Stiklestad, Norway, April 10, 2020
For four days in a row in the 5th week of Lent, cross processions with the holy relics of St. Olaf were held in various Norwegian cities and villages in Trøndelag County,
On Thursday, April 2, the rector and parishioners of the Church of St. Anna of Novgorod in Trondheim, made a tour of the ancient capital of Norway, Nidaros (the medieval name of Trondheim), with the precious relics of the great 11th-century king, Equal-to-the-Apostles, and baptizer of Norway, with prayers for the preservation of the city and country from the coronavirus pandemic.
Prayers in Norwegian and Church Slavonic were offered by Fr. Alexander Volokhan at four points throughout the city, forming the sign of the Cross, reports the parish website.
The fourth point was the Nidaros Cathedral, the place of coronation of Norwegian monarchs, where St. Olaf’s relics were treasured for many centuries. At every point, the city was blessed with the holy cross, the great king’s holy relics, the singing of the troparion to the Cross, and the sprinkling of holy water.
A procession with the relics was held again the next day, again blessing the city of Trondheim from various points, despite the poor weather.
“It is quite significant: Soon after each blessing with the Cross and the relics of St. King Olaf of Norway, the sky quickly brightened, the clouds parted, the snow stopped and the sun filled the winter-spring urban landscape with its light!” the parish reports.
The 3-day procession through Trondheim ended the next day, the Saturday of the Akathist to the Mother of God, with the city again being blessed with prayers and the relics of St. Olaf.
On Sunday, April 5, the procession moved beyond Trondheim, along the medieval pilgrimage route from Nidaros (Trondheim) to Stiklestad and back, with a pray for the salvation and preservation of Orthodox Christians and all residents of the country and beyond from the contagious coronavirus, reports the parish website.
The day began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Church of St. Olaf, erected on the battlefield where St. Olaf reposed in 1030 and solemnly consecrated in 2014, with the inclusion of special prayers for delivery from the pandemic.
Then the procession with the relics and an icon of St. Olaf was led by Fr. Alexander Volokhan to the hilly heights above the village where there stands a monument to St. Olaf, who was a younger contemporary of St. Vladimir.
Together with a small of pilgrims, they offered prayers to God, the Theotokos, and St. Olaf at the foot of the monument.
“The dazzling sun that broke through the clouds during the prayer service, when viewed from the outside, seemed to shine its rays from the very cross in the monarch’s right hand,” the parish of St. Anna reports.