The love and veneration of the royal family for St. Seraphim was recorded time and again in conversations, personal letters and notes. Tsar Nicholas had a large portrait-icon of the saint mounted in his office, and publicly proclaimed his belief in the elder’s sanctity long before the canonization was approved.
Although Empress Alexandra initially had great difficulty in converting to Orthodoxy from her native German Lutheranism, by 1903 her Orthodox faith and her veneration for St. Seraphim was deeply personal. Having given birth to four daughters, Alexandra’s lack of a male heir to the throne was giving rise to what one author called, “a private guilt with public consequences.”
During her visit to the monastery for the glorification festivities, the empress went to St. Seraphim’s healing spring deep in Sarov forest and immersed herself in the water, praying for a son. In twelve months Tsarevitch Alexis was born. Thirteen years later, the empress’ life-long gratitude shines through her letters from captivity. Writing to a friend, she remarks, “Oh, how I long to go to Sarov!”