Kazan, July 22, 2019
Another great anniversary for the Russian Church was celebrated this weekend, as pilgrims from throughout Russia gathered in Kazan to honor the great Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, which miraculously appeared 440 years ago in 1579.
The Divine Liturgy for the feast was celebrated in the Kazan Kremlin’s Annunciation Cathedral by His Eminence Metropolitan Theophanes of Kazan and Tatarstan and a number of other hierarchs of the Russian Church, with a host of clergy from throughout the Metropolis of Tatarstan, reports the metropolis’ Information-Education Department.
A wonderworking copy of the Kazan Icon, which His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia transferred to Tatarstan in 2005, was present for the veneration of the faithful.
Following the Great Entrance, Kazan Theological Seminary graduated Deacon Maxim Smirnov was ordained to the priesthood by Met. Theophanes.
Following the Liturgy, the hierarchs, clergy, and laity went on a procession with the with the wonderworking Kazan copy from the Kremlin to the place of the appearance of the original Kazan icon, Monastery of the Holy Theotokos.
The procession was accompanied by the ringing of the bells of the churches and monasteries of the city center. The faithful sang songs of praise to the Queen of Heaven throughout the holy march. Volunteers from the Kazan Orthodox Volunteers youth movement and the local Cossacks helped keep order during the procession.
Upon arrival at the monastery, a moleben was served before the Kazan Icon. Met. Theophanes then addressed the faithful with an archpastoral word in which he noted that the faithful love and venerate the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God across many countries and continents.
He also recounted the history of the icon that appeared during a time of strife for Russia and its connection with the holy hieromartyr Patriarch Hermogenes. Read about the history of the Kazan Icon here.
“We live in difficult times, we hear about wars and natural and man-made catastrophes. That means our faith should e alive, active, and sacrificial. What is missing now for people who call themselves believers? Firmness and consistency,” Met. Theophanes preached. “The heart suddenly catches fire and the person wants to pray, fast, and do good deeds. But the fire goes out and the person again plunges into the world of vices and passions.”
“No one said believing is easy, and the Lord Himself said: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Lk. 13:24). But He also said: For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light (Mt. 11:30). All of us who have gathered in this holy place from different parts of Russia should leave today with a sincere desire to fulfill the commandments that Christ left to us. He ascended the Cross for our sins and from the Cross told St. John the Theologian: Behold, thy mother! (Jn. 19:27)—and we have all become her children. She has adopted us all.”
At the end of the celebration, the faithful venerated the wonderworking copy of the Kazan Icon, and copies of the Kazan Icon were distributed to all.
Celebrations in honor of the great Kazan Icon of the Mother of God were also held in other dioceses of the Tatarstan Metropolis and throughout Russia and the entire Orthodox world.
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