The saint’s sacred remains have never left Italy since 1087. In February 2016, Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill agreed to move a relic to Russia for a certain period of time. At 6 pm yesterday, all the churches of the capital ran their bells in jubilation. A grand procession accompanied the sacred relic to Moscow’s Christ the Saviour where Patriarch Kirill led a solemn liturgical celebration.
Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – For the first time in almost a thousand years, a relic of St Nicholas, one of the most important saints in the Orthodox Church, is on display in Russia.
Russian believers will be able to venerate the relic in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral starting today until 12 July. Between 13 to 28 July, the relic will be exhibited in the Alexander Nevsky monastery in St Petersburg.
The saint’s remains have been kept in Bari (Italy) since 1087 after they were brought from Myra, in modern-day Turkey. Since then, they have never left Italy.
In February 2016, during an historic meeting in Cuba, Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill agreed on moving a relic to Russia for certain period of time.
The relic, a rib, was actually selected on 19 June 2016 and removed from under the altar of the crypt in Bari’s Basilica di San Nicola where this morning Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated a solemn Mass in the presence of the city’s Catholic archbishop, Mgr Francesco Cacucci.
At the end of the liturgy, representatives of the Catholic Church handed over the saint’s relic to the Orthodox delegation.
For its safety, the relic was placed in a special ark, which was flown to Moscow this afternoon where it was received with full military honour.
Yesterday, at 6:00 pm Moscow time, all churches in the Russian capital rang their bells to celebrate the event in jubilation.
On the Russian Orthodox liturgical calendar, the relic arrived on the eve of the feast day of the ‘Translation of the relics of St Nicholas the Wonderworker from Myra to Bari’.
A grandiose procession accompanied the sacred fragment from the airport to Christ the Saviour Cathedral, where Patriarch Kirill led a solemn liturgical celebration.
For a video by Russia Today of the relic's arrival at Christ the Saviour Cathedral, click here.