south of Red Bluff on Interstate 5, there is a grisly sight: a detached,
bleeding arm by the side of the highway, the white fingers reaching out
toward the lanes of passing traffic.
is riveting, even though it is just a painting. The arm, perhaps 30 feet
long, is outlined in red on a semi-trailer set in a field. Painted above
it, in big red letters, are the words, "This Blood Poured Out for Your
Sins." Then, as suddenly as it appears, the bleeding arm is past.
From Red Bluff, California 36 snakes westerly for 49
miles through sparsely populated foothills to the mountain hamlet of Platina,
population 60, at the edge of the Trinity National Forest. Nearly trackless
timberland stretches more than 100 miles to the north and to the south.
To the west, tiny settlements with names such as Peanut and Mad River
dot the state road as it wends toward the distant Pacific.
Here, on the broad shoulder of a mountain ridge high
above Platina, is where Eugene Rose, a 1956 Pomona graduate, chose to
leave the world.
the first two days after death, the soul enjoys relative freedom and can
visit places on Earth that were dear to it. On or about the third day,
the soul passes through legions of evil spirits that obstruct its path
and accuse it of various sins. The soul must pass these tests to avoid
being immediately cast into Gehenna. If it successfully passes through,
the soul for the next 37 days visits the abysses of heaven and hell, not
knowing where it will remain. On the 40th day, its place is appointed.
It will remain there until the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment.
This interpretation of ancient teachings of the Orthodox
Church is summarized in a book, "The Soul After Death," which is described
by its publishers as Russia's most popular work on the afterlife, although
some Orthodox Christians strongly disagree with aspects of it. In Russia,
despite the decades of Soviet suppression, Orthodoxy is, in effect, the
national religion. Recent polls show that half to two-thirds of Russian
citizens consider themselves Orthodox. Typewritten installments of "The
Soul After Death" were distributed through the samizdat, the underground
press, before the fall of communism.
Other works by the same reclusive Orthodox cleric, known
as Fr. Seraphim, have also gained a following among the Russian faithful,
and his ascetic life in the wilderness has assumed almost mythic proportions.
Among some pious Russians, Fr. Seraphim is the object of veneration. In
the dark hours when desperate people pray for miracles, some direct their
prayers to him.
Before he became Fr. Seraphim, his name was Eugene Rose.
know, Father Seraphim is really for us Russians; he speaks to us in a
special way," a young Orthodox Russian told a recent visitor from America.
Rose, however, visited Russia only in his heart; except for brief out-of-state
travels, he spent his life in California. Born in 1934, he grew up in
San Diego, where his father was a caretaker at Balboa Stadium. His mother
was an ardent Protestant who sang in church choirs and frequently consulted
"I think a large part of who Eugene was, was because
of my grandmother," says Rose's niece Cathy Scott, author of a biography
called Seraphim Rose: The True Story and Private Letters. Rose's
mother could be stern to an extreme, Scott says. After Eugene's older
brother, Franklin, accidentally set the garage on fire while playing with
matches at age 4, his mother took Franklin inside and held his hand to
a lighted stove to show him that fire hurt.
Rose's mother had high expectations for her children,
relatives say. Eugene excelled at school and received a scholarship to
attend Pomona. During college, he immersed himself in philosophy, classical
music and literature, theatre and languages. He moved within a circle
of friends inclined toward intellectual and artistic pursuits.
"We were outsiders, and not unhappy about it," says
Laurence McGilvery '54, an antiquarian. "We didn't conform. We didn't
join fraternities, we didn't drink beer; we were a more open and tolerant
group in a time of heightened intolerance." Rose, somewhat shy, was tall,
slender and darkly handsome, with eyes that burned steadily, like blue
flames. "He had an acute understanding of music, literature and philosophy,"
"He was the most talented person I've known," says Dirk
van Nouhuys '56, a writer. "He was always caring and thoughtful, and extremely
intelligent and able. He was brilliant with languages and very talented
at sports. I thought of him as a person with a broadly inquiring character
and mind. He was someone who chose to make his own way in life to an unusual
It is a life both famous and obscure.
"We were the closest of friends, but there was this
huge area of himself that he didn't disclose to anybody," says McGilvery.
"And it's clear now that it was the most important part."
the parlance of traditional Orthodox monasticism, a newly tonsured monk
dies to the world and to his former life in order to find a new life in
God. He forgets himself and leaves the world to seek true spiritual wisdom.
