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Letter of Support from Natalia Tukhareli

Letter of Support from Natalia Tukhareli, Toronto - sent for publishing on the website - October 2010

I first met Vladyka Seraphim in June of 2004 in Spencerville. At that time, I taught at the Sunday school based on the Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Toronto, and Vladyka invited our school for a day visit. My first impression of him was as of a very kind and wise man with eyes radiating joy and love. I also noticed how comfortable people and especially children felt in his presence. This day stuck to my memory as one of those special days when our sudden encounter with a particular person fills our souls with warmth, love, kindness and deep meaning.

Since then, I tried not to miss any service conducted by Vladyka Seraphim during his regular visits to Toronto. Particularly, I was looking forward to his sermons, which always spoke to my soul and often answered deep questions. Vladyka has a unique ability to convey the most important message in a very simple way. To me, this kind of simplicity is a defining characteristic of fundamental Truth.

Vladyka Seraphim is a man of a profound faith. One of the key themes articulated in his sermons and homilies is Unconditional Love, “love without any sort of conditions, without strings attached.” In his homily “The Way of Love” (May 9, 2009), he writes, “...the way of those who follow Christ is the Way of Love. This is His commandment – that we should love. We should live a life of love. We should live a life which loves God first above everything else, and one another as ourselves.” I believe that every person who met Vladyka felt this Christ-like Love that he has for people around. This is something that one could never fake because this Love comes from the soul.

In the spring of 2010, I was preparing for my trip to South Africa to volunteer in the shelter for women and children living with HIV/AIDS. I requested Vladyka Seraphim for a meeting to discuss my upcoming trip and he kindly made some time in his busy schedule to meet with me. Although I planned to talk about my trip, I ended up telling my whole life story to him. Vladyka listened carefully to my story, dispelled all the doubts that I had that time and gave me his blessings for the trip. His kind smile, a parental embrace and words of encouragement were a great source of the strength that I needed in order to face challenges and adversities during my three month stay and work in South Africa.

Today, Vladyka Seraphim and all the people who love and honour him go through difficult times. However, I truly believe that Vladyka’s love for God will help him to live through this great challenge. As for us, his supporters, this is a great chance and privilege to respond to the unconditional love that Vladyka shared with us. Now, it is our turn to send love, support and prayers to Vladyka Seraphim as well as to extend our love and prayers to all the other people involved in the investigation.

I would like to express my support for Vladyka Seraphim by submitting the attached Letter of Support for your website. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or require any additional information.

Natalia Tukhareli