The All-Russian procession dedicated to the 600th anniversary of discovering the relics of one of the most revered Russian saints, St. Sergius of Radonezh, has reached its final destination - Moscow. The chasse with a particle of his relics has been taken to eight federal districts, 50 dioceses and 57 cities in Russia, as well as Belarus and Kazakhstan.
St. Sergius of Radonezh (+1321) is one of the most revered Russian Saints. He is known to have been ascetic, humble and fully relying of the will of God. Prince Dimitry Donskoy came to St. Sergius to seek his blessings before the Kulikovo battle against Mamai.
St. Sergius is also credited for establishing the Holy Trinity - St. Sergius Lavra, one of the greatest and the most famous Russian monasteries. At the time, it was the first Orthodox monastery in Russia to be located outside of a city.
"The Reverend, who combined extraordinary simplicity and Christian humility, deep wisdom and courage, came to personify Holy Russia, becoming a symbol of the spiritual beauty of our people”, Patriarch Kirill says.
Saint Sergius is regarded as the one who laid down the foundations of Russian spiritual and monastic culture. When things were getting tough for the country and the nation, he revived faith and united people. The life of the saint consisted in serving God, the Motherland and the people, and his image set an example, inspired hope and brought comfort to many generations.
The procession with a particle of Saint Sergius’ relics set off from the Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra on June 12, 2022. As explained by Priest Vasily Kovalchuk, the secretary of the Russian Orthodox Church's commission for the development of pilgrimage and the movement of holy relics, a particle has been separated from the relics of the saint, which rest in the Holy Trinity St. Sergius’ Lavra, and placed in a reliquary to be carried in the procession for the veneration by the faithful.
The relics visited all eight federal districts of the country, 50 dioceses and 57 cities.
The itinerary of the procession included three stages. During the first stage of the tour, which lasted from June 13 to July 18, the arc with the relics was taken to cities in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. During the second stage (July 19-August 29) the shrine visited the cities of central Russia, the Volga and Southern Federal Districts, the North Caucasus and the Republic of Crimea. And the third stage of the tour (August 30 - October 06) started in Rostov-on-Don, and ended in the Moscow suburb of Balashikha,.
In each city, thousands of believers came to venerate the relics. For example, there were 23000 people in Tambov, 28000 people in Saratov, 14000 people in Ulyanovsk, etc.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the reliquary with the relics of St. Sergius, was also taken to the dioceses of the Belarus Orthodox Church. For six weeks, thousands of believers across the country came to venerate the shrine.
September 11, 2022, the reliquary with the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh
arrived in Kazakhstan, where it remained for a month. It was taken to Almaty,
Astana, Karaganda, Petropavlovsk, and Ust-Kamenogorsk, with more than 62,000
people coming to venerate the holy relic.
The All-Russian procession has now arrived in Moscow, where the chasse with Saint Sergius’ relics will remain till November 5.