THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF FATHER SERAPHIM SLOBODSKY
Editors note: This remarkable testament from 1970 presents a true Christian attitude to our life and our death.
With all my soul I ask everyone's forgiveness and truly consider myself the greatest sinner on earth. I witness before God that the Lord granted me a great mercy in my life: to have had wonderful parents and a life's companion with remarkable, fine and lofty qualities, my wife Elena Alexeevna, who was a selfless helper to me in everything, especially in the difficult moments of my life, and it was only with her help that I could have achieved the few good works that the Lord granted to me. May all of our spiritual leaders recognize what a great, and maybe even decisive, role a Matushka plays in the labors of a Batiushka. God's mercy was also manifested for me in that my wife's parents were exactly the same, living strictly in Divine truth, as did my parents. For the family, as we well know, is the armament and means of establishing the Holy Church of Christ on earth. The great St Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow, says: 'Within the family lie the seeds of all which is revealed and developed in the great family known as the state.'
I ask my children, Tatiana, Alexei and Vera, to always remain truthful and honest, and, of course, to remain faithful Russian Orthodox Christians. And not to forget our teachings and testaments, for then the Lord will grant you His great and abundant mercies and will preserve you from all evil.
I ask that you forgive me for everything. I will use the words of a pious priest: 'Maybe I shown someone more love, and less to another. Maybe, from my feebleness, I neglected someone? or did not help in time. When invited, maybe I came too late. Maybe I simply failed to show up. Forgive me.'
I ask forgiveness from my ecclesiastical leaders for unintentional sorrows, inflicted by my words or deeds, for I always, to the best of my abilities, acted in accordance with my feeling and sense of conscience, in the defense of Divine truth. May the All-Merciful Lord forgive us all!
I not only ask forgiveness, but I express my heartfelt gratitude to all my relatives, friends, acquaintances and parishioners for being patient and understanding with me with my innumerable failings and sins. And if I caused, through my actions, feelings of accusation or enmity within any of you, I ask that you graciously forgive me for this, as do I with all my heart forgive everyone. Let us always remember the law of God: 'Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.'
I very much ask that everyone pray for me, the sinner, for the peace of my soul, and I in turn, if Divine mercy allows it, will fervently pray for all of you, so that we all, upon the resurrection of the dead, will meet in the future life and be with God.
I have a firm inner desire that no one write any obituaries about me, and I think, my dear ones, that you will fulfill this last wish of mine. I would also like a minimum of flowers, and instead, do a good deed in my memory and for the repose of my soul.
Let us hope for the mercy of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Defeater of hell and death, and His Most-Pure Mother and all the saints.
Our hope is the true Orthodox Faith in Christ. This faith is expressed in two words which never were nor would be in any other natural religion, and do not have the full, brilliant, all-defeating Divine power in other Christian religions, the words granted to us by God, only to us in our Orthodox Faith. It is with these words of real eternal life that I greet you.
HRISTOS VOSKRESE! CHRIST IS RISEN!