Moscow, May 22, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia called St. Nicholas, whose relics were delivered from Italy to Russia first time in history, the most venerated saint in the country.
"St. Nicholas the Wonderworker from the point of people's veneration in Russia was and remains the first saint. Almost all houses in the past and Orthodox people today have three icons at their homes: the icon of the Savior, the Holy Virgin and St. Nicholas," the patriarch said on Sunday at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, where the reliquary was delivered.
According to him, such veneration is connected with numerous miracles in people's lives through prayers to this saint, "with liberating of our Motherland and people from numerous historic catastrophes."
"That is why Russian parish is the parish having great love to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. In our minds we consider him a Russian saint, though he has never been in Russia, neither his nationality, nor culture was connected with our country," the patriarch said.
Relics of St. Nicholas were delivered by a special flight to the Vnukovo Airport from the papal basilica in Italian Bari.
The agreement about bringing the relics from Italy was reached on the results of historic meeting between Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis on February 12, 2016. It is a unique event as the relics have never abandoned the basilica for 930 of staying in Bari.