11/05/2020, 10.27
RUSSIA
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The feast of national unity and Our Lady of Kazan

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, most of the events took place online. At the "Night of the Arts", there were over 5500 events: meetings with great authors of culture, broadcasts of shows, virtual excursions to museums, concerts. Putin witnessed the ringing of the bells of the Saviour’s Tower in the Kremlin. Patriarch Kirill is in self-isolation following contact with some positive cases (several voices give him as seriously ill, but without confirmation). The revolutionary sense of the celebration is increasingly being replaced in consciences by religious sentiment.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - From November 4 to 9, National Unity is celebrated in Russia, which had previously been called the National Reconciliation. For 15 years it has united the festive period at the beginning of November to the commemoration of the October Revolution, which fell on November 7.

The Russians cannot forego these early winter holidays, when the first frosts arrive. The revolutionary sense of the celebration is being increasingly replaced in consciences by religious sentiment, which during these days also recalls the veneration of Our Lady of Kazan, the miraculous icon of all the victories in Russian history.

This year the national holiday falls in the difficult moment of the Covid-19 pandemic, which in spring had already largely cancelled enthusiasm for the celebrations of 75 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War against the Nazi invaders. Most of the demonstrations took place online, especially on the Kultura.RF portal organized by the vice-minister for culture Maksim Ksenzov.

The “Night of the Arts” was held on 3 November, with 5500 virtual events, meetings with the great authors of culture and broadcasts of shows, virtual excursions to museums, concerts. All almost 100 regions of Russia took part in it, using the most innovative technologies available online today.

The state publisher Rospechat presented a new tome of the "Anthology of contemporary literature of the peoples of Russia" (the third), dedicated to "Dramaturgy" after the volumes on "Literature for Children", "Poetry" and " Prose". At least 70 authors from all regions of Russia were brought together, with translations from 40 different local languages.

According to the director of the publishing agency, Jurij Pulja, the "jewel" of this year is the photographic exhibition "Russia: the flight through a century", consisting of 4 thousand photos chosen through a competition, which selected the best 200, exhibited in all the airports, parks, museums and libraries, which show the most extraordinary landscapes of the country.

In the capital, all parking spaces were free for one day, and equipped with virtual instruments that offered excursions and workshops on popular culture, in particular on the various expressions of peoples from all regions of Russia. An interactive function of Instagram proposes to guess in how many languages ​​and dialects the citizens of the Eurasian Federation express themselves, and which are the symbols of the various cities and regions.

President Vladimir Putin also took part in the celebrations (photo 2), witnessing the ringing of the bells of the Saviour Tower in the Kremlin. The bells rang late, waiting for the impromptu president, who then visited the archaeology museum of Chudov monastir (the "monastery of miracles"), one of the oldest convents in Russia, and meeting with representatives of religious denominations online.

The patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev), on the other hand, did not come out of precautionary isolation, due to contact with some positive cases (several voices give him as seriously ill, but without confirmation), and limited himself to sending congratulatory messages to the president, to the speaker of the Duma and to the mayor of Moscow. The messages "glorify the strength of the spirit and the courage of our ancestors, who defended the independence of the homeland and maintained fidelity to native Orthodoxy". In the events of the early seventeenth century commemorated in the holiday, in fact, the Russian princes and faithful who did not sell themselves to the Polish "heretical" invaders are remembered.

On November 3, the patriarch inaugurated - from a distance - the XIV Congress of the "Russian World", a foundation he himself inspired, which was also held online on the theme "Russia online". The assembly was chaired by the president of the Duma Committee on Science and Education, Vjačeslav Nikonov. The patriarch underlined how the pandemic has pushed everyone to use new forms of communication.

Speaking at the Congress, Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev) insisted on the importance of new forms of pastoral activity in support of people's growing loneliness. The Congress takes place throughout the week, and on November 9 it will conclude with a large Round Table on “Inter-religious dialogue online”.

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