Moscow, September 8, 2016
On September 8 the reliquary with relics of Venerable Father Silouan the Athonite was delivered to the Church of the Nativity of Christ of the Shovskoye village in the Lipetsk region – the saint’s birthplace. For the relics’ arrival the house where the future saint had spent his childhood and youth was restored in the village and a chapel was erected in his honor. The Shovskoye village was the fifth destination in the relics’ itinerary within the Russian Orthodox Church and the fourth on the territory of Russia. In total around 150,000 believers have already venerated the relics: 100,000 in Minsk, 15,000 in Bryansk, 20,000 in Orel, and 15,000 in Yelets.
It was earlier reported that the bringing of St. Silouan’s relics was organized with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and was timed to coincide with the 1000th anniversary of the Russian monastic presence on Holy Mount Athos. The relics never left the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Mt. Athos before. Together with the head of St. Silouan another great Orthodox relic has been brought from Mt. Athos – the wonderworking icon of the Savior before which Christ had once appeared to St. Silouan, according to his Life. The Moscow-based St. Basil the Great Foundation has arranged the bringing of the relics.
There are two stages of this visit: the Belarusian stage (August 20-31 in Minsk), and the Russian stage (August 31 – September 3 in Bryansk, September 3-6 in Orel, September 6-8 in Yelets, September 8 to 9 in Shovskoye, September 9 to 12 in Tambov, September 12 to 15 in Yekaterinburg, September 15 to 19 in St. Petersburg, September 19 to 24 in Moscow).
Venerable Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938) is a saint of the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Mt. Athos. He was born in Shovskoye in the then Tambov province. At the age of nineteen he decided to join the Kiev Caves Lavra but his father insisted that he go into military service which he did in St. Petersburg at the field engineer battalion. In autumn 1892 he made a pilgrimage to Holy Mount Athos where he stayed forever, joining the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery. In 1896 he was tonsured a monk and in 1911 he took the vows of schema with the name Silouan and served as the monastery’s steward. The saint experienced a rare miracle of a vision of God – Jesus once appeared to him while he was praying. The ascetic reposed on September 11/24, 1938. The writings of Venerable Silouan were published in 1952 by his spiritual child and disciple, Schema-Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov). Many modern monks call them “the New Philokalia”.
In November 26, 1987, Silouan the Athonite was officially canonized by decision of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The feast-day of Venerable Silouan, September 11, is one of the most celebrated feasts of the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Mt. Athos which annually attracts hundreds of pilgrims.