On the way to Velikoretskoye

In 1383 along the northeastern borders of the then Russian principalities, three day’s journey away from the town of Hlynov – later Vyatka, today Kirov – a peasant found an icon along the river Velikaya. A chapel was erected for it, and soon so many miraculous healings were done through the intercession of the prayers told before it that its fame spread far, and gave to Saint Nicholas, depicted in the icon, the epithet Чудотворец, ‘Wonderworking’ all over Russia. The icon was repeatedly borrowed by the town of Hlynov, and then sometime after 1400 they agreed with the village – called after the river Velikoretskoye, ‘laying at the river Velikaya’ – that it would permanently remain in the Cathedral of Hlynov, but once a year, on the Sunday after the feast of its finding, 22 May, it would be brought back to the village through a solemn pilgrimage. Since 1668 the pilgrimage starts from Vyatka on a fixed day, 24 May, that is 3 June according to the new calendar, and returns there on 8 June. This year’s pilgrimage was ended therefore yesterday, and today the first photos already appeared on the Russian net. The pictures of Ilya Pitalev were published by Drugoi on his own site. You should click on each photo, as they really live in a large size.

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.

3 comentarios:

Effe dijo...

Powerful. The pilgrimage is a cultural heritage widespread all over the world. It seems to be a human need.
Add it's quite odd the relationship between Orthodox religion and tattoos :-)

Studiolum dijo...

In a private comment to the Hungarian version I have just received hints on the apparently vivid Orthodox tattoo culture. If anyone has any more information or photos of this topic, please send them to us.

sina santi dijo...

Bravo el blog es tan interesante que es dificil escoger cual entrada me gusta mas sin duda me tomo un buen tiempo de mis vacaciones para pasar por todos los articulos por demas interesantes bravo otra vez...!!