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Into the Dormition Fast after Great Labours

August 14, 2021

On the feast of the All-Merciful Saviour, Christians enter the Dormition Fast. But there is a group of Christians for whom the fast time begins five days earlier. From 9 to 13 August the Velikoretsky procession of the cross takes place in Vyatka region. Its participants add fasting to other labours. This is the tradition blessed by Vladyka Andrian 20 years ago.

This year, about 180 people arrived at Vyatka to pray to Holy Hierarch Nikola. The city of Kirov (former Vyatka) was excluded from the route of travelers for the second year. Previously, the procession began from the functioning Old Believer church in the village of Krasnoye, passed through the city to its outskirts where a cathedral is being built and went out onto the highway. This year, as in the past, the procession began from the place where the foundation of a new church of the Vyatka community is laid.

Into the Dormition Fast after Great Labours

Among the participants there are many who try not to miss a year. People come here to give praise to God for His help and in anticipation of a miracle, to disconnect from the bustle of the world and meet the like-minded people. Here long friendships begin and future families are formed. Everyone who has been here at least once will try to come again. Priests are no exception. In the procession of the cross of 2021, Fr. German Chunin, Fr. Georgy Dubrovin (Perm), Fr. Alexey Terentyev (Kilmez), Fr. Antonin Yablonsky (village Kuzma), Fr. Vasily Andronikov (Moscow), Protodeacon Victor Savelyev (Moscow) took part.

This procession is not the first one for each of them. Rector of the Kirov Church, Fr. German Chunin first came to Kirov back in 2004 when he was still in the rank of a reader, not even assuming that sometime in the future he would be responsible for organizing the procession “from A and to Z”. The Velikoretsky procession of the Cross became a vivid memory for reader Vasily Andronikov in 2003. A permanent participant in the Vyatka processionof the Cross, Fr. Nikola Tataurov from Perm was replaced by another Perm priest, Fr. Georgy Dubrovin. The “old-timer” of the religious procession, secretary of the metropolis, Protodeacon Viktor Savelyev, tries to get to Kirov by August 9 from any geographic point of Russia. For the protodeacon, this is also a tribute to the memory of Metropolitan Andrian, next to whom he began his church labours and went to Velikoretskoye for the first time.

Into the Dormition Fast after Great Labours

The earthly journey of Metropolitan Andrian (Chetvergov) ended here, in the Velikoretsky procession of the Cross. On the second day of the journey, the pilgrims come to the Gryadovitsa River, where an oak cross stands on the bank, reminding that on August 10, 2005, Vladyka Andrian went to God from here, blessing the procession to march on. Strengthened by the example of the spiritual strength of Vladyka Andrian, the worshipers travel the rest of the difficult path.

After spending the night in a tent camp on the bank of the Velikaya River, at sunrise the service to the Nativity of St. Nikola continues. The tradition of the early beginning of the service has already developed with the participation of Bishop Euthymius (Dubinov). This year, for health reasons, the Primate of the Kazan cathedra had to interrupt the annual tradition of participating in the liturgy in Velikoretskoye. The procession took place with a blessing, but without the direct participation of Vladyka Euthymius.

Into the Dormition Fast after Great Labours

The festive day in Velikoretskoye is held according to the already familiar routine. At the end of the liturgy with the singing of the prayer service, the small procession descends to the river. Here, near the source, water sanctification is performed. A common photo is taken, and then those who wish rush to plunge into the font. Closer to sunset, according to the tradition, an evening in memory of Metropolitan Andrian takes place. This year the conversation was about the life and work of the Vyatka community, tireless youth held quizzes and organized singers for the choir competition, which has become traditional in recent years.

Into the Dormition Fast after Great Labours

On Thursday morning, the procession went back and in the afternoon on Friday, August 13, it returned to Kirov to the church of the community under construction.