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on August 3, 2016
Ms. Scott published a shameless hack job with this book. It's hard to believe it was written for the money as Fr. Rose wasn't very famous or notorious. Perhaps it is a vendetta against the monastery Fr. Rose founded or against the co-founder Fr. Herman. Whichever it was it is an ill written book and most of the letters published in it are boring. Stick with hack writing on gangsta-rappers!
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on November 14, 2014
I'm listing many books I purchased here on Amazon so others can see what's in my Orthodox library. I will come back in the future and rate each one separately. Nearly all these books were suggested by a Romanian monk. I purchased all these books for him several years ago. I bought two copies each and kept one for me.

This book is a slam against Father Rose and many may be offended. Read with caution. Also keep in mind he struggled with sin as we all do.
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on December 8, 2004
This book, written by Fr. Seraphim's niece, is a fine journalistic biography of the great American apostle of Orthodoxy. It ought to be read as an example of how worldly people understand his life, but only a partial view (that why I give it four out of five stars). It's loving, and unflinchingly truthful from the perspective of the author. The caveat is that it reads like a biography of a Christian by a non-Christian. In other words, there are big gaps in understanding. It's worth having, but also read (and have) Fr. Damascene's biography, "Fr. Seraphim Rose" as well in order to get a full picture of this saintly man. "Blessed Father Seraphim, pray for us!"
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on October 19, 2000
For those moved by Fr. Seraphim's work and the example of his life, this book provides additional information about him. It reveals aspects of his life prior to his conversion that may shock some. However, the Church is full of saints that did the same sorts of things and, in some instances, worse. The fact that Eugene Rose struggled with certain sexual matters, with alcohol, or with passions in general testifies to the reality of the saving and transforming Grace of God and His Church. The letters provide insight into his intellectual development, his interest in philosophy and Oriental religions, his artistic tastes, as well as more personal matters related to his parents and internal struggles. We see his transformation, his admiration of St. John, and hear his measured, wise counsel that so many have come to value in his writings.
Given the nature of some of the 'revelations,' there is a worry that some may use this book in order to generate scandal. And while Fr. Seraphim has not been canonized, many are still alive that can testify to his piety and sanctity. Rather than causing scandal, we should use his example like that of St. Mary of Egypt and St. Moses the Ethiopian to encourage all Christians in their struggles and to know that sin distorts the authentic person that can be made whole again by the Grace of God. If one knows something of Fr. Seraphim's works and his life, this book adds an extra human dimension to our knowledge of him that is quite inspiring.
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on October 27, 2000
Fr. Seraphim (+1982) is a hero of the Faith, and this book certainly revealed some details of his life before his conversion that will shock some people. I totally agree with the reviewer below when comparing Fr. Seraphim's drastic change to that of St. Mary of Egypt or Moses of Ethiopa or other saints that led scadalous lives before their conversions.
After reading, I was somewhat shocked myself at what I found out. I began to think though, how Fr. Seraphim's witness grew even stronger now that these details of his early life have come to light. It is a true testament to the power of God to change lives when one desires to walk a path of repentance.
The letters are mostly fascinating, although at times the intellectual ideas put forth by (then) Eugene Rose are of dizzying complexity. Fr. Seraphim's mind was so keen, it is such a blessing that eventually chose you use it for God instead of empty intellectualism.
Much like the other book about Fr. Seraphim ("Not of This World"), this book will certainly cause a stir. There appears to be some sort of hidden agenda in it as well. I can't tell what it is, but I just didn't feel comfortable with the tone of the narrative writing. One reviewer commented that she seemed "out of her element" writing about this. That certainly makes sense when one realizes the author's other credits include true crime journalism and books about two "ganster rappers" (Tupac Shakur & Biggie Smalls.) I found it quite odd that a person that writes about gangster rap & true crime would have any interest in writing about Fr. Seraphim (despite the fact that he is the author's uncle.) I don't want to attack the author Cathy Scott, but there was just something strange about the book.
Having read both books about Fr. Seraphim, I can't say that I really recommed either one, although there are huge plusses and minuses to both. Overall, I'd have to give the edge to "Not of This World" eventhough it is full of questionable stuff too. My hope is that someday a fitting account of Fr. Seraphim's life will be published. Until then, my suggestion to getting to know this ascetic struggler of modern times is to read his writings, and not what others have written about him.
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on October 25, 2000
The worry over this book is, in some sense, warranted. However, the previous reviewer has written an excellent review which expresses my feelings almost precisely. I would only say that to place so much emphasis on the life of Eugene Rose before he became Orthodox (about 2/3 or more of the book), is almost missing the point of having become a monk. Orthodoxy and monasticism became Fr. Seraphim's life, and what went before was as though gone, overcome by faith, struggle, tears, and a life of prayer and repentance.
The writing itself is at times awkward, ill at ease - as though not in her element. The often confrontational attitude is obstructive to the content itself. Fortunately, the vast majority of the text is the letters of Eugene Rose and a few of Fr. Seraphim. The brilliance shines through in spite of the setting, so to speak. It will be important for readers to find out more about Fr. Seraphim than available in this book. Then one begins to get inspired about the struggles that he overcame.
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on January 23, 2003
As one who had already read NOT OF THIS WORLD by the Monk Damascene Christenssn, I did not find this book helpful. Whereas Ms. Scott's book purports to be the "true" story of Fr. Seraphim as opposed to the "sanitized" version penned by Fr. Damascene, I found it to be remarkably unrevealing of beloved Fr. Seraphim, focusing as it did on his pre-Christian years with an almost perfunctory treatment of the time after he became an Orthodox monk.
In addition, the writing is often a haphazard collection of random reminiscences about Fr. Seraphim, provided by those who appear to have little or no sympathy with the Orthodox faith--people who consider it "a waste" that Fr. Seraphim rejected an academic career in favor of his spiritual endeavors and who attempt to attribute his zeal as a monk to an unhealthy sense of guilt.
Furthermore, the narrative contains confusing, ill-placed passages of background information and often reads like a set of index cards compiled prior to the writing of a research paper as opposed to an cohesive organism that flows along with a clear focus. The author's voice is difficult to discern. One feels that the book was written by someone outside of Holy Orthodoxy who could not really "get" what Fr. Seraphim saw in it.
It has been said that a book about a saint should be written by a saint. In this case the adage seems especially apt. Fr. Damascene's book, though much longer, is well worth the time time it takes to read it. In the case of his book, "more" is definitely more.
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on March 14, 2002
This book certainly does balance out the 'sanitized' version of Fr. Seraphim's life we were presented in 'Not of this World', and it was absolutely refreshing. I always sensed that certain key issues were being tactfully avoided, but finally the facts are presented. He was a gay man trying to find God along with his partner. I wonder if Fr. Seraphim would have made the same decisions today in our Post Stonewall world as he did then during the homophobic era he grew up in ? Whatever the case may be, Fr. Seraphim certainly became a defender and spokesman of the Orthodox Faith and truly lived what he preached and taught.
I do wonder whatever happened to Jon and how did his life progressed after Eugene left him and gave his total love and devotion to monasticism and Orthodoxy instead of their relationship ?
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on March 2, 2012
Unlike most all Orthodox readers and reviewers here, I disagree with this idea
that Fr Seraphim [Rose] was automatically cleansed of his quite serious sins by virtue
of baptism.

