The Procession of the Cross along the borders of Russia

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We have had occasion to send many packets of earth from the grave of brother Joseph to believers in Russia, where pious Russians treat them as holy objects. The fact that our modest efforts have not gone unnoticed is reflected in the account of the so-called “Procession of the Cross along the borders of Russia,” reported in detail in a special issue (No.27-28, pp.421-422, 1999) of the Moscow newspaper Russkiy Vestnik (Russian Herald - ed.). The Procession of the Cross, in honor of the 2000th anniversary of the Nativity of Christ, was performed by a number of clergymen traveling aboard an airliner along the borders of Russia from June 14 to June 19, 1999.

During the Procession of the Cross, 136 different Akathists were chanted. The canon to the Saints of Russia was read 6 times, the Psalter 10 times, and the Gospels were read 8 times. The participants were in flight for 43 hours, with the entire journey encompassing 25,000 kilometers.

Many sacred items, among them the Myrrh-streaming Icon of the Holy Passion-bearer Nicholas II, were on board. Here is an excerpt from one of the articles in the Russkiy Vestnik, describing the Procession of the Cross around the borders of Russia:

“As there were no rows of seats in the tail section of the cabin, a sort of ambo was constructed there. An analogion was placed before an enormous icon of the Reigning Mother of God.Here as well were a carved reliquary cross from Optina Hermitage, and a two-sided icon of the Lord Pantocrator, with the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God on its reverse side. On the wall were placed a wonderful “Three-handed” Icon of the Mother of God, embroidered in fresh-water pearls and seed pearls, the Iveron and Smolensk Icons of the Mother of God, icons of the Synaxis of the Holy Elders of Optina, of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, and of St. George the Trophy-bearer, an icon in a metal frame.All told, there were more than 50 icons on board, not counting the countless multitude of simple paper icons taped to all of the walls. From the ceiling at the entrance to the baggage compartment hung banners bearing the images of the Savior Not-Made-By-Hands, Icons of the Reigning Mother of God, the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, and of the Holy Prince St. Alexander Nevsky.On board, there were also pieces of stone from holy places in the Holy Land, one of the stones which fell from the great cloud diverted from the city of Great Ustiug by the prayers of St. Procopius of Ustiug, flowerpots containing two shoots taken from the Burning Bush, earth from the grave of Neo-martyr Joseph Munoz-Cortes, the murdered curator of the Montreal Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God [emphasis supplied – Ed.], and other sacred items.Thus, the airliner took on the semblance of a “flying chapel.”

Wondrous are Thy works, O Lord!

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