Moscow, July 9, 2015
On July 7, 2015, the visit of relics of the Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, to the cities and towns of Belarus ended. The itinerary included five Belarusian cities: Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Minsk, Mohilev, and Vitebsk (Vitsebsk), where around 75,000 believers venerated the shrine, reports the Synodal Information Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Bringing of the St. Vladimir’s relics to the cities of Russia and Belarus was organized on the Russian Orthodox Church’s initiative with support of the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation. It is timed to coincide with the 1000th anniversary of repose of the Holy Prince Vladimir, the Baptizer of Russia (Rus’), which is widely celebrated this year.
The visit of the shrine to many cities and towns of Russia and Belarus began on May 27 in Tula and is to finish on December 1 in Kaliningrad. The scheme of the relics’ journey is divided into seven itineraries (stages) and includes 51 cities of Russia and 5 cities of Belarus.
The full information on the event and the itinerary of bringing of the relics can be found on the St. Basil the Great Foundation’s website.
Prince Vladimir (feast: July 28) is one of the most venerated saints in the Russian Orthodox Church. The role of his personality in the present-day Russia is crucial. Not only was the holy prince the pioneer of Christianity in Kievan Russia, but he also was the embodiment of an ideal and wise ruler.
Prince Vladimir was buried on July 15, 1015, in a marble sarcophagus inside the Church of the Tithes (of Dormition of the Mother of God) in Kiev. Later the Mongols destroyed the original church, and the sarcophagus with relics of the holy prince remained for a long time under the ruins, until in 1635, by order of Metropolitan Peter (Mohyla) of Kiev and Halych (now venerated as a saint), the area was cleared and the sarcophagus discovered. Then a portion of the relics of St. Vladimir was sent to Moscow, to Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov and they remained at the Moscow Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral. In the Soviet era and until recently the relics were kept in the Moscow Kremlin museum treasuries. In 2010, the relics in the original reliquary were solemnly given to the Russian Orthodox Church and placed inside the Patriarchal Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.