Tours: Holy Places
Today, when Russia is experiencing the comeback of the old spiritual values rediscovering the faith after so many years of total atheism the interest towards pilgrimage tours has increased to a great extent. The itinerary includes the main Christian shrines - the monasteries and temples with famous icons and relics of Orthodox saints. No wonder those places are called holy. After all, if you come there with pure heart and thoughts and pray sincerely, your prayers will be heard. The believers come there as the last resort ... with hopes for a miracle, healing, cleansing, childbirth, marriage, family and business problems solutions. The most popular pilgrimage sites are concentrated in central Russia and in its northwest - the earliest centers of Christianity, the place of the oldest temples and hermitages.In Moscow alone you can spend weeks visiting holy places. Long lines of pilgrims can be seen at the walls of Holy Protection Monastery known for the relics of the Blessed Matrona of Moscow, canonized only in the last century, but already renowned among the people as the most generous patroness of all believers.Novodevichy Convent attracts the Orthodox believers from entire Russia; they come there to touch the legendary icons of Smolensk and Tikhvin Mother of God. You can chose the separate pilgrimage tour to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in Moscow suburbs, the most ancient monastery founded by St. Sergius of Radonezh to worship the relics of the saint in the Trinity Cathedral of the monastery.The most popular shrine of St. Petersburg is the tomb of Blessed Xenia of St-Petersburg. During her life she was famed for her wondrous deeds and today standing next to her relics in the chapel at the Smolensk cemetery the believers ask for their plans realization. Located 200 km from St. Petersburg is the town of Tikhvin which gave the name to the most revered icon of Russia. That icon was attained by a miraculous way and served the people previously unseen miracles - it shed holy ointment and tears, healed the sick.Of the many saints canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, Rev. Elder Seraphim Sarovskiy is known for his marvelous deeds. He predicted where his relics would be kept and now Seraphim-Diveyevsky monastery in the village of Diveyevo of Nizhny Novgorod oblast attracts thousands of pilgrims. According to the tradition the Mother of God daily passes around the monastery along the groove and on all the pilgrims, nuns and novices her grace descends. The monastery is known for several holy water springs famous for their healing abilities.In the center of Russia, a small town of Zadonsk, in the Mother of God Monastery is kept the greatest Orthodox shrine - the icon of the Vladimir Mother of God revered in Russia as miraculous. The fact that the icon was saved intact from the devastating fire of 1615 is miraculous indeed. The relics of Tikhon Zadonsky, one of the protectors of Russia, are also kept there. The severe Russian north is well known for many wonderful places. One of them is the Cyril Belozersky Monastery, founded, according to the legend, at the behest of the Queen of Heaven. The monastery is the place of miracle-working icons: "Inexhaustible Cup", "Most-Holy-Queen-of-All, the icon of Prince Dmitry of Uglich. Another northern relic - the miraculous healer icon of the Mother of God Eleusa (Tenderness) is stored in the Temple of the Savior. In the Alexander-Svirsky monastery on Valaam you'll see the healing relics of the holy elder, the founder of the monastery.