Patriarch Kirill celebrates Divine Liturgy at St. Sergius’s Monastery on the Day of St. Sergius of Radonezh’s Demise
On October 8, 2012, the Day of the Demise of St. Sergius of Radonezh, the Miracle-Worker of All Russia (1392), His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, assisted by a great assembly of bishops and priests, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Dormition in St. Sergius’s Laura of the Holy Trinity.
Among those who attended the Patriarch service were Mr. I. Levitin, adviser to the Russian president, Sergiev Posad Mayor V. Korotkov and his administration director V. Goncharov.
Among the worshippers were mothers superior of several convents and numerous pilgrims.
According to tradition, hierarchal services on that day were celebrated in all the churches of the Laura.
After the thanksgiving, His Holiness Kirill venerated the honourable relics of St. Sergius at the Laura’s Cathedral of the Trinity.
Patriarch Kirill addressed the participants in the celebrations from the balcony of his patriarchal chambers, saying in particular,
‘Whenever we come to the Laura we come in touch not only with the history of our homeland but also with her spiritual sources. Among these sources is the spiritual feat performed by St. Sergius of Radonezh. In the remote 14th century, he founded a monastery here, in backwoods, far from towns and villages, and few could imagine at that time that it was to become a place where the Laura of Holy Rus’ would show forth, that the spiritual feat of many people would bring forth tremendous fruits, that it was to become a place where Russia’s fate would be decided not on one occasion including in the terrible years of the Tatar-Mongol invasion and Polish intervention.
‘We are standing on a holy soil, indeed. But the Laura was strong not only in its fortifications and its arms, which it was almost lacking. The Laura has always been strong in spirit and faithfulness to Orthodox faith. And since it was the power of spirit, prayer and faith that was the main treasure of this place, people thirsty of spiritual achievements and expressions of their faith in deed used to flock to it from all over Holy Rus’. What does it mean? It means only one thing – that a saint is a real and visible bearer of the presence of God’s grace in the world; he is the most vivid witness to the existence of God. And in order to strengthen their faith, people have always resorted to people strong in spirit so that, coming in touch with them, they themselves may become stronger.
‘And today as never before, the Laura as spiritual center of Holy Rus’ bears this witness to the presence of God’s grace. We come here to touch the holy relics of St. Sergius, to draw grace from him, and every one can feel this grace if one’s heart has not turned to stone. One feels the special movements of the Holy Spirit in this holy place. And venerating the relics of St. Sergius, we bow before God’s grace revealed through these holy relics. And we come out of here consoled, inspired, asserted in the faith and capable of doing good works and bearing witness to our faith…
‘The feat of St. Sergius began with a small thing and culminated in his being the Abba of All Russia, when thousands of pilgrims come despite the misty day to venerate his holy relics. Let us ask our venerable and God-bearing Father Sergius to help us grow spiritually from strength to strength, to help us learn to perform feats, big and small. We should remember that there is no salvation without feat… May the blessing of St. Sergius, his intercession for our Motherland and Church help each of us to follow the way he has paved for many, for those who have glorified the name of God by their lives’.