Physical isolation helps the soul reject the worldly way of life.
The first time Eugene Rose died was when he was made
a monk on the mountainside above Platina in 1970, at age 36. He and another
man committed to Orthodoxy, a Russian American named Gleb Podmoshensky,
had by then been living ascetic on the mountain for two years. They had
established a skete, or small brotherhood, not as large or formal as a
monastery. They cooked their meals outside on a camp stove, sometimes
in knee-deep snow, and hauled water up from the base of the mountain in
an old pickup truck. They published a journal they called The Orthodox
Word, using a hand press Rose had bought for $200. They later bought
a used Linotype machine and a generator to run it, and their flow of publications
grew to include calendars and books.
Rose grew vegetables, with mixed results, in the reddish
soil. The monks ate no meat, but did eat fish. The monastic rules they
followed permitted no unnecessary talking, or casual reclining, or crossing
one's legs when seated. The skete was established not as a place of retreat
but of seclusion and struggle. "We must have a minimum of 'conveniences,'"
Rose had written while planning his departure from the world, "...and
trust in God instead of devices."
was a philosophy major when he started at Pomona in 1952.
"He was an unusual student," says Professor of Philosophy
Frederick Sontag. "He was unusual in his demeanor and the way he talked
and the kinds of questions he asked." Just before graduation, Rose asked
Sontag for a letter of recommendation.
"Without question, Mr. Rose is an individualist," Sontag
wrote, "but, just because of this single-minded tendency, he is quite
likely to make a name for himself in his chosen field. He is completely
serious about his work, and his native intellectual ability is undoubtedly
of the first order. Since his background was limited economically and
intellectually prior to his college years, he is still exploring and trying
to find his place in the academic world, but I feel that he is now very
close to the specific area in which he may be able to make a significant
contribution. He still has trouble with communication, but this should
straighten itself out as he settles into his own area of specialty."
While at Pomona, Rose and some friends, including McGilvery,
heard a lecture by a former Anglican priest, Alan Watts, who had become
a celebrity convert to Zen Buddhism. Rose was captivated. He would go
on to study under Watts, who was known as a "beatnik guru," at the American
Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco. Rose eventually drifted from
the influence of Watts, deriding him as an "armchair Buddhist." But it
was at the Academy that Rose met a Chinese Taoist scholar named Gi-ming
Shien, who had an indelible effect on him. Shien's work focused on the
ancient Chinese approach to learning. He valued traditional Chinese viewpoints
and original classical texts over modern interpretations. Rose learned
to read ancient Chinese so he could plumb the early Taoist texts.
Shien's viewpoint was similar to that of the French
metaphysicist René Guénon, who had perhaps the greatest influence
on Rose's philosophical development. Rose devoured Guénon's books,
reading them in the original French when he could not find translations.
Guénon decried the flagging of the spirit of ancient cultures in
contemporary Western society. Equating newness with progress was wrong,
he believed. The ultimate truth, he suggested, could be found in the wisdom
of the ages.
"It was Rene Guénon who taught me to seek and love
the Truth above all else and to be unsatisfied with anything else," Rose
we wish to call the passions by a common name," said St. Isaac the Syrian,
a seventh-century cleric and one of the Holy Fathers of Orthodoxy, "we
call them the world. But when we wish to distinguish them by their special
names, we call them passions. The passions are the following: love of
riches, desire for possessions, bodily pleasure which comes from sexual
passion, love of honor which gives rise to envy, lust for power, arrogance
and pride of position, the craving to adorn oneself with luxurious clothes
and vain ornaments, the itch for human glory which is a source of rancor
and resentment, and physical fear. Where these passions cease to be active,
there the world is dead ... Someone has said of the Saints that while
alive they were dead; for though living in the flesh, they did not live
for the flesh.
"See for which of these passions you are alive. Then
you will know how far you are alive to the world, and how far you are
dead to it."
Platina, Rose lived for years in an uninsulated shack without running
water or electricity, with a tiny wood-burning stove for warmth. He built
the cabin himself of salvaged lumber on land his parents helped him and
Podmoshensky buy. In winter, the silent pine forest that pressed in on
their outpost was often deep in snow. In summer, the heat could be stifling.
The cabin, called a cell in the monastic tradition,
was about 8 feet by 10 feet. A tiny room attached to the main structure
contained a small shelf of books that served as Rose's library. Rose slept
in a corner on a bed made of two boards.
