Minsk, August 22, 2016
The venerable head of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos is visiting the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church for the first time, reports the Afonit.info website.
On August 20, 2016, this great relic which for many decades has been kept permanently at the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Holy Mount Athos, was brought to Minsk—the capital of Belarus—on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of Russian monasticism on Mt. Athos. There, at Minsk National Airport, the holy relic was solemnly met by clergy and laity headed by Bishop Veniamin of Barysaw and Maryina Horka. The hierarch accompanied the relic from the aircraft’s boarding ramp to the airport building and served a prayer service before the venerable head with clergy of the dioceses of Minsk and Barysaw concelebrating with him.
After the prayer service Bishop Veniamin addressed those gathered with an archpastoral speech in which he spoke about the meaning of St. Silouan the Athonite in today’s Orthodox world and noted to the faithful that this saint had experienced communion with God already in his lifetime.
The believers who had arrived to the airport had an opportunity to venerate the relic. Each was given an icon of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos as a memento.
After that the miracle-working head of the outstanding Russian Athonite ascetic was brought to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Minsk. Here, the relic was solemnly received by the large congregation and clergy headed by Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslawye, the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.
After the solemn meeting of the holy relics a Vigil Service was celebrated at the cathedral. The service was presided over by Metropolitan Pavel and Bishop Veniamin with representatives of the Minsk clergy along with fathers from Holy Mount Athos (who had brought the relic from the Russian Athonite St. Panteleimon’s Monastery) concelebrating.
The cathedral choir directed by Vitaly Sobolevsky sang at the service. After the Gospel reading Archpriest Igor Latushko, cleric of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, delivered a sermon on St. Silouan, the meaning of his ascetic labors and the numerous miracles performed through the saint’s intercessions.
The following morning the festive Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit after which numerous pilgrims from all the corners of Belarus continued venerating the holy relics.
The relic is being accompanied by Hieromonks Kirion and Alexis, representatives of the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Mt. Athos.
The venerable head of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos will remain at the Minsk Cathedral of the Holy Spirit from August 20 to 31. There regular Akathists will be read and supplicatory prayer services will be held before the relics of the venerable father. The relics will be available for veneration from 7 AM till 11 PM. The faithful in Belarus will be able to make a pilgrimage to the miracle-working relics throughout these days, to venerate them and pray before them.
After Belarus the relics of Venerable Silouan the Athonite will visit Russia where Orthodox Christians will be able to venerate them. The Russian itinerary includes the following cities: Bryansk (August 31 – September 3), Orel (September 3-6), Yelets (September 6-9), Tambov (September 9-12), Yekaterinburg (September 12-15), Moscow (September 15-24).