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On [[September 23]], 1896, Sergei Symeonovich Sakharov was born to Orthodox parents in Russia. As a child, Sergei would pray daily, later recalling that he would pray for 45 minutes without stress. Even as a child, Sergei experienced the Uncreated Light. He read widely, including such Russian greats as Gogl, Turgenev, Tolstoy, [[Fyodor Dostoevsky|Dostoyevsky]] and Pushkin.
Due to great artistic talent, Sergei studied at the Academy of Arts between 1915 and 1917 and then at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture between 1920 and 1921. Sergei used art as a "quasi-mystical" means "to discover eternal beauty", "breaking through present reality...into new horizons of being." Later, this would help him to differentiate between human intellectual light and God's Uncreated Light.
It was around the time of his study at the Moscow School that Sergei would see Christianity's focus on personal love as being necessarily finite; he fell away from the Orthodoxy of his youth and delved into Indian mystical religions based on the impersonal Absolute.