His Grace Bishop Seraphim was born Joseph Sigrist on December 13th 1941 in New York and baptized in a Presbyterian Church. He was brought up in Pleasantville New York and studied at Nyack College. While studying at Nyack he began to attend the Orthodox Church and on completing his degree there he was received into the Orthodox Church at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in New York. He then began study at St Vladimir’s Seminary and graduating in 1967 went to Japan to assist in the of the Orthodox Church in Japan.
In Japan working first as a teacher in a church related school and assisting as a deacon at the Toyohashi Church, he was tonsured a monk with the name Seraphim and served first as a parish priest in the town of Nakanida and then, being consecrated in Tokyo on December 19, 1971 from that time served as Bishop of East Japan living in Sendai.
Bishop Seraphim served in Japan for 19 years, returning to the United States in 1987. He has taught in the graduate department of religion at Drew University, has written three books, and has visited Russia frequently in recent years in support of mission especially to youth in Russia.