Voices from Russia

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Russian Roman Catholics Celebrated Easter

00 RC Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Moscow. communion. 16.11.12


Click here for an image gallery on Catholic Easter in Russia

On Sunday, Catholics all over the world celebrated Easter. In Moscow, Archbishop Monseigneur Paolo Pezzi FSCB, Chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia, led the Easter vigil mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary, attended by hundreds of Catholic believers from Moscow and other Russian cities. A silent prayer in the dark of the night preceded the mass, and, then, a special candle, the Great Paschal Candle, was lit from an Easter fire kindled in the churchyard. The burning candle symbolised Christ’s message dispelling the darkness.

Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said in his Easter sermon, “The resurrection of Christ is a new beginning, a new world, a new dimension in life. This new life changes our entire modern world. Man’s faith in himself stems from his faith in God. Without faith in God, man loses himself. Whenever people or nations forgot about God, they were unable to build a better life. Deep wretchedness always afflicted them. The Holy Light of Christ’s Resurrection illuminated the creation of the world and man, along with the mission, aspirations and entire existence of mankind”.

Fr Kirill Gorbunov told VOR, “The Catholic Easter mass is particularly solemn because Easter is the central event of the Church Year. Firstly, there’s the Liturgy of Light… the kindling of new light as a symbol of Resurrection, a symbol of Christ’s light, which shone out of the darkness of hopelessness, sin, and death, which gave us hope for salvation. Secondly, there is the recollection of the entire story of Salvation… the creation of the world, the fall from grace, the covenant between God and Man, the prophesies of the Saviour, and, finally, the story of the Resurrection of Christ. Thirdly, there’s the Baptismal Liturgy; the Catholic Church believes that the Easter Vigil is the right time for converts to undergo baptism”.

The tradition to baptise adults during the Catholic Easter Vigil liturgy dates back to ancient times. Catholic believers think that undergoing baptism during the Easter vigil is a special blessing. This time, there were 14 newly-baptised Christians at the Moscow-based Cathedral of Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary. One was Inna, who said, “I’ve been preparing for this for two long years, and, now, I’m happy. Now, I feel that my soul has light. It’s so beautiful at the cathedral today. Throughout the entire mass, I felt that this holy feast was dedicated to us, who became closer to God today. I’m lost for words to express what I feel”.

Orthodox Christians also visit Catholic churches on Easter… however, they don’t take part in the mass; they’re there to congratulate their fellow Christians. This time, Fr Dmitri Sizonenko, from the MP DECR, represented the patriarchate. He said, “This is a good tradition, for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to congratulate each other on major holy feasts. Although we have differences in ritual, the meaning of Easter is the same”. For Catholics, Easter is the most jubilant holiday. Apart from traditional Russian Easter eggs and kulich (Easter bread), Catholic believers presented each other with chocolate Easter bunnies, which symbolise fertility.

31 March 2013

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service



Friday, 16 November 2012

16 November 2012. A Photo Spread. From the Russian Web… Is it Warsaw… or is it Zagreb… or is it Bratislava? NO! It’s Moscow!





This is the Church of St Louis of France (Eglise Saint Louis des Français à Moscouin Lubyanka Square, the only other functioning Catholic church in Moscow (it has a French/English parish and a Russian parish, whereas the Cathedral is known as the “Polish Church”). In pre-revolutionary times, this was a dedicated “French” parish.


The above images are of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in Moscow (Central Administrative Okrug. Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal Region).  Catholicism has (relatively speaking) as many adherents in Russia as Orthodoxy does in the USA. That is, it’s a minor outpost of a major world faith. The Cathedral is known throughout Moscow for its organ and its classical music concerts.



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