600th anniversary of relics of St. Sergius festively celebrated at Lavra (+VIDEOS)

600th anniversary of relics of St. Sergius festively celebrated at Lavra (+VIDEOS)

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Sergiev Posad, Russia, July 19, 2022

Photo: patriarchia.ru     

A major celebration in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole was held at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra outside of Moscow yesterday.

The relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh, the founder of the monastery and among the greatest saints of the Russian Church, were initially uncovered and placed in a church on July 5/18, 1422. The services in honor of the 600th anniversary were led by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, who arrived at the Lavra on Sunday, on the eve of the feast, reports Patriarchia.ru.

Read about the uncovering and subsequent history of the relics of St. Sergius | 600th anniversary of relics of St. Sergius festively celebrated at Lavra (+VIDEOS) | The Paradise NewsThe Uncovering, Hiding, and Return of the Relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh”It was nighttime. We had to get it done before dawn. I carried the head in a closed shopping bag so there’d be no suspicion, and I covered it with a newspaper on top, as if there were just a cabbage in the bag.”

“>here.

| 600th anniversary of relics of St. Sergius festively celebrated at Lavra (+VIDEOS) | The Paradise NewsRublev’s Trinity icon returns to monastery for first time for St. Sergius celebrationsThe world-famous Trinity Icon painted by St. Andrei Rublev some 600 years ago has returned to its rightful place in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, at least for a few days.

“>As OrthoChristian reported yesterday, the joy of the feast was increased by the presence of the original Trinity Icon painted by St. Andrei Rublev, which has been housed in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow for decades. By the Patriarch’s request, the icon was delivered to the monastery for the first time since it was removed by Soviet authorities in honor of the great anniversary being celebrated.   

The Patriarch was greeted at the gates of the monastery by Bishop Thomas of Sergiev Posad, the Lavra abbot, and Bishop Theodoret of Zvenigorod, the rector of the Moscow Theological Academy (which is located at the Lavra), and the Lavra brethren, and then proceeded to Holy Trinity Cathedral where he venerated St. Sergius’ relics and the miraculous Holy Trinity Icon.   

Photo: patriarchia.ru Photo: patriarchia.ru     

Pat. Kirill then celebrated Small Vespers with an akathist to St. Sergius together with eight other hierarchs of the Russian Church and brethren of the Lavra. Pilgrims filled the church to overflowing, and many watched the service on screens installed on the monastery squares.

Following the service, the Patriarch addressed the faithful about the wonderworking Trinity Icon, saying it “connects us with the time of St. Sergius, the very time when our Russia, being in great danger from external and internal enemies, concentrated in order to become a great power in the future by the grace of God. And we know that’s what happened.”

The head of the Russian Church continued:

But the life of our fatherland has never been calm, because external and internal enemies have sought to reduce the role and importance of Russia not only on the European continent, but throughout the world. And we know that all the world wars, the most terrible and the most destructive, were connected with the fact that other forces and other authorities sought, first of all, to destroy our country. But we withstood this incredible onslaught and won. Of course, not only because we had excellent military leaders. Of course, not only because our soldier was courageous, but because it was God’s will.

And today it’s obvious to us why such a will of God was upon us: that this significance and this service of our fatherland to the whole world should continue. And the service consists in ensuring that faith in the Lord doesn’t disappear from people’s lives; so that Christian values, brought through the commandments of the Lord and the Savior Himself, might continue to inspire people to a life feat, to change their lives, and to improve their spiritual and moral.   

And today, when, as you know, turbulent times have come, how important it is that the image of the Holy Trinity is with us—an image that not only testifies to the unity and power of God, but also shows a certain ideal of living together, which is expressed in the spiritual unity of people.

So let our fatherland, our peoples, our Church preserve that unity, without which the Russian land has no strength. And we believe that through the prayers of St. Sergius of Radonezh, under the protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Russian state and our people will be preserved in unity, faith, and spiritual strength. Amen.

Later that evening, Pat. Kirill and the host of Russian hierarchs celebrated the All-Night Vigil on the Lavra’s cathedral square.

Three Divine Liturgies were celebrated the next morning, with the Patriarchal Liturgy celebrated at 9:00 AM on the cathedral square. Pat. Kirill was joined by 37 hierarchs of the Russian Church from across Russia and abroad, as well as Metropolitan Niphon, the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch to the Patriarch of Moscow, and Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), representative of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

At the Small Entrance, the heads of several monasteries were officially handed their abbot’s staff by the Patriarch, including His Grace Bishop Joseph of Mozhaisk, the abbot of Optina Monastery, and Hieromonk John (Ludischev), abbot of Sretensky Monastery.

A moleben to St. Sergius was celebrated following the Liturgy. Then Pat. Kirill and Lavra Abbot Bp. Thomas exchanged gift icons, and the greeting of President Putin was read out.

Photo: patriarchia.ru Photo: patriarchia.ru     

His Holiness then addressed the faithful with a primatial word in which he again spoke about St. Sergius’ great feats during a difficult time of domination over Russia by a foreign power. As he recalled, St. Sergius blessed St. Dimitry Donskoy to go to battle on the Kulikovo Field, which was moreso about “the victory of the spirit, in a sense, the victory of faith.”

And this spiritual tradition of turning to God in difficult moments of historical trials continued even after the Kulikovo Field, the Patriarch emphasized, including during the invasion of Napoleon and World War II.

“As people who passed through the terrible trials of the Great Patriotic War told me, there are no atheists in the trenches. There is a man facing death, and all ideologies fall away, but the voice of the conscience speaks,” the Patriarch said.

And while it’s unlikely that anyone will try to “deprive [Russia] of its freedom and independence by force of arms… in our evil age, there are many other ways to crush people, to deprive them of national identity, deprive them of faith, deprive them of a sense of patriotism. We know that today many forces are working to influence our people and our country in this way. Why? Because we continue to be different,” the Russian primate continued.

“In ‘enlightened’ Europe, faith in God is being banished, educated people are ashamed to admit they’re believers, and this is a fact. And in our country, which has passed through years of godlessness and persecution, the faith of Christ is strengthened in the people. God grant that it may be so, that our authorities, our army, our intelligentsia, and all our people might preserve faith in the Lord, the Orthodox faith, which has always been strong in Russia,” Pat. Kirill concluded.

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Source: Orthodox Christianity

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