the proud modern intelligence. A "new god" is clearly required by modern man, a god more closely fashioned after the pattern of such central modern concerns as science and business; it has, in fact, been an important intention of modern thought to provide such a god. This intention is clear already in Descartes, it is brought to fruition in the Deism of the Enlightenment, developed to its end in German idealism: the new god is not a Being but an idea, not revealed to faith and humility but constructed by the proud mind that still feels the need for "explanation" when it has lost its desire for salvation. This is the dead god of philosophers who require only a "first cause" to complete their systems, as well as of "positive thinkers" and other religious sophists who invent a god because they "need" him, and then think to "use" him at will. Whether "deist," "idealist," pantheist," or "immanentist," all the modern gods are the same mental construct, fabricated by souls dead from the loss of faith in the true God.

...

If there is no immortality, the Liberal believes, one can still lead a civilized life; "if there is no immortality"-is the far profounder logic of Ivan Karamazov in Dostoyevsky's novel-"all things are lawful." Humanist stoicism is possible for certain individuals for a certain time: until, that is, the full implications of the denial of immortality strike home. The Liberal lives in a fool's paradise which must collapse before the truth of things. If death is, as the Liberal and Nihilist both believe, the extinction of the individual, then this world and everything in it-love, goodness, sanctity, everything-are as nothing, nothing man may do is of any ultimate consequence and the full horror of life is hidden from man only by the strength of their will to deceive themselves; and "all things are lawful," no otherworldly hope or fear restrains men from monstrous experiments and suicidal dreams.

...

The blindness of the Liberal is a direct antecedent of Nihilist, and more specifically of Bolshevist, morality; for the latter is only a consistent and systematic application of Liberal unbelief It is the supreme irony of the Liberal view that it is precisely when its deepest intent shall have been realized in the world, and all men shall have been "liberated" from the yoke of transcendent standards, when even the pretense of belief in the other world shall have vanished--it is precisely then that life as the Liberal knows or desires it shall have become impossible; for the "new man" that disbelief produces can only see in Liberalism itself the last of the "illusions" which Liberalism wished to dispel.

...

A government must rule by the Grace of God or by the will of the people, it must believe in authority or in the Revolution; on these issues compromise is possible only in semblance, and only for a time. The Revolution, like the disbelief which has always accompanied it, cannot be stopped halfway; it is a force that, once awakened, will not rest until it ends in a totalitarian Kingdom of this world. The history of the last two centuries has proved nothing if not this. To appease the Revolution and offer it concessions, as Liberals have always done, thereby showing that they have no truth with which to oppose it, is perhaps to postpone, but not to prevent, the attainment of its end. And to oppose the radical Revolution with a Revolution of one's own, whether it be "conservative," " non-violent," or "spiritual," is not merely to reveal ignorance of the full scope and nature of the Revolution of our time, but to concede as well the first principle of that Revolution: that the old truth is no longer true, and a new truth must take its place. Our next chapter will develop this point by defining more closely the goal of the Revolution.

In the Liberal world-view, therefore--in its theology, its ethics, its politics, and in other areas we have not examined as well--truth has been weakened, softened, compromised; in all realms truth that was once absolute has become less certain, if not entirely "relative." Now it is possible-and this in fact amounts to a definition of the Liberal enterprise-to preserve for a time the fruits of a system and a truth of which one is uncertain or skeptical; but one can build nothing positive upon such uncertainty, nor upon the attempt to make it intellectually respectable in the various relativistic doctrines we have already examined. There is and can be no philosophical apology for Liberalism; its apologies, when not simply rhetorical, are emotional and pragmatic. But the most striking fact about the Liberal, to any relatively unbiased observer, is not so much the inadequacy of his doctrine as his own seeming oblivion to this inadequacy.

This fact, which is understandably irritating to well-meaning critics of Liberalism, has only one plausible explanation. The Liberal is undisturbed even by fundamental deficiencies and contradictions in his own philosophy because his primary interest is elsewhere. If he is not concerned to found the political and social order upon Divine Truth, if he is indifferent to the reality of Heaven and Hell, if he conceives of God as a mere idea of a vague impersonal power, it is because he is more immediately interested in worldly ends, and because everything else is vague or abstract to him. The Liberal may be interested in culture, in learning, in business, or merely in comfort; but in every one of his pursuits the dimension of the absolute is simply absent. He is unable, or unwilling, to think in terms of ends, of ultimate things. The thirst for absolute truth has vanished; it has been swallowed up in worldliness.

...

Liberalism is the first stage of the Nihilist dialectic, both because its own faith is empty, and because this emptiness calls into being a yet more Nihilist reaction--a reaction that, ironically, proclaims even more loudly than Liberalism its "love of truth," while carrying mankind one step farther on the path of error.

If you start to prod people on the Western "right", you'll see what he says is true. They place little value on objective, absolute truth. And yet these are the foundations of Western civilization, even going back to Plato.
 
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gework

Ostrich
Gold Member
One of the key takeaways, in my opinion, is that (classical) liberalism, realism, and vitalism are all simply earlier stages of nihilism.

