For the first time brought the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

© RIA Novosti / Irina Nicholasczapiewski St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Archival photoFor the first time brought the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker© RIA Novosti / Irina Nehoroshkova

The relics of St. Nicholas — one of the most revered Christian saints — for the first time in history brought from the Italian city of Bari to Russia, in Moscow they will meet Patriarch Kirill, together with many clergy and believers.

The agreement on the offering of the Shrine was reached during the historic meeting of Patriarch Kirill with Pope Francis February 12, 2016. Russia will take part of the relics of — forensic experts have learned from the Shrine with the relics of the ninth rib of a Saint, which is located right near the heart. In the Christian tradition the heart is seen as the focal point of faith.

«On the morning of 21 may, we the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated the divine Liturgy on the relics of the Saint that has become a tradition, because our pilgrims in large numbers arrive in Bari on the day of memory of St. Nicholas. Then the Archbishop of Bari, Francesco’s Cacucci will sign the certificate on the temporary transfer of part of the relics to Russia», — told reporters the head of the Department for external Church relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev).

After signing the document, the relics will be invested in a special ark made in the workshops of the Russian Church. The weight of the ark is about 40 pounds, it is covered with gold leaf. The reliquary will proceed in a solemn motorcade through the city of Bari to the airport on the special vehicle with an open roof, made like the famous «popemobile».

After this special flight with the relics, accompanied by a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Metropolitan Hilarion, will fly to Moscow in airport Vnukovo-3. At the evening service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on the eve of day of memory of St. Nicholas Shrine will meet Patriarch Kirill with Metropolitan clergy.

At the same time, 18: 00 MSK, all the temples of the capital will ring the bells welcoming in the reliquary. Will ring and the bell tower of Ivan the Great in the Kremlin, which happens very rarely.

The stay of the Shrine in Russia

As expected, of the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker will invoke the same excitement among the faithful, and bringing in 2011 from mount Athos to Russia belt of the Holy virgin. Then this Shrine, it is estimated that bowed more than 3 million pilgrims, and the waiting time in the queue to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior reached 26 hours.

According to the organizers, from 21 may to 12 July, the Shrine will stay in Moscow, and from 13 to 28 July in St. Petersburg. In the Northern capital, the relics will be in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Monday, may 22, the access of pilgrims to the relics in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior will be organized from 14.00 to 21.00. In the following days, the faithful can venerate the relic 12 hours a day: from 8.00 to 21.00. Also every day there will be a press center.

Where’s the best place to come to Moscow

The city authorities have assured that the city is ready to accept any number of pilgrims, and predict that the queue to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour will stretch for about two kilometres before the Crimean bridge. Therefore, pilgrims wishing to venerate the relics of Saint Nicholas will have to reach at metro station «culture Park» (ring or radial). Then you walk to the Prechistenskaya embankment (near Krymsky bridge) where you can get in line.

In the case of a large number of applicants the place will be extended along the embankment towards the Luzhniki stadium – then will have to go to the «Frunzenskaya» or even «Sparrow hills», about which the organizers will inform online.

Information about the actual queue length can be monitored on the official website of the translation of the relics of and on the pages in social networks «Vkontakte» and Facebook.

The most revered Saint

Nicholas, who is also called Nicholas, is one of the most revered Christian saints. On the Church calendar, celebrations in his honor are performed twice a year: December 19 — the day of death, and may 22 in memory of the relics from Myra to the Bar (now in Bari). In people, these holidays are referred to as «Nikola winter» and «summer Nicholas».

Since 1969 Catholics as a sign of friendship allow the Orthodox to hold services in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari. Also once a week (on Thursdays) in the main room of the temple performed the Liturgy «in the Byzantine-Russian rite». During the iron bars open, so after the service everyone through a special window in the marble throne can venerate the relics. However, most Russians are far of the pilgrimage difficult.

St. Nicholas lived in the fourth century in Asia Minor (now territory of Turkey), he was a priest and then Archbishop of Myra city of Lycia. The tradition of the Church bears witness to the numerous miracles performed by the Saint, and his extraordinary mercy.

Christians believe that Saint Nicholas and now provides assistance to people turning to him in prayer. In addition, he is the patron Saint of traveling.