From this shadowy cell, lit with candles and oil lamps,
came a torrent of writings that exalt an ancient, literal, traditionalist
view of the Orthodox faith, one that is considered extreme, even fanatical,
by some clerics. Rose's monastic brethren call it "suffering Orthodoxy."
From here also came Rose's most famous line, an oft-repeated
apocalyptic warning: "It's later than you think! Hasten, therefore, to
do the work of God."
Orthodoxy is rent by a long-running feud between the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia, to which Rose belonged, and the Church within
Russia. Those loyal to the Church Abroad contend that it is the true,
free Church, preserver of the piety that existed before the Bolsheviks.
They say that the Church hierarchy within Russia has been corrupted by
decades of subservience to the Soviet regime. The Church Abroad, on the
other hand, is regarded by its critics in Orthodoxy as a separatist group
mired in very old, obsolete doctrines.
Much of Rose's work seemed to bypass Church hierarchy
altogether, speaking directly to the Russian laity, as well as to American
converts. His admiration for Russia's people and their struggles was undisguised.
Rose, fervently anti-communist, suggested that communism's fall, and the
resurrection of Holy Russia, would presage the end of the world.
"Russia, the first country to experience the Communist
yoke, is also the first country to begin to wake up from it and survive
it," he said in a 1981 lecture. "Despite the continued reign of Communist
tyranny, atheism has not captured the soul of Russia, and the religious
awakening that can been seen now in Russia is undoubtedly only the beginning
of something immense and elemental: the recovery of the soul of a whole
Rose died to the world and became a monk, and later a hieromonk, or priest-monk,
he would still come out of the mountains about once a year to visit his
mother. They maintained a loving correspondence until shortly before his
second, bodily death in 1982.
Once, while Rose was visiting his mother in the San
Diego suburb of La Mesa, he walked to a shopping center a few miles from
her home. It was August, according to Rose's niece Cathy Scott, and the
temperature was over 100 degrees. Rose strode through the suburban neighborhoods
in his heavy wool cassock, a towering, mysterious figure, his graying
beard curling in long tendrils over his chest. People stared.
His sister, worried about him in the heat, went to pick
him up in her car. "You'd think they'd never seen a priest before," Rose
said jokingly to her. She asked him why he hadn't just driven their mother's
car on the errand.
"She won't let me use it," he said. "I backed over her
mailbox five years ago, and she's never forgotten."
a cool late afternoon in June 1956, while waiting for a train in Los Angeles,
Eugene Rose, who was just shy of 22, wrote a letter to Laurence McGilvery.
"My dear Larry," it began, "I am slightly drunk, having
drunk a bottle of chablis at Fred Harvey's Railroad Restaurant (Taix's
had a long line; at Fred's the waitress didn't know what chablis was.)
I am rather stupid for not having told you, to your face, certain things
before. My slight drunkenness gives me an opportunity, though it's about
time I told you when sober. If we are friends at all, such things cannot
"Fact number one: my mother has discovered, rather illegitimately
(I shall tell you of it later) that I am homosexual; if you have not surmised
the fact already, it is time you know of it. I have not quite been kicked
out of the house, but I probably shall not return after September. My
mother was quite hysterical, but my father persuaded her that I am only
'sick.' I have agreed to go to my friend's psychiatrist in S.F., which
I was rather interested in doing for other reasons, at parental expense.
"I suppose you have also surmised by now that I shall
live this summer, and sleep, with a young man I love, and who loves me.
"I have been very stupid in Claremont. I have hardly
been a friend to you. Forgive me. It is perhaps not Claremont of which
I was sick, but myself. I suppose I have not told you earlier of myself
because I feared you would regard me a bug, a monster, or merely 'sick,'
as my parents regard me. I am certainly 'sick,' as all men are sick who
are ever absent from the love of God, but I regard my sexual inclinations
as perfectly 'normal,' in a sense I do not as yet understand.
"I shall be happy to hear from you, and to see you sometime
McGilvery reassured Rose of their friendship. They remained
close for years, even though McGilvery did not share Rose's accelerating
religious fervor. "He would have known that I would have scoffed at the
idea of devils roaming around the Earth and holy oils that could cure
something," McGilvery says. "I could have argued about his beliefs to
the end of my life."
