A peculiarity of the pilgrimage’s history is that it was maintained also throughout the Soviet power. In 1935 the Cathedral of Vyatka was demolished, the city was renamed after the assassinated party secretary of Leningrad Kirov, and the icon was transferred to museum. Nevertheless, the believers took the road year after year. In 1959 a particular official ban was announced for it, but the faithful continued the pilgrimage, by hiding in the woods from the militia. From 1989 onwards, the ban was gradually lifted, and the icon was given back to the Church of Saint Seraphim of Sarov in Kirov. Since 1993 the pilgrimage has again passed along the historic route, for six days, one hundred and eighty kilometers there and back, mostly under rain, and with the pilgrims sleeping under the open sky. In 2008 30 thousand people took part in it, and thus it became one of the largest regular pilgrimages in Russia. Last year 60 thousand were present at the ceremony in Velikoretskoye. On this year’s attendance we have no figures yet.
One participant in last year’s pilgrimage has also published a detailed log on the Internet. It is worth to browse it through even without any Russian knowledge in order to have a vivid impression of the road on the basis of the many photos. Since browsing between days is not resolved in it, so you must to click separately on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth day of the pilgrimage.
The pictures made by Vladimir Pomortsev a year ago were also included in the photo exhibition “Best of Russia”, organized every year in February.
Among the photos of the previous pilgrimages emerge the pictures by the renowned photographer Aleksei Myakishev made between 1994 and 2010, of which he published almost sixty ones on his site. It is interesting to see how strongly his vision is rooted in the art of Tarkovsky. Here we present only some of them.