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Putin to take part in celebrations of 700th anniversary of Sergius of Radonezh

MOSCOW, July 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday will visit the town of Sergiyev Posad outside Moscow to take part in the celebration of the 700th of Sergius of Radonezh, one Russia’s mostly venerated saints.

“The head of state, together with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will address pilgrims and guests of the celebrations. The president will also visit the Assumption and the Holy Trinity Cathedrals of the Holy Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius,” the Kremlin press service said.

Celebrations of St. Sergius of Radonezh anniversary have drawn thousands pilgrims who are accommodated at a tent camp organized on the Annunciation field some two kilometers of the monastery.

On July 16, a 17-kilometre cross-bearing procession took place here. Some 30,000 pilgrims took part in the procession.

These days, the Orthodox world is celebrating the 700th birth anniversary of Sergius of Radonezh (1314-1392), a spiritual leader and monastic reformer of medieval Russia, who founded the Holy Trinity monastery north of Moscow. He is much revered and has a special place in Russian monasticism and the nation of Russia. An ascetic, he was deeply humble and had a firm faith in God's help. After his glorification the monastery he founded became known as the Holy Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius.

July 18, the Day of Invention of the Relics of St. Sergius, is the central day of the celebrations.

The Holy Trinity Monastery dates back to 1337, when St. Sergius built a simple wooden church in an isolated area. Originally a hermit, Sergius soon attracted many followers and granted their request to become their father superior. In 1355, Sergius introduced a charter for the monastic community, which led to the expansion of the monastery with buildings like a refectory and bakery. Later, a whole town emerged around the monastery - Sergiyev Posad, and the monastery became the biggest Orthodox monastery, Russia’s main spiritual centre. St. Sergius’ relics are kept at this monastery.

St. Sergius was an important figure in secular Russian history as well. He blessed Dmitri Donskoi before the important Battle of Kulikovo (1380) against the Tatars, and even sent two of his monks to help. The battle was a success, but the monastery was devastated by fire in 1408 when a Tatar unit raided the area. In 1608-1609, the monastery withstood 16-month Polish siege and helped organize Russia’s first territorial militia, and then Minin and Pozharsky militia. In 1742, the Trinity School of Theology was organized at the monastery. In1814, the Moscow Slavic Greek Latin Academy was moved to the Trinity Monastery. Later, the Academy was reorganized as the Moscow Theology Academy. In 1918, the monastery was nationalized, in 1919 it was closed and in 1920 the Swergiyev Posad museum of history and arts was opened here. Public worship resumed in 1947.

In 1993, the monastery’s architectural complex was entered into the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.