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PILGRIMAGES AND SANCTUARIES IN RUSSIA – A BRIEF HISTORICAL PROFILE

The need of contact with the sacred, the will of spiritual improvement, the belief that there are places from which prayer reaches God quicker – all this influenced the creation and preservation of the phenomenon of pilgrimage. Rus (Ruthenia), which was introduced to the circle of eastern Christianity, also preserved pilgrimage traditions. This article presents a brief outline of the development of peregrination in Russia, including pilgrimages abroad and to domestic national sanctuaries. It also covers the contemporary times when the transformation of the political system, the opening of the borders and the restored freedom to practice a faith all influenced the resurrection of the custom of visits to holy places. The article also profiles four monasteries which continue to be the main centres of the Russian Orthodox Church.



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