'Russia’s spiritual revival might inspire' Western Europe
This was stated by head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill after a service at the Novodevichy Monastery in Moscow to celebrate the anniversary of the return to the Church of the Iberian Mother of God icon.
The Patriarch regrets that many countries in Western Europe are legalizing sins condemned by God. In ancient Russia, the Iberian icon stayed in the Novodevichy Monastery for three centuries. Since 1917, it was kept in reserves of the State Historical museum.
On May 6 last year, it was returned to Novodevichy Monastery.
The 12th Easter Festival opens in Moscow on the 5th of May with a concert of the Mariinsky Theater orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiyev and the renowned Russian pianist Denis Matsuyev.
This year marks the 140th birthday of the great Russian composer Sergey Rachmaninoff and the festival’s program is focused on his music.
The choir singing is also an important feature of this year’s festival. On May the 6th, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is to take part in the opening ceremony of the festival’s choir program in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
In 12 days the participants in the festival will give more than 90 concerts in 33 cities of Russia.
Voice of Russia,
Early on Sunday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the Easter divine service at the Moscow Christ the Savior Cathedral as Orthodox believers are celebrating Christianity’s most important and joyful holiday. Also in attendance was Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
Late on Saturday, a group of pilgrims delivered the Holy Fire from Jerusalem to the Crist the Savor Cathedral. Lampions lit from the Holy Flame will be delivered to many churches across Russia.
As for the divine service, it was led by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who recalled that Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a church holiday that he said is traditionally celebrated in spring.
“Easter Sunday coinciding with springtime helps us to better understand the essence of what we are now celebrating. Jesus Christ renewed the human race like spring renews our life and that of the nature, which resurrects after winter. This resurrection, in turn, renews human forces and gives a fresh impetus to creative work and plans for the future. The Resurrection of the Savor gave a powerful impetus to renewing human history and the human race,” Patriarch Kirill said.
Sunday is believed to be one of the most favorite religious holidays in Russia, where the May 5 Easter services were attended by scores of Orthodox believers. In an interview with the Voice of Russia on Sunday, Moscow resident Irina said that Easter celebrations make her feel joyful.
“I was baptized at the age of 33. I started attending Easter services in 2008 and I saw many people’s lives change for the better. Going through this Holy Week, we realize what we have done in the past as we joyfully enter a new year. Easter helps us to better understand the meaning of life, get rid of sins and feel good,” Irina said.
Easter is preceded by the 49-day period of fasting, with believers abstaining from meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. In Russia, the end of Lent sees believers paint colorful egg and prepare rich Easter cakes with raisins and nuts in anticipation of Bright Week, the name used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for the period of seven days beginning on Easter and continuing up to the following Sunday.
Easter celebrations in Russia include traditional bell-ringing festivals that are expected to be attended by hundreds of people this year. In Moscow, a spate of religious concerts will be held at several major churches and monasteries.
Additionally, an art installation related to Easter will be in place in central Moscow and choral singing competitions will be held in several city parks. On top of that, the White Flower charity fair will take place in Moscow next week within the framework of Bright Week celebrations.