Moscow, June 19, 2013
The first walking pilgrimage in the modern history of Russia from Moscow to the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra began from St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square last Wednesday and stopped in Sergiyev Posad, where the Lavra is located, on the feast of Pentecost (June 23). The pilgrimage was entitled, “In the Steps of St. Sergius of Radonezh.” On their way, its participants remembered the most important events in Russian history and inspected the state of environment, reported the organizers of the action to Ria-Novosti.
"We are paving the road along which all of Moscow will follow us... The church complex of the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra is amazingly harmonious, even though each century left its architectural mark in it. Various aspects of our travels also allow us to trace how the very different cultural traditions met and harmonized in Russian history," said Hieromonk Dimitry (Pershin), the chairman of the Missionary commission at Diocesan council of Moscow, Deputy Chairman of the Brotherhood of Orthodox Pathfinders.
According to him, the inspection of the pilgrimage route with the aim of observing ecological problems is also symbolic. "If we wish to breath fresh air, to drink clean water, then we must clear the springs in our inner world and to look after the environment. But if there is chaos inside us, then the world around us will be littered and destroyed as well," believes the priest.
Among the participants of this unusual pilgrimage were public figures, athletes, teachers, and doctors, including the vice president of the all-Russian public organization, "The League of Nation's Health", Nikolai Kononov, and the director general of the Moscow Federation of the Russian Hand-to-hand Fighting Dmitry Sagolakov. The route they walked was 100 kilometers to Russia’s most important spiritual center, the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, founded about 700 years ago by one of the most venerated Russian saints, Sergius of Radonezh. The book Year of the Lord by Ivan Shmelev served as a guide for the pilgrims, as one of its chapters relates a walking pilgrimage from Moscow to the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in early 20th century, seen through eyes of a child.
This was the first walk scheduled as part of the “League of Nation's Health’s” project under the name, “Great Russia: in footsteps of pathfinders". Sixteen other short routes in different regions have been planned. They will be published and spread through regional branches of the Brotherhood of Orthodox Pathfinders.