I believe that he spent the rest of his life as a monk working to atone for those sins.

Unlike many Americans who admiringly followed his example converting to Orthodoxy, I see Fr Seraphim as not particularly exalted.

It has been argued that he attractedrespect at the time due to his academic accomplishments in a setting
which admired that.

Objectively, however, as I was told while traveling in Russia, his writings were nothing special.
Just a recap of everything that Russians already knew. Fr Seraphim [Rose]'s appeal to them was the
fact that he was American during the Cold War divide. Hence he had cachet and his books were
copied and sold all over.

Not of This World was written to explain to Russians - and popularize him amongst American seekers -
just who this was. The lenthy tome traced his entire life in great detail.
There were excellent bits of history concerning ROCOR - the Russian Church Outside of Russia, the
principled anti-Communist Orthodox Church which broke away from the Soviet, KGB-run Moscow Patriarchate.

But about critical aspects of the pre-monastic life of Eugene Rose himself? A big gap loomed, filled in ONLY by Cathy Scott's book.

Whatever the shortcomings of her style, the author deserves credit for going against the flow.
There was - and is - such adulation of Fr Seraphim [Rose] among many of his followers that
they won't stand for ANY criticism of their hero !

I hear that all the time, and see it in these reviews. Such a major sin as flagrant homosexuality - THIS back in the
conservative 1950s ! What would he have been like TODAY if he lived in this era ? -
has been emphatically brushed under the carpet under the all-embracing excuse that all his sins were wiped
away in baptism. If one believes that, fine. But it does not make spiritual sense.

Neither does comparison between Fr Seraphim and St Mary of Egypt.

After all, God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because there was prostitution in these cities. They were
meted out such punishment for one thing : their
sin of homosexuality. These are quite different categories, as shown clearly in the Old Testament.
Jesus forgave prostitutes, but never once did he forgive a homosexual.

Unfortunately, there are too many Orthodox monks and even hierarchs who are involved with this dreadful sin.
Perhaps it's many of these who are exonerating their own misbehavior by giving Fr Seraphim [Rose] a clean bill
of spiritual health.
Such deviant monastics would angrily retort : "It's the teaching of Holy Mother Church" - but there may be a personal angle, named "guilty conscience" !

Contrast various defensive attitudes with the thoroughly honest appraisal given by the spiritual father of the Forestville, CA convent, St Paisius Abbey,
associated closely with the St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood at that era, before the nuns moved to Arizona and went under the Serbian Church.

When I asked this convert priest from New York, "What do YOU think with all this rush to canonize Seraphim Rose ? WAS he a saint?", Fr D. answered without hesitating a second. "No," he said looking me straight in the eye.
"Fr Seraphim was JUST a righteous man. No more."

So Cathy Scott has explained to anyone with ears to hear the far deeper level of why her uncle did not have the spiritual purity to be numbered
among TRUE Saints like St John Maximovitch or Metropolitan Philaret of New York [+1985]. Both were hierarchs of ROCOR which Fr Seraphim [Rose] chose to belong to.
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