It appears the devil first gets you by offering you something of desire, awe, seduction... Being in my early thirties I see this a lot. Youth is fading among my cohort and those whose basis for happiness and satisfaction was derived from that - lust, pride are at best struggling to move to the next phase of their life; if not outright crumbling as nothing at all has filled that void. Then there are those whose lives swell with material gifts from their 30s - those who are blessed via their work - pride and greed. I have seen how their lives detirorate or break down as they move into another phase of life. As severe cases, where I come from there were two men who murdered their families before committing suicide when their financial fortunes evaporated. One was also addicted to prostitutes.

During these periods in which you are blessed with worldly delights, you can behave badly. You maybe be rude, casually cruel and arrogant. But you are on the up (in your mind) and so wasting your time with the overtly negative is not appealing. It is when the worldly collapses that the forces of Satan can full envelope you. Your heart still yearns for worldly delights (greed, pride, lust, gluttony), but it their lack you are also besotted by envy, anger and sloth. Such a full-house of sin makes the chances you will fall into active sin much more likely.

Recently I was thinking how the world of celebrity and Hollywood is more-or-less an inversion of the message of this piece of art,



in which people strive to reach God by virtue. In the world of celebrity you are rewarded by climbing the inverse ladder. The more you sin the more you are rewarded.

It appears that Satan chooses people to be particularly gifted in the world. We have various cultural leaders like Jay-Z, Cardi B and Joe Biden. While the average person typically has a short shelf-life for engaging in worldly pleasure before decaying, these people are usually able to have considerable longevity in their promotion of the perverse and destructive. The decadent lifestyles of the likes of Jay-Z are supported by millions following in their footsteps and then being sacrificed to Satan as they hit worldly walls.Hollywood is a satanic ritual.

What is true for individuals can be extrapolated out to groups and society.

Our recent ancestors have been seduced by the worldly; and the wake of this process is the gutting of all the things that make a society possible. Our fathers enjoyed having a few trysts and our mothers enjoyed a few alphas. But it was still in the culture to marry and procreate. For their transgression we have been gifted a society in which marriage is much more difficult to attain than conjugal rights, and only for a sub-set of men.

I believe you are right that liberalism is an early stage of nihilism. In liberalism God is placed by the power of the individual, he becomes enamored with his ability to shape the world. Our everyday lives would be considered God-like 300 years ago. It has brought great material gifts, but the spiritual has been reduced to women posting feely quotes with etheral lion backgrounds on Instagram.

I know one guy who puts out a very strong worldly liberal vibe. He is not a rank materialist in the sense of a Donald Trump of Jay-Z. The new materialism is left-wing and one of experience and feeling - living in a foreign capital and drinking craft beers, having a woman consent to sodomy or just doing it anyway, feeling you are a good person, having a bucket list. Satan has tempted them to waste their lives on things that leave no residue, but memories not even they really care about. At least if you have a business you have something and can build a family. This guy's liberal vibe is a facade. He adopted it while he was young and had access to the kind of pleasures mentioned above. Now he is visibly aging, balding in the really bad way, losing what precious little muscle tone he had, getting fat and developing breasts. He has been distracted with 100 shades of nothing and has accrued nothing. His liberalism is quickly disipating and revealing the spite of an antifa militant. The liberalism was fake, he supported it while it suited him, which is as long as it suited Satan. Now he is having a hard time keeping himself away from the radical left ideologies that tug on him. He knows he doesn't want to go there because he knows its for losers and a step back, but he has nothing else to fall back on.

There are two things you can always fall back on - nihilism, for there will always be nothing; and God. You can only depend on the grace of Satan for so long.
 
There aren’t many American Orthodox monks who are candidates for sainthood, but Father Seraphim Rose (born Eugene Rose) is one of them.

I have a small disagreement, but I think it's important: Fr. Seraphim Rose isn't a candidate for sainthood. He is a saint who is a candidate for canonization.

One of the key takeaways, in my opinion, is that (classical) liberalism, realism, and vitalism are all simply earlier stages of nihilism. His critiques of liberalism, in particular, make it impossible to ever look at American politics and history the same way again.

I can't remember which book it was in, but he believed that Tsarist Russia was the last holdout against the antichrist. When Tsar Nicholas II was martyred, and the last Orthodox Christian empire fell, the spirit of the antichrist was able to take hold all over the world. It's in keeping with the prophecies about Russia being the third and last Rome. I hope he was wrong, but only time will tell.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
I have a small disagreement, but I think it's important: Fr. Seraphim Rose isn't a candidate for sainthood. He is a saint who is a candidate for canonization.

Canonization is the declaration of a deceased person as an officially recognized saint,[1] specifically, the official act of a Christian communion declaring a person worthy of public cult and entering his or her name in the canon, or authorized list, of that communion's recognized saints

To be canonized is to become a saint, according to what I've learned. Can you link to a source with your definitions? And can you link to a source that says the Orthodox Church has made him a saint (i.e. canonized him)?
 
