"The holy Prince and Princess, Peter and Fevronia, have shown with their whole lives that they are true symbols of love and fidelity"
On September 16, 2018, a new monument is to be installed in Moscow, honoring the patron saints of marriage and the family. The new monument will show saints Peter and Fevronia with their children. The goal is to honor traditional Christian families, encouraging citizens to practice fidelity in marriage and diligence in raising children.
The upcoming installation of this monument was discussed at a conference recently held by the Publishing Council for the Russian Orthodox Church. Bishop Clement — the council chairman — discussed the value of traditional families, giving high praise to the saintly family being depicted in this monument. In his welcoming speech, he said,
“Married love is a gift . . . where we must always give in on the most important thing – Love. From it arises the virtue of fidelity and extends even beyond death. The holy Prince and Princess, Peter and Fevronia, have shown with their whole lives that they are true symbols of love and fidelity”
Conference attendees got a sneak peek at a model of the sculpture in clay, which was presented by the sculptor himself, Salavat Alexandrovich Sherbakov. He explained that the prince and princess are depicted with their three children: the eldest son, Yuri, who inherited the throne after his father's death, Svyatoslav, a future warrior, and their daughter, Evdokia, who would become the Princess of Yuryev-Polsky. Participants said they were pleased with the model, and they gave many compliments to both sculpture and sculptor.
Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, Chairman of the Patriarchal Commission for the Family, said these saints are especially loved and revered in his own family. At the conference, Fr. Dimitry conveyed his deep, heartfelt support of this project. He said,
"Let the monument of the holy and pious Peter and Fevronia become a reminder of true values.”
In other parts of Russia, statues of Saints Peter and Fevronia have already been setup, and they have been very well received. As a result, a number of traditions have become quite popular. These traditions include pilgrimages, meetings at the statues, walks with children, festive photo-sessions by the sculptures, and visits to the sculptures on the annual holiday dedicated to Family, Love, & Fidelity. Newlyweds also visit on their wedding day, seeking a blessing for their own future family life. Now people living in Moscow will have an opportunity to enjoy the same traditions.
“Our conference and the installation of the monument, which is supposed to be finished in September, is a kind of ten year result of the state holiday," said Galina Vasilevna Ananyin, co-chairman for the Union of Orthodox Women. She continued,
"I am a historical witness of how it originated and developed all across Russia. Over the years, the national program 'In the Family Circle' has done a marvelous job. . . . the sculptures of Peter and Fevronia — especially the new version which includes their children — are signposts in our cites.
You could say a new tradition has been born. Newlyweds go to these monuments and lay flowers before them. This is a very important thing. Unwittingly or not, Saints Peter and Fevronia have become a part of the family. The nationwide program 'In the Family Circle' has an important mission: their first monument in Moscow! We hope that this will be a special milestone in regard to Orthodox Christian sculpture, and also in regard to Russian culture in general.”
In Moscow, the unveiling of the statue is planned to be a large-scale and spectacular event, accompanied by social activities, exhibitions, and master classes throughout the city.