Monasticism/St. Seraphim of Sarov



  1. Students should be able to say the word “monasticism” and to know a little about the life of a monk.
  2. Students should be able to tell the story of St. Seraphim and say his name.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Tell the story of St. Seraphim of Sarov:

Many years ago there lived in the land of Russia a boy named Prohor. Prohor was very sick as a child, but the Theotokos told him in a dream that he would soon be well. In a few days, a procession with an icon of the Theotokos came by his house. His mother took Prohor out and , when he venerated the icon, he was healed. Soon Prohor wanted to be a monk.

When he was a young man, Prohor set out on a journey. His mother gave him a metal cross. He wore this cross the rest of his life. He walked through the forests of evergreen trees, with streams and flowers and meadows, and finally came to the great monastery of Sarov. There Prohor entered as a novice. He worked in the kitchens; he read and prayed. Especially, he liked to carve crosses out of cedar wood. Finally, young Prohor became a full monk and was given the name Seraphim.

After several years, Seraphim decided to live alone in a hut in the woods – a life of constant prayer. He had only one room with a wood stove. All kinds of animals came to visit. Even a bear became his friend and brought honey. Seraphim fed the bear bread with his own hands. He became so close to God that people said his face shone.

Some thieves came to steal Seraphim’s riches. They beat him up, but found only a few potatoes. From that day on, Seraphim had to walk with a cane.

Finally, God told Seraphim to move back to the monastery. People all over Russia had heard of this holy man and came for his prayers and advice. Thousands were healed when Seraphim prayed for them. A little girl named Natasha was badly burned with boiling water. She went to sleep with a picture of Seraphim in her arms; that night Seraphim appeared to her in a dream and Natasha was healed. She later visited Seraphim and recognized the old man of her dream. It is impossible to tell all the stories of people who loved Seraphim, the monk who shone with the love of Jesus in the forests of Russia.


Add St. Seraphim with the bear to your timeline.


  1. Feed the Elephant True/False Questions:

True                                                     False

            Seraphim’s childhood name was Prohor.        Seraphim’s name was Peter.

            Seraphim had a friend who was a bear.          Seraphim had a friend who was a tiger.

            Seraphim lived in the land of Russia.             Seraphim lived in America.


  1. Discuss monastic life: What is a monk? How does a monk live? Some live alone and some in communities called monasteries. Repeat the words “monk” and “monastery.” Ask the students what a typical day in their lives is like – what do they do, eat, wear, type of home, etc. Now take a monk in a monastery and contrast each aspect. Then a hermit. Try a game of “silence”; how long can the students stay silent?


  1. Make St. Seraphim’s bear: Cut each of the three pieces out of brown construction paper or cardstock. Draw eyes and mouth and color. Cut slits as shown. Insert tabs of head into smaller oval, and tabs of smaller oval into larger outline, making a 3-dimensional bear.


  1. Close with prayer: Lord, I ask St. Seraphim to pray for me that I will grow closer to You every day.