[St. Pachomius Library]

Fr. Seraphim Rose

XX Century
Eugene Rose was a California intellectual with conservative cultural views and a difficult private life who initially was attracted to the doctrine of Perennialism and immersed himself in Chinese Buddhism. However, he came into contact with Russian Orthodoxy and rejected both exoteric Buddhism and esoteric ecumenism to become a disciple of St. John Maximovich. As the monk (later hieromonk) Seraphim, he helped Fr. Herman Podmoshensky found a monastic community which eventually became the St. Herman Brotherhood; the two also published the influential conservative magazine Orthodox Word. An educated convert monk who spoke and wrote mainly in English, Fr. Seraphim was somewhat unusual in the mid-century ROCOR, and by the time of his early repose in 1982 was an extremely well-known but rather controversial figure. Intensely critical of nearly everything in post-Schism Western culture, he was nevertheless far more interested than many of his contemporaries in trying to baptise the modern world, and rather than ignore the ambient civilisation he continually inspected it through the patristic lens. In particular, he was among the first Orthodox theologians "of the postmodern age" -- a phrase he would surely have detested -- in that he saw no important distinction between "high" and "low" culture: both were equally a part of life, and equally in need of Christ.

Norman Hugh Redington

Under construction --- far from complete! Read with caution.


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