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, Sf. Serafim a fost [[hirotonit]] [[ieromonah]], după care a slujit zilnic şi s-a împărtăşit cu [[Sfânta Împărtăşanie]] timp de un an de zile. Apoi Sf. Serafim a început să se retragă în "îndepărtata [[pustnicie]]" — a pădurii la aproximativ cinci km depărtare de Mănăstirea Sarov. Era deja la o măsură duhovnicească înaltă. Animalele sălbatice din pădure - urşi, iepuri, lupi, vulpi şi altele - veneau la coliba sfântului. Maica stareţă , a Mănăstirii Diveevo, Matrona Plescheeva, a văzut cum sfântul a hrănit un urs chiar din mâna lui. "Faţa marelui părinte era minunat de luminoasă şi veselă avînd o strălucire îngerească," povestea ea. While living in this little hermitage of his, St. Seraphim once suffered greatly at the hands of robbers. Although he was physically very strong and was holding an axe at the time, St. Seraphim did not resist them. In answer to their threats and their demands for money, he lay his axe down on the ground, crossed his arms on his chest and obediently gave himself up to them. They began to beat him on the head with the handle of his own axe. Blood began to pour out of his mouth and ears, and he fell unconscious. After that they began to hit him with a log, trampled him under foot, and dragged him along the ground. They stopped beating him only when they had decided that he had died. The only treasure which the robbers found in his cell was the icon of the Mother of God of Deep Emotion (Ymileniye) , before which he always prayed. When, after some time, the robbers were caught and brought to justice, the holy monk interceded on their behalf before the judge. After the beating, St. Seraphim remained hunched over for the rest of his life.
Soon after this began the "[[stylite|pillar]]" period of the life of St. Seraphim, when he spent his days on a rock near his little hermitage, and nights in the thick of the forest. He prayed with his arms raised to heaven, almost without respite. This feat of his continued for a thousand days.