On the feast of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY was granted a special blessing: during the festal services, the brotherhood and faithful prayed before an icon of the beloved Russian saint with segments of his hair, a piece of the rock upon which he prayed, and a part of his clothing. The icon was placed for all to venerate in the middle of the church, and an akathist to St. Seraphim was sung before it during Matins.
The icon originally belonged to Fr. Ioann Storojev. Born in Arzamas in 1878, Ioann Storojev spent most of his childhood near Diveevo Monastery. Growing up at Diveevo nurtured a special love and veneration for St. Seraphim of Sarov in the young Ioann. The icon bears an inscription on the back, which indicates that it was present at the baptism of Fr. Ioann’s youngest son, Seraphim: "The Sacrament of Holy Baptism of our third son, Seraphim, was performed before this holy icon on April 8, 1912. In blessing the infant Seraphim with this holy icon, I fervently beseech God’s holy saint, the venerable Seraphim, wonderworker of Sarov, to intercede before the throne of the Lord and His Pure Mother, that the steps of the newly-enlightened [Seraphim] are directed on the path of righteousness and truth."
In 1912, Storojev left a promising legal career to be ordained to the priesthood, and was assigned to a parish in Yekaterinburg. In 1918, Fr. Ioann served several times in the Ipatiev House, where Tsar Nicholas II and his family were incarcerated. On Sunday, July 14, he performed the last service attended by the Royal Family before their martyrdom. Following the occupation of Yekaterinburg by the White Army, Fr. Ioann immigrated to Harbin, China, where he lived until his death in 1927.
The icon and relics were carefully kept in the Storojev family for over a century. Holy Trinity Monastery received the icon several days ago from the descendants of Fr. Ioann Storojev, just in time for the feast of St. Seraphim. Archimandrite Luke and the monastery brotherhood express their sincere gratitude to the Storojev family for entrusting the safekeeping of this holy icon to the monastery, where it will be available for all to venerate. Special thanks go to Nicholas Nicholson, who recommended Holy Trinity Monastery as a worthy repository for the icon to the Storojev family, and who greatly facilitated its transfer to the monastery.