On August 14, in the eighth week after Pentecost, the feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord, a city-wide Cross procession was held in St. Petersburg in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birthday of Venerable Seraphim of Vyritsa. Participants processed from the church of Venerable Seraphim in Bolshoi Gostiny Dvor to the ruined church of the Dormition (“Savior on Sennaya Square”), reports the site of the St. Petersburg Archdiocese.
The feast began with the Divine Liturgy in the church of St. Seraphim, led by rector Fr. Artemy Naumov, concelebrated by the rector of the “Savior on Sennaya” church, Fr. Michael Malyushin, and other clergy.
At the end of the service, Fr. Michael Malyushin, addressing the faithful, noted that it’s necessary to revive the pre-revolutionary tradition of the Cross procession on the day of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord. “As we know, the second name of this feast is in the name of the All-Merciful Savior,” said the priest. “The second altar of the ‘Savior on Sennaya’ was given the name of All-Merciful Savior. The first wooden church, which stood on the place of the temple, was consecrated in honor of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord. For many years before the revolution the Cross procession took place on this day from the 'Savior on Sennaya' to Fontaka, where the Moleben for the Blessing of Water was served and the blessing of honey. When you revive a tradition you want to complete it with something new, therefore the name of the saint which the church bears is especially important for us. The future Venerable Seraphim of Vyritsa, then Vasily Muravyev, owned the house at 20 Apraksin Alley and was a parishioner of 'Savior on Sennaya.' Thus paths interwine as the Lord grants.”
Fr. Michael spoke about that St. Petersburg was recently visited by a guest from Hawaii, the 80-year-old priest Anatoly Levin. His great-grandfather and grandfather were clergy in “Savior on Sennaya.” He gave the parish a sluzhebnik printed in 1916 by the Dormition church.
With icons and banners the faithful processed to prayerful singing from Gostiny Dvor to Sennaya Square. They processed along Garden Street with a stop at 20 Apraksin Alley (organizational work is currently underway for placing a commemorative plaque with the face of St. Seraphim of Vyritsa on the façade of the building). There the Gospel was read, complete with the sprinkling of Holy Water on the faithful. Then the faithful processed to Sennaya Square. At the foundation stone on the place of the restored Dormition church the Moleben for the Blessing of Water and the blessing of the honey of the new harvest was served.
Historically the Cross procession occurred every year on August 1/14, on the feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord around “Savior on Sennaya” in memory of the deliverance of St. Petersburg from cholera. Reviving the lost tradition, this year the Cross procession was organized by the Union of Orthodox Entrepreneurs, and the parishes of Venerable Seraphim of Vyritsa in Bolshoi Gostiny Dvor and of the Dormition on Sennaya.