Refugees From War-Torn Ukraine Tour Monasteries in Moscow

Originally appeared at: Global Orthodox

The Russian Orthodox Church has welcomed the Ukrainian refugees with open arms; providing financial and spiritual support to those in need and even organizing pilgrimage opportunities to those refugees that are Orthodox.

On August 30, 2022, under the new program for organizing pilgrimage trips for Ukrainian refugees, several pilgrims visited the Moscow stavropigial (patriarchial) monasteries: which included the Martha and Mary, Donskoy, Danilov, and Zachatyevsky monasteries. The trip was organized by the Pilgrimage Department of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society.

The day began with a prayer service at the Martha and Mary monastery where the relics of the Great Saint, Princess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, are preserved as the main shrine.

Then the pilgrims visited the Donskoy Monastery, where a prayer service for peace in Ukraine was performed in front of the relics of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of All Russia. After venerating the relics of St. Tikhon and the Donskoy icon of the Mother of God, the displaced Ukrainians heard the history of the monastery, toured the Small Donskoy Cathedral, and learned the story of the prayer service of peace, traditionally performed here by His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow. The pilgrims also visited the monastic necropolis and saw the surviving statues from the original Cathedral of Christ the Savior which was destroyed in 1931.

The pilgrims were then cordially received by the Danilov monastery, where they had the opportunity to venerate the relics of the Blessed Saints, Princes Alexander Nevsky and Daniel of Moscow, as well as the other relics kept in the monastery. They then visited the cell of the Holy Confessor, Saint George Danilovsky, the Trinity Cathedral, and the Church of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Afterwards they toured the other buildings of the monastery (including the Patriarchal residence, the Department of External Church Relations, the house of the priest, and the bell tower) and ended with lunch in the refectory.

At the end of the day the pilgrims visited the Zachatyevsky Convent. After praying before the icon of the Theotokos called "The Merciful One" and venerating parts of the Holy Cross, the Holy Sepulcher, the Girdle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the relics of St. Lazarus, and Saints Joachim and Anna in the main cathedral of the monastery (dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) the pilgrims prayed for all those who have died. Finally, the pilgrims were given the unique opportunity to visit the cave church of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the underground Neopalimovsky church, and the monastery ossuary.

The group was accompanied by Igumen (Abbot) Seraphim Kravchenko who is the head of the Pilgrimage Department of the IPPO and the executive secretary of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department for Church Charity and Social Service.

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