To be canonized is to become a saint, according to what I've learned. Can you link to a source with your definitions? And can you link to a source that says the Orthodox Church has made him a saint (i.e. canonized him)?

A saint is a holy person (Orthodox Church Terms). The OCA also has a good article on the subject here: "Canonization does not make a man a saint. Rather, it establishes the fact, publically and for all to see, that the man is already a saint." As in the definition you provided, canonization recognizes sainthood rather than confers it.

Fr. Seraphim hasn't been canonized, but he's definitely a candidate for it. People paint his icon, tell his story, and ask for his intercession. And this is how it starts: official recognition of sainthood follows popular devotion.
 

DanielH

Woodpecker
A saint is a holy person (Orthodox Church Terms). The OCA also has a good article on the subject here: "Canonization does not make a man a saint. Rather, it establishes the fact, publically and for all to see, that the man is already a saint." As in the definition you provided, canonization recognizes sainthood rather than confers it.

Fr. Seraphim hasn't been canonized, but he's definitely a candidate for it. People paint his icon, tell his story, and ask for his intercession. And this is how it starts: official recognition of sainthood follows popular devotion.
Father Seraphim came up in my pre marriage counseling the other day, our priest told us he probably would have been canonized by now if he didn't teach about the tollhouses. (Regarding the tollhouses our priest said it's at best a metaphor but he doesn't believe in them.)
 

Blade Runner

Kingfisher
His liberalism is quickly disipating and revealing the spite of an antifa militant. The liberalism was fake, he supported it while it suited him, which is as long as it suited Satan. Now he is having a hard time keeping himself away from the radical left ideologies that tug on him. He knows he doesn't want to go there because he knows its for losers and a step back, but he has nothing else to fall back on.

Yes, it is a setup that gradually "progresses" along the path that most chaos does - in archetypal fashion. With the recognition of the fleeting portion of life (of youth or beauty) passing the person lacking humility or some repentance can easily fall into despair. That's what the devil and all his demons want the human person to do, because it continues the destruction of that person at an alarming, increasing rate. I think this is why we have traditionally called it in stories "selling your soul" - it's a time limited contract, if you noticed, in all of these. And the payment comes due, and then despair. It's quite sad.

Human life is quite messy. There are may difficult scenarios, pitting the physical and spiritual though these not need be in disharmony. The only answer of course is God, and even if we don't understand it all (of course we don't) we can come to understand that struggle, falling/getting up, and thus repentance is the only way forward, paradoxically back to God.
 

Enigma

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I can't remember which book it was in, but he believed that Tsarist Russia was the last holdout against the antichrist. When Tsar Nicholas II was martyred, and the last Orthodox Christian empire fell, the spirit of the antichrist was able to take hold all over the world. It's in keeping with the prophecies about Russia being the third and last Rome. I hope he was wrong, but only time will tell.

I think he touches on that in a few different places, including in lectures and The Orthodox Word (magazine), and it's a fairly common belief among the Russian saints and elders of the period.

Though there is a prophecy that the monarchy will be restored before the end.

"But before the coming of Antichrist Russia must yet be restored—to be sure, for a short time. And in Russia there must be a Tsar forechosen by the Lord Himself. He will be a man of burning faith, great mind and iron will. This much has been revealed about him." - Archbishop Theophan of Poltova
 

Roosh

Cardinal
A saint is a holy person (Orthodox Church Terms). The OCA also has a good article on the subject here: "Canonization does not make a man a saint. Rather, it establishes the fact, publically and for all to see, that the man is already a saint." As in the definition you provided, canonization recognizes sainthood rather than confers it.

Fr. Seraphim hasn't been canonized, but he's definitely a candidate for it. People paint his icon, tell his story, and ask for his intercession. And this is how it starts: official recognition of sainthood follows popular devotion.

So I can put "St." before a person's name in writing if I genuinely believe they are a holy person?
 
So I can put "St." before a person's name in writing if I genuinely believe they are a holy person?

People usually wait to use "St. so-and-so" as a title until after canonization, but they'll say "So-and-so was a saint." Similarly, a saint's icon usually gets painted without a halo until canonization. But I don't think these are hard and fast rules, since people break them all the time. For example, the new-martyr Yevgeny Rodionov is not canonized, but his icon always has a halo. And I've heard people refer to Fr. Seraphim as St. Seraphim of Platina. If there's an official rule a priest might know; at my last parish the priests frequently called Fr. Seraphim a saint but they never called him St. Seraphim.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
People usually wait to use "St. so-and-so" as a title until after canonization, but they'll say "So-and-so was a saint." Similarly, a saint's icon usually gets painted without a halo until canonization. But I don't think these are hard and fast rules, since people break them all the time. For example, the new-martyr Yevgeny Rodionov is not canonized, but his icon always has a halo. And I've heard people refer to Fr. Seraphim as St. Seraphim of Platina. If there's an official rule a priest might know; at my last parish the priests frequently called Fr. Seraphim a saint but they never called him St. Seraphim.
I agree that there is a colloquial usage of saint (small s) and church usage (big S). In my original article, I was referring to him being a candidate for big S sainthood.
 
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