He never got the chance. After Rose became a monk, McGilvery
never heard from him again. He sent Rose a Christmas card year after year,
but there was never a response. Once, a mutual friend visited Rose at
Platina and asked him whether he had gotten the cards. Rose said that
he had, and the friend asked why he had not written McGilvery back. "What
would I say to him?" Rose replied.
a lecture titled "The Orthodox World-View," delivered shortly before his
death, Fr. Seraphim Rose said: "Anyone who looks at our contemporary life
from the perspective of the normal life lived by people in earlier times--say
Russia, or America, or any country of Western Europe in the 19th century--cannot
help but be struck by the fact of how abnormal life has become today.
The whole concept of authority and obedience, of decency and politeness,
of public and private behavior--all have changed drastically, have been
turned upside down except in a few isolated pockets of people--usually
Christians of some kind--who try to preserve the so-called 'old-fashioned'
way of life...
"It is obvious to any Orthodox Christian who is aware
of what is going on around him today, that the world is coming to its
end. The signs of the times are so obvious that one might say that the
world is crashing to its end." Rose went on to list some of these signs,
which included: "The abnormality of the world. Never have such weird and
unnatural manifestations and behavior been accepted as a matter of course
as in our days. Just look at the world around you: what is in the newspapers,
what kind of movies are being shown, what is on television, what it is
that people think is interesting and amusing, what they laugh at: it is
"The wars and rumors of wars, each more cold and merciless
than the preceding, and all overshadowed by the threat of the unthinkable
universal nuclear war, which could be set off by the touch of a button.
"The increasing centralization of information on and
power over the individual, represented in particular by [an] enormous
new computer in Luxembourg, which has the capacity to keep a file of information
on every man living; its code number is 666 and it is nicknamed 'the beast'
by those who work on it..."
"I could go on with details like this, but my purpose
is not to frighten you, but to make you aware of what is happening around
us. It is truly later than we think; the Apocalypse is now."
Christensen was a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz,
when Fr. Seraphim Rose gave two lectures there in 1981.
"He was the real catalyst in my conversion to Orthodoxy,"
says Christensen, now a hieromonk known as Fr. Damascene. "He changed
my life. I felt that he was a very important, major figure for our times,
someone who had found the answers to modern Western man's search for God
and the meaning in life. So, very soon after he reposed, I started gathering
material about him and writing about him."
About 10 years later, in 1993, Christensen published
Not of This World: The Life and Teaching of Fr. Seraphim Rose, Pathfinder
to the Heart of Ancient Christianity. The 1,000-page biography is
richly detailed, drawing on interviews with Rose's friends, letters, information
from relatives, Rose's own writings, school and college records and other
"I think it's a nice work of fiction," says Cathy Scott,
Rose's niece, who faults in particular its depictions of Rose's early
years and of his relationships with his family and friends. Her biography,
published last fall, presents a distinctly different but no less striking
portrait of Rose, especially of the life he led before he joined the Orthodox
Church. Her book is filled with examples of Rose's letters to his friends--scattershot
musings on life, God, philosophy and culture--and the simple, homey notes
he sent his mother about snowfalls or gardening at Platina. It was Scott's
book that, to the consternation of many Orthodox Christians, publicly
revealed Rose's homosexual activity before his conversion; Christensen,
though aware of it, had chosen not to mention it.
The foreword to Scott's book was written by a convert
to Orthodoxy named Craig Young, now known as Fr. Alexey. Rose had been
appointed Young's spiritual father, and the two spent considerable time
together, keeping in touch by letter when Young left the Platina area.
In a review of Christensen's book published in the journal Orthodox America,
Young called it "a treasure and a disappointment, a joy and a sadness,
an inspiration and a scandal." He says that the biography was distorted
by the influence of Podmoshensky, who had bitter differences with the
church hierarchy after Rose's death.
As a biographer of Rose and disseminator of his teachings,
Christensen, a fluent writer, has been to a large degree the caretaker
of Rose's legacy as well. He says he is not interested in debating whose
biography presents a truer picture of Rose. But he defends the accuracy
of his work and says there is a reason for the approach he took.
