Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Over two days in Tula over 8,000 people venerated the Relics of St Aleksandr Nevsky

Over 8,000 people in the Tula oblast venerated the relics of St Aleksandr Nevsky over two days, the St Andrew the First-called Foundation reported to Interfax on Tuesday. The Foundation is sponsoring a tour of the relics throughout central Russia and Byelorussia. The relics were brought to the All Saints Cathedral in Tula on Sunday. Vyacheslav Dudko, the governor of the Tula oblast, other regional and local government officials, the clergy of the diocese, and numerous pilgrims and servicemen solemnly greeted the reliquary at the doors of the cathedral.

Archbishop Aleksei of Tula and Belevsk led a molieben before the relics, then, he served an akafist before the faithful were allowed to come forward and venerate the relics. For two days, the cathedral was open from the early morning until late at night. Diocesan priests served moliebens and special buses brought pilgrims from the regional centres to Tula so they could venerate the relics of the saintly prince. The delegation from the St Andrew Foundation presented to the St Aleksandr Nevsky parish in Tula the icon of the saint that had been on the analoy behind the relics. They do this in every city in which the relics are set forth for veneration as a gift to the Church. From Tula, the reliquary shall be transported to Ryazan, Tambov, Lipetsk, Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk, Orel, Bryansk, and Smolensk. Then, the delegation shall take the relics to Byelorussia so that pilgrims in Minsk, Bobruisk, Gomel, and Orshi can venerate them.

In the autumn of 2007, the St Andrew Foundation brought the relics of St Aleksandr Nevsky to cities that were connected in some way with the life and deeds of the Grand Prince, including Kaliningrad, Riga, Pskov, Novgorod Veliki, Yaroslavl, Vladimir, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Yekaterinburg. The present tour of the relics is part of the charitable programme Aleksandr Nevsky, sponsored by the Foundation of St Andrew the First-called, the Centre for Russian National Glory, and the Moscow Patriarchate as part of the preparations for the celebration in 2020 of the 800th anniversary of the birth of the saint. The programme shall include measures for strengthening Russian patriotism through the popularisation of the ideal of service to the Motherland and the formation of a new generation of the Russian national élite.

13 May 2008



Editor’s Note:

This is where the rubber hits the road. Orthodoxy is INCARNATIONAL; it isn’t SPIRITUAL as the Western confessions are. The Faith comes to us in tangible form; it’s EMBODIED, precisely as Our Lord Christ was embodied. For instance, I received more from God in the mere minutes I spent before the earthly relics of Blessed Laurus than I ever received from all the books I’ve ever read. The latter are only scraps of paper covered with ink, the former is POWER. The Martyrs of the Butovo Field didn’t carry books; they carried the Faith engraved upon their hearts, just as the Martyrs of the Coliseum did. That is why I find the vapourings of some on the internet so obtuse. Quite frankly, if given the choice, I’d rather spend five minutes in the presence of a real elder, or relics, or as part of the faithful assembled for the liturgy than to read incessantly, as some do.

The faithful who came to venerate St Aleksandr’s relics did so knowing that they were in the presence of sanctity. That is something that can’t be described, it can only be experienced. I experienced such at the funeral of Blessed Laurus. I experienced such at Easter, at the liturgy, and having made a good confession and received absolution. I experienced such at the Unity Service in New York, being only one of hundreds of laity and dozens of clergy assembled together to praise Almighty God. Follow God. Love your neighbour. Make your Home in the Church. These are things that a child understands (perhaps, better than we do). I say it’s time to start looking for sanctity and stop looking for knowledge. The path of the intellectual isn’t only a dead end; it’s a detour away from salvation. I envy the people of Tula.



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