The Longest Procession in the Orthodox Church

Public processions on feast days are normal in the Orthodox Church. Large groups of believers will gather at a church or monastery and then walk outside in procession, chanting hymns and carrying icons, sometimes for miles.

Last week, we covered a procession of the world’s largest icon. This week, we’d like to feature another remarkable procession: the Velikoretsky procession of the cross.

The RT documentary above provides an excellent overview of the tradition and the people who engage prayerfully in it. As the description puts it:

The Velikoretsky Procession of the Cross; the oldest, longest and by far the biggest of many in Russia. 40,000 pilgrims from all over country walk 160 kilometers for 5 days following the icon of St. Nicolay the Wonderworker. RT meets some of the Orthodox devotees and delves into what motivates them to take part in this challenging and demanding pilgrimage.

Are there unique traditions for festal processions in your area? Share them in the comments.

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Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Development at OCN. He holds…
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