Seraphim Society

Mission Statement: ‘Save yourself and thousands around you will be saved.’ – St. Seraphim

Note: The Seraphim Society meetings and original web site have been set aside indefinitely due to changes in the personal lives of participants. The Orthopraxy blog is quite active, however, and houses the archives of the Seraphim Society in the Quotations categories. We were in the process of composing a letter to get formal approval by our Bishop when events in a member’s family sent us in different directions. If you think of us, pray that we may continue in theosis.

St Seraphim with his bear
Image by jimforest via Flickr

The Society of St. Seraphim of Sarov is an informal devotional society dedicated to St. Seraphim, but pursuing the teaching of all the Fathers, Saints, and great Ascetics of Holy Orthodoxy.

We take the maxim, “Save yourself, and thousands will be saved.” to be at once our mission for ourselves and our methodology of mission in general. We are dedicated to the one and only purpose for which all things in Orthodoxy exist, namely theosis (or deification).

We are a small group of people who meet weekly to pray Compline or one of the hours, encourage one another during the fasts of the Church, seek to overcome the passions, read and discuss the fathers of the Church, and ultimately make the direction of our lives that of union with God. One might say our twin interests are patristics and the ordinary asceticism of Orthodox living.

We believe in doing “all things together with the bishop,” and so do not really see ourselves as a para-Church society. Rather, each of us is in good standing and communion with Orthodox Churches, united to a bishop, and intends to remain so, seeking always salvation by the prayers of all, and to pray also for our beloved brethren and clergy, and most especially for our beloved hierarch, rightly dividing the word of Truth.

The Seraphim Society web site serves as a point of reference for reflection, a place to share interesting quotations and a few comments, and a means for those who have the care of us to look in on what we’re doing and offer us further wisdom and, if because of it they happen to think of us, pray for mercy and for our salvation.

We refer to ourselves informally as “The Seraphim Society” or simply “4S”. A screen shot of the web site is below:

Seraphim Society

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.


  • Compline & Readings: 6:30-9:30pm – We start gathering around 6pm. Holy Compline starts by 6:30pm.


  • Matins: carpool 6:30am, starts 7:00am


  • The Typical Psalms: 9am
  • or else Divine Liturgy: carpool 7:15am, hours start at 9:10am

At Other Times

  • Family study. Members of the society also study and pray with their own families at various times during the week, which makes for happy unions and orthodox children.

4,468 visits: We’re not experts in anything; mostly we can tell you what we don’t know. We’re just a small group of people trying to follow St. Seraphim’s encouragement to pursue theosis – to save ourselves.

On Our Minds: Asceticism Christology Fasting grace Humility Lives love Marriage Mission Peacemaking People Pieties Prayer Prophesy Simplicity Syngeneia The Bishop The Enemy Theology Theosis The Passions The Poor The World Uncategorized

Comments : 12

  1. Reader Tarasios

    12 years ago

    May God grant you His blessings through the prayers of our Holy Fathers!

    You have a very good web site!

  2. Jack

    12 years ago

    I cannot be in union with your bishop because I am Catholic. So do you inow of a similiar organization among Catholics. I live in Pittsburgh, Pa.
    Jack Schmitt

  3. []

    12 years ago

    Jack. Thank you for writing. Most of the ones that come to mind immediately wouldn’t be very helpful. Within your own confession, only something Franciscan occurred to me, but really we consider these to be very different paths. Someone even wrote an article to that effect: [here]. My own feelings on this subject are that while we may respect some of the words, ideas, and behaviours of a Francis of Assisi — might feel an affinity and certainly a friendship — we cannot feel a sense of continuity with our own tradition. It’s perhaps propitious that your comment comes just a short while after our post entitled “Friendship, not Accord.” You see, we distinguish these.

    Ordinarily, if you were in OKC, I’d say you’re welcome to come and read with us. Not everyone present is united to the same bishop – just the founding members. You could even come to the prayer part, with the understanding that the Orthodox would view it not as praying with you, but only praying for you, though in practice it would feel like everyone just saying the same prayers (e.g. Compline). You certainly wouldn’t be singled out or even spoken about in secret, but rather accorded the same dignity of all present. You would share in our great joy of you as a guest, our best (if meager) hospitality, and our simple gift of welcome of all who come peaceably for whatever reasons God knows.