"If you follow the general tenor of our society today,"
he says, "there's a belief you should just tell everything. But from an
Orthodox Christian point of view, you don't necessarily need to tell everything
about a person. Orthodox Christians, like all Christians who truly respect
the Holy Scriptures, regard homosexual relations as a sin. Father Seraphim
died to that when he converted to the Orthodox faith. When I researched
the material about his life, I wanted to respect what Father Seraphim
would have wished to be presented in the book. And I know that he would
not have wished that to be presented."
was Rose's gay partner in San Francisco who introduced him to the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. But while Rose was immersing himself
in the mystique of ancient Orthodoxy, his partner, who had written a book
about the Church, was losing interest in it. Soon the Church took Rose
wholly, and he and his partner split up.
A social doctrine adopted by the Council of Bishops
of the Moscow Patriarchate last year describes homosexuality as "a sinful
injury to human nature" to be "treated by sacraments, prayer, fasting,
repentance and the reading of the Holy Scriptures."
Referring to his young adult years before he became
fully involved in the Orthodox Church, Rose once said: "I was in hell.
I know what hell is."
narrow, arched doorway in a high white stucco wall opens into the courtyard
at the mountainside skete Rose co-founded, now a full-fledged monastery
with about a dozen priests, monks and brothers in residence. Shadows grow
long in mid-afternoon as the sun creeps behind the treed ridge rising
above the compound. The quietude is occasionally pierced by unearthly
shrieks from the monastery's peacocks.
At 5 p.m., before the Vespers service, the church bell
is rung nine times, in reference to the ninth hour--when Christ died--and
silent, bearded men in black cassocks and black cylindrical hats called
klobuks emerge from the compound's library and print shop and from cells
in the pine-shrouded woods. Inside the darkened church, icons of saints
and other holy ones cover the walls and crowd every shadowed recess. Many
are painted--written, in Orthodox terminology--in muted egg tempera tones,
using a process perfected in the Middle Ages. Oil lamps cast a pale yellow
glow, and the smell of frankincense is strong.
Arriving clerics bow deeply and cross themselves before
entering the main body of the church, which is open, with no pews. Some
cross themselves and bow twice before certain icons, touching the right
hand to the floor, before moving forward to kiss the icons. The lips may
not touch the face depicted on the icon, only the feet or hands or clothing.
In the dark, quiet church, a young monk sings in a hushed
monotone: "Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy..." Although
the prayerful chants are in English, they sound centuries old. In the
December chill and the flickering light of the lampadas, the black-robed
priests and monks sing of suffering and redemption and everlasting life.
After the service, they gather at a long, thick wooden table in the nearby
refectory, warmed by a wood-burning stove, for a supper of vegetable stew
with bread, accompanied by the reading of a spiritual text. They will
rise well before dawn for the Matins service.
Eugene Rose is buried on the slope that rises from the
middle of the compound. Over his grave is a rectangular wooden platform
with roughly hewn benches and handrails. In the center is an empty wooden
sarcophagus adorned with an oil lamp and candle, with an Orthodox cross
at the head. The boards of this cenotaph, beneath which Rose's body lies
buried in the ground, have been stained dark with oil and wax.
When some pious Orthodox visit the grave, they leave
with a piece of wood from rotting boards or a handful of dirt or a few
drops of oil from the lamp. In the Orthodox tradition, holy relics and
remains of saints are objects of veneration.
was pronounced dead Sept. 2, 1982, at a hospital in Redding. For days
he had endured agonizing stomach pain and had kept to his cell, resisting
entreaties that he go to a doctor. When his condition worsened, monks
drove him to the emergency room. It was found during surgery that a blood
clot had blocked a vein leading from the intestines, parts of which had
become gray and gangrenous. He lingered for a week in intensive care.
Fr. Alexey Young was at his bedside near the end. "He
was unable to speak at this point," he says. "We began to softly sing
his favorite church hymn, for Good Friday, in Russian chant. As we sang,
we saw two tears come down his cheeks. And we wept also, knowing that
soon he would hear this hymn sung not by mortal men and women, but by
Almost immediately, there were reports of visions and
miracles. A woman whose son had received spiritual guidance from Rose
said that, the day before Rose died, she received a visitation. "I was
working in the back room," she said, "and at the same time thinking how
I wished I was at the hospital with all of you. Suddenly, time stopped,
and in front of me I saw Father Seraphim all shining, wearing glittering,
silvery vestments--these are the closest words I can use to describe the
light. I caught my breath and said, 'Oh, Father Seraphim!' I was too astonished
to say anything except 'thanks.' Time was not running--all was now. I
will make no interpretation of this event, at this time or later. I felt
comforted, and I hope that this event comforts you also. I am very unworthy,
and I don't know what more to say about this."
