The Church of St.Serafim Sarovsky
The History of Our Church.
Holy Russia. Since Grand Prince St. Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apls lit up the full of divine grace fire of the Christian Faith, Saint Russia has been the lampion of it. "We did not know weather we were in the heaven or on the earth, for there is no such beauty on the earth and we do not know how to describe it", - reported the messengers of Grand Prince, which attended the Patriarch's divine service in the Greek orthodox cathedral of St.Sophia in Konstantinopol.
The impression produced by the orthodox temple and the orthodox service was so great, that our ancestors, once seen and partaken the sweet, did not want to taste the bitterness of the heathenism any longer. Russia became christened and the Lord's Churches started to appear in its boundless lands.
The Church is the Lord's House. Every believer, passing the church, takes off the hat and reverently crosses.
The Church is the center of a Christian's spiritual life. Here he participates in the sacraments and prays together with other members of the Church. The Church is a sacrifice to our Lord, the symbol of love of all Church members to Him. Lots of churches were constructed in Russia by our devout ancestors. But then the times of godlessness came, and many sacred places were destroyed. The churches were not constructed, but violated and pulled down.
The fate of the amazingly beautiful, small and warm church of St.Serafim in Alexandrov in the railway station square was tragic. It was one of the first in Russia, which had St.Serafim as a Patron Saint after his apotheosis in 1903.
In 1888 at the railway station of Alexandrov, which was situated at Moscow-Yaroslavl-Archangelsk railroad, there was constructed a stone chapel with an iconostasis in it. It was devoted to the divine escape of the tsar family during the train accident next to the Borki station at Kursk-Kharkov railroad and it served for the employees of the railroad. Since that time, there was a tradition to serve the night service in the church on Sundays and on Church holidays. Together with the development of the northern railroad and construction of the new train rotunda, the number of population at the adjacent to the station building streets was growing. The necessity to construct the new church became obvious. The management of railroad assigned means for that purpose. After several appeals to the Mother Superior of the Assumption Convent hegumenness Evfrasia, she finally approved the construction. Archbishop of Vladimir and Suzdal Sergiy (Spassky) gave his blessing for the construction of the church which had St.Serafim Sarovsky as Patron Saint.
In August 1904 the new church was ceremonially laid. Valentin Chekalin, an engineer, became the supervisor of the construction. Main construction works were already finished by the end of 1904. In 1905 the interior decoration and provision of the necessary in-house facilities were completed.
The church was solemnly dedicated on October 4, 1905 by the bishop of Vladimir and Suzdal Nikon. The priests and deacons of Vladimir and Alexandrov participated in the service. On the next day the regular daily services started in the church. Later, the services were held on Sundays and holidays by the clergy of the Assumption Convent supported by the choir of the same Convent.
The church itself was constructed in the Russian style with a high tapered roof crowned by a dome and a gilded cross. The pilasters were decorated ornamented tiles, the portals had arches on the columns in the Russian style.
In 1910 the Church was painted. The paintings were accomplished in a Byzantine style on a high art level and wonderfully matched the iconostasis made of fumed oak.
The frescos, which were placed on the lower level of iconostasis, represented the facts for St.Serafim's life. On the lower level there were frescos devoted to the Gospel events. On the bishop's stall there was an icon "Resurrection of Christ", which was placed in the beautiful icon case made of oak. During the night service the light fell on the icon and the passengers of the trains passing by could see it. Everybody, who crossed himself, took St.Serafim's blessing with him.
In 1928 the church was closed. Later the sanctuaries, the roof, the southern portal, the northern portal with the belfry were dismounted and surrounded by walls. The walls served for the worldly matters. The church was surrounded by the canteen, kitchen, shops and it was hard to believe that there was St.Serafim's church inside.
While thinking over the fate of the church, one feels both delight and anxiety. The delight – as already more than 100 years passed after the apotheosis of St.Serafim. It is a great honour to keep the church of St.Serafim on our land in expectation of its recovery. And the anxiety – as the bureaucratic machine is very slow to move; as some responsible for the church people remain indifferent to its fate.
Many people try to come back to their orthodox roots, many people consider themselves to be believers.
"The true faith cannot survive without the deeds; those ones who really believe, they always perform kind deeds", - taught St.Serafim.
The kindest deed for every believer is to restore the desecrated church. There are not many temples in Russia, which have St.Serafim as a Patron Saint due to the ordeals of the beginning of XX century. Lets preserve the shrine. Lets correct the mistakes of our fathers, atone the sins and restore the church and our souls. Lets ignite the fire of the Christian Faith in the lampion – Holy Russia, dressed up in the gold of the renovated domes.
For the current developments in our Church please refer to the section "Restoration of the Church".