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Church services to be held in Russia in defence of faith

April 22, 2012, 7:05 UTC+3

Thousands of people from many dioceses are expected to attend the service

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MOSCOW, April 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Orthodox Christians will hold a church service with praying singing outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow in defence of the faith, sacred objects and the Church and to bring the detractors to reason.

Thousands of people from many dioceses are expected to attend the service.

Before the mass praying, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will lead a liturgy service. Then, the participants will go around the cathedral in a religious procession with a reliquary with a part of the Robe of the Lord and a Nail from the Crucifixion.

Religious services in defence of Orthodox sacred objects will be held in cathedrals in each regional centre in Russia.

Orthodox sacred objects attacked this spring were specially brought to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior from the north and the south of the country for the day.

Since April 19, the 3.5-metre-high crucifix cut by an attacker in the cathedral of the city of Nevinnomyssk, the Stavropol Territory, has been shown in the Moscow cathedral. Five of the 30 icons cut with an ax in Veliky Ustyug on March 6 are brought here. The Virgin Mary Icon shot with bullets in the early 1920s is also brought from the same city.

The need to hold a prayer service is connected with the frequent cases of vandalism and desecration of churches that began in the winter with the sacrilegious "punk prayer" in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and before that in the Epiphany Cathedral in Moscow.

In the series are also other actions. On March 18, the Cathedral of St. Sergius of Radonezh in the city of Mozyr was desecrated by blasphemous inscriptions and sacrilege against the cross representation. On the night to April 12, offenders poured gasoline and set fire to the entrance door to the Cathedral of Demetrius of Thessalonica in Krasnodar. In the Rostov Region, on the Easter eve, vandals smeared with black paint the walls of the chapel in the village of Kamenolomnya that was built in memory of those who died in the war in Afghanistan, Chechnya and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.

The Supreme Church Council proposed to hold the prayer service on the next Sunday after Easter, when the Church resumes services that are suspended when Lent begins (from February 27 this year), patriarchal press service head Vladimir Vigilyansky said.

It is symbolic that Orthodox Christians on the day, April 22, remember the wonder of the return of Doubting Thomas to the faith. And on the day communists mark Lenin's birthday.

Many parishioners from churches of Moscow and the Moscow Region have expressed the wish to go to the cathedral, Vigilyansky said. "We cannot say exactly whether there will be 25,000 or 250,000. Nobody was invited specially. But very many express their wish," the clergyman noted.

Patriarch Kirill said earlier that it would be a peaceful action without any political aspects. The aim is to ask for God's blessing for Russia and all the other countries where the Russian Orthodox Church serves.

About 2,000 policemen and servicemen will ensure security for the prayer outside the cathedral this Sunday. A total of 14,000 policemen will be on duty to ensure security in the entire city.

From the early morning till the end of the service, which will begin at 14:00 Moscow time, Volkhonka Street will be blocked for traffic. People may come to the cathedral from four sides through metal detector frames. Twenty detectors will be placed at Volkhonka Street from Prechistenskiye Vorota Square, 20 from Vsekhsvyatsky Street, ten at Bolshoi Znamensky Street and ten at Bolshaya Yakimanka Street.

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