Moscow; Bucharest, April 6, 2020
Hierarchs throughout the Orthodox world continue to bless their cities and dioceses with wonderworking icons, holy relics, and holy water in procession, whether by land or air, as their flocks remain mainly in their homes, not able to attend Church services in most places.
On Friday, April 3, on the eve of the feast of the Saturday of the Akathist on the Fifth Saturday of Great Lent, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia toured Moscow with the wonderworking Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God, reports Patriarchia.ru.
The Tenderness Icon was found by the Great St. Seraphim of Sarov. He was praying before this icon when he reposed in 1833. In 1991, the icon was given to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II, and it is now kept in the Patriarchal residence, being brought out once a year on the feast of the Salutations to the Most Holy Theotokos in the 5th week of Lent.
The day before the tour, Pat. Kirill called on the faithful sons and daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God with the addition of a prayer for deliverance from the coronavirus as he traveled throughout the city.
The tour concluded at Theophany Cathedral in Moscow, where His Holiness celebrated Matins for the feast of the Salutations to the Most Holy Theotokos together with a number of other hierarchs and local clerics.
The service was broadcast live on the Spas (Savior) and Soyuz (Union) Orthodox TV stations and on the official site of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarchia.ru.
Meanwhile, the streets of Bucharest were blessed by the relics of St. Demetrius the New yesterday, Sunday, April 5, to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
The procession of three cars was led by the Patriarchal Vicar His Grace Bishop Varlaam of Ploiești, reports the Basilica News Agency.
The holy relics and icon of St. Demetrius, the patron saint of Bucharest, toured several hospitals where coronavirus patients are being treated. Clergy read prayers to St. Demetrius for deliverance from the virus throughout the tour.
St. Demetrius’s relics were also processed throughout the capital during the bubonic plague in 1812-1813, after which the number of illnesses decreased significantly. They were also brought out in procession during the drought of 1827 and the cholera outbreak of 1831.
The procession on Sunday also stopped in front of the 1989 Heroes’ Cross at University Square, where the clergy prayed the troparion to St. Demetrius.
Before returning the relics to the Patriarchal Cathedral, an additional prayer was offered at the base of the Patriarchate’s Hill.
The relics of the greatly beloved St. Parascheva the New were also taken on tour throughout Iași, Neamț and Botosani counties to halt the spread of the coronavirus on Sunday.