Latvia: 20th anniversary of finding of relics of St. John of Riga celebrated

Riga, July 21, 2023

The relics of St. John of Riga in 2003. Photo: The relics of St. John of Riga in 2003. Photo:     

On Saturday, July 15, the Latvian Orthodox Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of the finding of the relics of Hieromartyr John, Archbishop of Riga.

Photo: Photo:     

The occasion was marked with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Alexander of Riga and All Latvia in the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Riga, reports the Latvian Orthodox Church.

During the small entrance, Met. Alexander awarded His Grace Bishop John of Jelgava with the Order of the Holy Hieromartyr John, Archbishop of Riga and Latvia, II degree, for his diligent work for the good of the Latvian Church.

Photo: Photo: After the dismissal, a moleben was served in front of the icon of St. John, with a reliquary containing particles of the blood of the Hieromartyr. The clergy and faithful then processed around the church.

Preaching about St. John, Met. Alexander said: “In the person of the holy Hieromartyr John, each of us now has a firm and vigilant intercessor at the throne of God. He loves each of us, everyone in prayer can turn to him in the hope of receiving what he asks, and many miracles performed through prayers to the holy saint of God show that this hope is not in vain.”

The feast was also celebrated by His Grace Bishop Alexander of Daugavpils at the Cathedral of Sts. Boris and Gleb in Daugavpils.

During the service, special prayers were offered for peace in Ukraine and the reconciliation of the warring parties.

At the end of the Liturgy, the magnification to St. John was sung and prayer was read before his holy icon.

In his sermon, Bp. Alexander spoke about the martyrdom of St. John in 1934 and about the events surrounding the finding of his relics in 2003.

St. John was brutally tortured and finally shot and set on fire while still alive on the night of October 12, 1934. No one knows who exactly killed the beloved Archbishop. The Riga cathedral was not big enough to hold all the people who came to the saint’s funeral, and many lined the streets along which his holy remains were to be carried.

The holy relics of the Hieromartyr John were uncovered on July 15, 2003, and found to be incorruptible. The holy relics were dressed in new hierarchical vestments and placed in a small reliquary. In October of that year, they were festively transferred from the Church of the Holy Protection to the Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Riga.

Read more about St. John in the article, “I Will Be Even More Frightening for You Dead Than Alive!

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