2017-04-28 13:01:00

St. Nicholas relics to be brought to Russia from Italy for first time in 930 years on May 21-28

Moscow, April 28, Interfax - The relics of Saint Nicholas located in a tomb in the crypt of the Basilica di San Nicola (St. Nicholas Basilica) in Bari, Italy will be brought to Russia from May 21 to May 28, 2017, Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, told reporters.

"It is a unique event as the primary relics have not left the town of Bari throughout the 930 years during which they have been kept there," he said.

The relics of Saint Nicholas will be brought to Russia as part of an agreement reached between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia during their historic meeting in Havana on February 12, 2016, he said.

"Hundreds of believers of the Moscow Patriarchate come to Bari every year to worship the primary relics of Saint Nicholas. However, it is difficult for the majority of Orthodox people in Russia to perform such long-distance pilgrimages. Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia hope that a prayer near the miracle-working relics of the saint will help strengthen the faith in people's hearts," Metropolitan Hilarion said.