Russian Church festively celebrates 800th anniversary of St. Alexander Nevsky

St. Petersburg, Russia, September 13, 2021     

The Russian Orthodox Church held its central event in this year of the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky this weekend in St. Petersburg.

Events have been held throughout Russia throughout the year in honor of the great 13th-century saint. Hundreds of thousands venerated relics of St. Alexander Nevsky that were carried in multiple processions across Russia and Belarus for two months earlier this summer.

And yesterday, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia presided over the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the transfer of the relics of St. Alexander (1724) at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the northern capital, home to the saint’s relics for the past 300 years.

His Holiness, who also celebrated the 50th anniversary of his elevation to the rank of archimandrite, was concelebrated by more than a dozen hierarchs, including His Eminence Metropolitan Benjamin of the Belarusian Exarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Chișinău and All Moldova, His Eminence Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, and hierarchs from throughout Russia, and a host of priests and deacons, reports the Russian Church press service.

The relics of St. Alexande were placed in the middle of the cathedral for the service. Photo: The relics of St. Alexande were placed in the middle of the cathedral for the service. Photo:     

The service was sung by the choir of the clergy of the St. Petersburg Metropolia, the choir of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, and the choir of the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

In his address on the occasion, Pat. Kirill first recalled the wondrous restoration of the Lavra’s Holy Trinity Cathedral after the state returned it to the Church. And new parishioners are constantly turning to the church and attending services in the cathedral, and “this shows that the Orthodox faith will never disappear from the life of our people. If we have coped with the temptations of the 20th century, then by the grace of God we will cope with other temptations, which, of course, will always arise on the path of a believer, on the path of the Church of Christ.”

Following the service, His Holiness led a procession with the relics of St. Alexander from the Trinity Cathedral to the nearby Alexander Nevsky Square, where they were placed on a special platform with a canopy.     

A moleben was then served to the protector of St. Petersburg, after which the Russian primate addressed all those gathered on the square, speaking about St. Alexander’s ability to combine authority with holiness.

“Many generals have won wars, but they are not canonized. And Prince Alexander lived his life sacredly, without defiling himself in any way, without polluting his radiant clothes with envy, malice, cunning, or greed — nothing that so easily touches the heart and mind of a person in power. That is why we glorify his name for centuries,” he said.

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