Mosty, Belarus; Removka, Ukraine, July 11, 2019
Cross processions are a beloved expression of love and devotion for Christ and His saints, gathering hundreds and thousands of faithful Orthodox Christians in honor of various feast days and in marches to holy sites throughout the Orthodox world.
Believers in Belarus gathered in pious procession recently in honor of the Synaxis of All Belarusian Saints and in Ukraine a procession was held to a 300-year-old holy spring in honor of the Mother of God.
On Sunday, July 7, the feast of All Belarusian Saints, parishioners of the Church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon of the Mother of God in Mosty, Belarus sanctified the city streets in a procession led by their rector Archpriest Vladimir Saverchenko and Fr. Igor Kiselev, reports the Grodno Diocese of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
“To glorify the Lord outside the walls of the church is an event of great importance and great joy for every Christian of our parish,” the report reads. “How wonderful it is to walk along the streets of the city with banners and icons, to elevate prayers to the Lord and the saints, thereby expressing our love, gratitude, and trust in God!”
“We felt the presence and participation of the saints of the Belarusian land as never before! The words of prayer resonantly and joyfully echoed in our hearts! The depth and eternity of the Orthodox faith inspired and delighted us! Glory to God for all things!” the report concludes.
Two days later, Orthodox believers in the Donetsk Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered in procession on the feast of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God.
The procession to the Mother of God’s holy spring began at the Church of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian in the village of Removka where the Divine Liturgy was celebrated early in the morning, followed by a moleben with an akathist to the Tikhvin Icon.
According to the Union of Orthodox Journalists, the healing properties of the spring’s water have been known for at least 300 years. According to local tradition, wounded soldiers and even horses would be lowered into the waters to find healing. The revived spring was consecrated on December 25, 2006, and now a procession is held every year on July 9.
A large number of parishioners and pilgrims came to Removka this year to share in the joy of the event and to ask the Mother of God for her help and protection. The faithful stopped three times along the 2-mile procession for the reading of the Gospel, and the priest sprinkled the marchers with holy water each time.
The moleben that began in the church was completed upon arrival at the holy spring. Archpriest Valery Schigelsky addressed the pilgrims with a sermon, after which the clergy blessed the water of the spring and again abundantly sprinkled all present with the holy water.
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