Many who knew Rose, and some who have only read his
works, say that he was a saint. Whether he will be approved for canonization
in the Orthodox Church is another matter. The path to glorification begins
with the faithful, when they turn from praying for the soul of the deceased
to requesting his intercession before God. The extent of this veneration,
including the writing of icons, is a factor, as are verified miracles
before or after the righteous one's death. Uncovering of the remains and
transfer of the relics to a holy site have been a tradition of the glorification
ritual since ancient times. If the remains are well preserved or the bones
emit a sweet fragrance, it is often considered a sign the deceased has
found favor with God.
who knew him saw very different sides of Eugene Rose.
"I wasn't close to him," says Cathy Scott, "but I don't
think anyone was. He wouldn't let any of us in the family hug him, he
was so disciplined. I think he was lonely. I think he was close to God."
Dirk van Nouhuys says, "I thought of Eugene as a person
who looks for answers to life's problems. Most people keep on looking,
but Eugene stopped. I think what we missed is the degree of suffering
that was within him. His outward personality kind of obscured the inner
desperation he must have felt to have embraced such a rigid system."
Fr. Alexey Young said shortly after Rose's death that
some people, "who could not understand either his writings or his sermons,
and judged him primarily by his appearance, saw his dusty and tattered
robes and long, matted beard, and disdained him. Behind his back, he was
more than once called a 'dirty monk.' The fact is, he was a true monk,
an angel in the flesh, dead to this world but alive to the next, and more
concerned about purifying his soul than adorning his body. His example
was a reproach to us all."
Gleb Podmoshensky, Rose's monastic partner, once said
of him: "Above all, Father Seraphim knew how to suffer."
Fr. Damascene Christensen, who is working on the third
edition of his biography of Rose, says, "The real Father Seraphim is the
man that he became. He had been a lost but searching sinner, and in converting
to Orthodox Christianity, he truly repented. He once wrote, 'When I became
a Christian I voluntarily crucified my mind, and all the suffering that
I bear has only been a source of joy for me. I have lost nothing, but
gained everything.' He was able to cut through the deceptions of our times,
the false philosophies, and go to the heart of the truth."
Laurence McGilvery cherishes a different sort of memory.
Well before Rose left the world to become an ascetic monk, he and McGilvery
were lunching in San Francisco. "His sandwich came with a pickle and mine
did not," McGilvery says. "We both silently observed this, and finally
he said, quietly, 'Have a pickle,' and I ate it. Years later, while he
was walking with my wife, he told her: 'Once Larry did the strangest thing
when we were having lunch together. My plate had a pickle, and his did
not. I said, 'I have a pickle,' and he inexplicably just picked it up
and ate it."
When his wife later told him what Rose had said, McGilvery,
amused, wrote a note under the words "The Misunderstanding," intending
to hand it to Rose so he could watch his expression when he read it. The
mystery's resolution "was the kind of Zen moment he was so attracted to,"
McGilvery says. More than 30 years later, McGilvery still has the note.
"This was before he disappeared," he says.
the daily rhythms of monastic life remained the same, there were changes
at Platina in the years after Rose was buried there. Fr. Alexey described
them in his Orthodox America article as "sad and, frankly, terrible events."
According to him, there was a falling out between Rose and Podmoshensky,
known as Fr. Herman, shortly before Rose's death.
Fr. Herman, the monastery's abbot, was suspended from
priestly duties in 1985 and formally defrocked four years later after
conflicts with the church hierarchy. The brotherhood that he and Rose
had co-founded in the 1960s was disassociated from the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia, but Fr. Herman continued to serve as a cleric
under a non-canonical bishop. Last fall, he retired from active involvement
in the brotherhood. He lives in seclusion not far from Platina.
In November, after existing for more than a decade outside
ecclesiastically sanctioned Orthodoxy, the brotherhood was accepted into
a diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Fr. Gerasim Eliel, a priest-monk
who has lived at the monastery since 1981, was appointed by the Serbian
Orthodox Church as the new abbot. The tiny cell that Rose constructed
in the woods and named Optina, after a famous Russian hermitage bloodily
suppressed under communism, is still in use. Fr. Damascene stays there
now. --Michael Balchunas
about Seraphim Rose, including articles, icons, and even miracles:
concerning Rose's "anti-Catholic" beliefs:
10th anniversary of Rose's "repose":