    We’re not really an organization so much as just a group of people who pray and help one another in theosis. The name “society” is there, and this small site, mainly to remind us why we are together, so we don’t fall into pride, to seek St. Seraphim’s guidance and blessing who taught us this work of our salvation, and to give Vladyka (“beloved bishop”), the shepherd of those of us who first began to pray and read together, a way to watch over these poor sheep.

    Overall, we’re a quiet bunch. Our focus is prayer. We go to liturgy to pray. We gather together to pray. We read a little, but with all Orthodox, we believe nothing we cannot pray, and we pray all that we believe. We aren’t making a loud bang anywhere. In essence, and please allow that this is just an opinion: The Seraphim Society is a fulfillment, in small part, of much that your own Francis of Assisi sought and talked about, but the focus is much more akin to that of St. Seraphim as the fullness of Francis’ initial questions. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.” St. Seraphim said, “Save yourself, and thousands around you will be saved.”

    As it is, we don’t have physical meetings in other states, but who knows, subject to our own Bishop’s approval, where that might evolve? Time and his abundant wisdom will tell. Most of our discussion comes from the things we’re [reading together], enhanced by the quotations we post, and is reflected, if only poorly, in rare comments we might make. My inclination is to suggest that if you’d like, while you are looking for something local, you can certainly initiate conversation on any of the quotations from the fathers that we post on the site, each of which has a comment/discussion feature available or, likewise, you’d be welcome to correspond with us, ask questions if you wish (we’re not experts and may not know many answers). We’re here, and we welcome you.

    You might find something on the campus bulletin boards of St. Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, PA. Among any large group of academics, there is bound to be a need for quiet reflection and prayer. 🙂

    Pray for me, the sinner, if you should think of me at all.

    Let us know what we can do for you.


  4. joseph

    12 years ago

    pray for me am siner man and poor soul

  5. Aaron Taylor

    12 years ago

    Just curious, where precisely does the society meet? Are there any clergy involved?

  6. []

    12 years ago

    There are no clergy involved – we’re more or less interested in ordinary lay asceticism. Clergy, imo, are great, taken in doses, but they tend to change the focus if you can’t ever have a conversation w/o them. Be that as it may, we’re sort of interested in cultivating what Fr. Seraphim Rose called “the desert in your backyard” – which is precisely the ability to pursue the ascesis of Holy Orthodoxy in the parts of life where the priest has neither time nor inclination to be involved – and where, frankly, it would be superfluous or inappropriate. In other words, the whole point is to be able to live Orthodoxy w/o having our hands held all the time.

    When the priest stands in front of the iconostasis and preaches on keeping the fasts, loving our brothers, encouraging one another, admonishing one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and acknowledging our sins to one another, it’s precisely because he won’t be there with us throughout the rest of the week – but our friends will be and our chosen companions – and so we encourage one another through the fasts, and to come to liturgy, and to pray, and admonish one another to stand strong against the world and the passions, and lift one another up, sharing in prayer and the readings of the holy fathers. 4S exists specifically for the things and the times from which the priest is necessarily and appropriately absent.

    To your other question, I don’t know that we want to answer *precisely* where we meet – not sure that’s relevant – but lets just say we meet in homes. Right now, we’re not meeting at all. One of the core members lost a family member and immediately took on the responsibilities of two families, so we’ve suspended meeting for now. We may or may not resume, as God may provide. Of course, we still encourage one another to keep the faith and follow the fathers as often as we may.

  7. []

    12 years ago

    Joseph, we have prayed for you. And our prayers are with you still. May God have mercy on you and save me the sinner by your prayers.

  8. Matthew

    12 years ago


    I live in Mass, and find this site to be a great resource. Thank you for putting it up. I’m wondering if your group is still meeting and if the site is still being updated. I wish there were a local chapter that I could attend, but the website is the next best thing. Please give us an update when you can.

    Thank you.

  9. []

    12 years ago

    We are not currently meeting. We’re dormant. We were started by two core members, one of whom had a serious change in responsibilities based on a death in the family. While we suspended indefinitely, it looks likely to be permanent. But who knows?

  10. Matthew

    12 years ago

    Well, even though you don’t meet, I hope you keep this site up. It’s a great resource. There are not many groups out there like this that I’ve been able to find.


  11. Fr. Jim Wright

    12 years ago

    I am curious.
    My best recollection is that St Seraphim said. “Acquire the Holy Spirit and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” Do you have a verifiable source for this quotation?
    Thank you.

    • orthopraxis

      12 years ago

      It was relayed to me anecdotally as something traveling orally among orthodox communities. I would say more reliable research starts here

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