St John of Kronstadt's centenary to become central event of 2008 - Alexy II
Moscow, Jan 5, IRNA
Itar-Tass -- Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia said the
celebrations marking the centenary of the death of Saint John of
Kronstadt would be the central event of 2008.
He called for devoting the year to "revaluating the spiritual
heritage of the great pastor".
"Religious services with prayers to John of Kronstadt will be an
equally important part of the event", the patriarch told journalists on Friday.
The first religious service for the saint was held on January 2 in
all Orthodox churches. The services were particularly lavish in St.
Petersburg and Kronstadt.
Saint John of Kronstadt was well known across the country during his
lifetime, with thousands of people, both peasants and the gentry,
seeking his blessing.
In Kronstadt, where he lived, the priest visited the needy and the
sick, helping them and opening shelters for the poor with his own money.
He financed the construction of a monastery in St. Petersburg. The
pastor criticized the ideas of socialism after the assassination of
the tsar, a bloody revolution, the destruction of the church and the
extermination of priests.
Very few people had the courage in Soviet times to come to the
monastery on the river Karpovka in St. Petersburg where St. John of
Kronstadt was buried in order to pay him tribute. His relics were
kept under a bushel up until 1990 when he was glorified by the
Russian Orthodox Church. Now the monastery is a place of mass pilgrimage.