Rorate Caeli

You report: Latin Mass & Byzantine Liturgy in the Saint Olaf Pilgrimage, Russia

A truly biritual affair: the Latin Mass community of Moscow and the Greek Catholic Parish of Sts. Cyril and Methodius of Saint Petersburg. The report was sent by a Russian reader.

July 28 is the day of St. Vladimir according to the calendar followed by Russian Greek-Catholics, and July 29 is the day of St. Olaf in the Latin calendar. The Saint Olaf Pilgrimage, organized by Una Voce Russia together with two Catholic parishes, the Latin-rite of St. Nicholas in Luga, and the Byzantine-rite parish of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in St. Petersburg, brought together men and women coming from several places in Russia as well as from Poland and Italy, both Greek-Catholics and Latins, to walk about 100 km in four days, spending nights in improvised tent camps, and assisting at celebrations which both St. Olaf, a Viking turned Christian, and St. Vladimir, the 10th century prince and baptizer of Russia, would have easily recognized as something familiar: the Traditional Latin Mass and its Eastern counterpart, the Divine Liturgy in the Church Slavonic language.

The goal of the pilgrimage was the city of Novgorod, where St. Olaf has spent some time as an exile before returning to Norway to die as a martyr in the battle of Stiklestad. Nowadays Novgorod is the center of Russian Catholics’ veneration of this holy king, promoted by the Catholic parish priest there, Fr. Vladimir Timoshenko. Father Vladimir presented to the pilgrims an icon of Saint Olaf and also pronounced a very moving sermon at the Mass celebrated by Fr. Paolo Giacinti IVE, the parish priest of Luga who also travels regularly to St. Petersburg to say the “old” Mass there. Also of particular interest were three lectures delivered by Greek-Catholic priest Fr. Kirill Mironov.


Mike said...

Great post! Here's the real ecumenism! Fathers Timoshenko and Giacinti are my heroes of the day.

Chris said...

Yes, I am part of the Russian Orthodox Western/Latin rite community and have an inherent trust of the Latin patrimony, I agree that this is an example of the REAL ecumenism.

Fr. Robert Taft, SJ can talk all he wants, and call Mt Athos monks extremists all he wants, yet this is kind of substantive example that makes the Roman Catholic Church look respectable and more legitimate in the eyes of the E. Orthodox.

However, it would be ideal within a few decades to eventually include actual Eastern Orthodox in the pilgrimage, instead of "preaching" to the flock thats already part of Rome. That would be even more meaningful.

Yes, Russia is a land for pilgrimages and they are still more popular there than any other nation on earth. Irregardless of your belief in the "Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", Russia appears to already offer the world something very special with it's faith, even if it is not in communion with the Pope. (Yes, I also know there may be too many ex-KGB co-operators in its hiearchy, but it survives).

Konstantin said...

More of this biritualism please!


Brian Delaney said...

I agree with Chris, an inclusion of Orthodox Christians would be ideal also to heal the bad blood between Greek Catholics and Orthodox

Anonymous said...

How beautiful!

May Our Good God continue to bless them and their efforts!

Gustavo said...


Actually, this is not an example of ecumenism, since both communities involved are Catholic.

It would be an example of ecumenism if, for example, the Russian community was Orthodox and not Catholic.

stefania tomcovia said...

Ah! close to my heart!