Russia's newly elected Patriarch Kirill has made a pilgrimage to one of the Orthodox Church’s most holy sites before he is to be officially enthroned on Sunday.
He took part in a service at the Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius Monastery in the Moscow Region. Pilgrims, monks and believers met the Patriarch and metropolitans at the monastery.
Dating from the 14th century, the Trinity Lavra is one of the most venerated spiritual centres of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad was nominated as acting Patriarch after the death of Aleksy the Second. He was overwhelmingly confirmed Patriarch earlier in the week.
The 16th Patriarch is considered to be one of the most charismatic church leaders in modern Russia.
The enthronement of the Patriarch is carried out during the Holly Liturgy, when the newly elected is dressed in Patriarchal clothes and the Patriarch’s Crosier (Staff) is handed over to him. Patriarch Kirill will be given the Crosier of Metropolitan Pyotr, which is being borrowed from the Moscow Kremlin museum for the duration of the ceremony.
The wooden staff of the 14th century is one of the greatest relics of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was handed over to Aleksy the Second twice – during his enthronement in June 1990 and at the service marking his 70th birthday.
Kirill will be dressed in a Patriarch’s chasuble during the enthronement ceremony. It is a special white head-dress with the images of six-winged seraphs and a cross on top. The Patriarch’s robe itself is green, while the Metropolitans wear blue robes, and those of other bishops are violet. The dress for every new Patriarch is specially made for the ceremony.