Visiting an Orthodox Church In Russia

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Throughout the history of mankind people went to wander around the world, traveled through cities and villages. And all these movements had different reasons, proceeded from different motivations and pursued different goals. Let's call the main "tasks" of all travel: conquest and development of new lands; knowledge of the world, other cultures and civilizations. Later: treatment and rest.

A special place among all types of wanderings is occupied by "traveling with religious goals". What we call a pilgrimage in Christianity. For centuries, it was the pilgrimage, that is, the visit to holy places for the purpose of worship, was considered the most important hike in human life. In the minds of people for centuries, there was a firm idea of ​​the hierarchy of travel, where the pilgrimage took the unconditional first place.


This corresponded to the general understanding of the structure of the universe, the hierarchy of values, in which the Gorny world was undoubtedly the dominant, and the earthly existence was viewed only as a reflection of the existence of the heavenly.


The center of his life was a man who considered God. And the goal of life is the transformation of the soul, communion with God in eternity. Living here on earth, a person remembered his Creator, every minute "walking in front of God", adjusting his thoughts, feelings, words and deeds with His will and His commandments and being confident that God is here with him, in this world, and participates in the life of everyone.


To us, Christians, the Lord Himself indicated the true purpose of earthly life: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33), and added: "The kingdom of God is within you" (Lk. 17, 21).


All spheres of his activity, a man subordinated to this fundamental goal. If we look at the art of Ancient Rus or the art of the countries of Europe, we will see that the person dedicated his work to God, in his works he sang praises to the Creator and His creations. The beauty and harmony of the divine world was reflected in the temple architecture. In literature, the life of saints became a popular genre, in painting - an icon, in sculpture - an appeal to images of Holy Scripture.


Also, in his wanderings, man considered the main purpose of serving God. Work for God, for the glory of God. That is why the pilgrimage - as the worship of holy places and the prayer feat, as service to God - has always been perceived as the main journey in human life. And it is about the pilgrimages that have remained the largest number of descriptions, diaries, letters and books. Believers have always seen in the pilgrimage a special, holy work, useful and saving for the soul.


The pilgrimage was revered not only as a spiritual, but also as a physical feat. That's why worship is often

walked


The pilgrimage was considered not only spiritual, but also a physical feat. That is why worship often went on foot, giving up existing means of transportation. People specially prepared for this asceticism, especially fasted, intensified prayers, wholeheartedly seeking to repent and change their lives. And on their return they tried to preserve, as long as possible, the gracious gifts that were found in pilgrimage. Keeping in mind the memory of such an important event in their life, the fans also tried to bring from the journey some kind of shrine or even just a handful of earth or a stone from a holy place.


It was important for people to note, especially to capture this main journey of their life. For example, after the visit to Mecca Muslims traditionally added the prefix "al-Hajj" to the traveler's name, which means that this person performed "Hajj" - a Muslim pilgrimage. In the Muslim world, this pious tradition is quite common to this day. And in the times of the Ottoman Empire, we can trace its influence on the Orthodox Greeks. So, to the name of the Orthodox Greeks, who made a trip to the Holy Land, also added a prefix "Haji".


This addition to the name of the pilgrim, despite his non-Christian background, was intended to testify to the accomplished feat of worship, as well as the transfiguration that was to occur in the life of the traveler. In addition, the prefix "Haji" underscored how much importance society attaches to perfect pilgrimage.


What is the difference between pilgrims and tourists? When it comes to beach rest, on the one hand, and visiting Athos on the other, everything seems clear. In the first case - recreation and entertainment. In the second - a special prayer and worship of holy things. But how to determine the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim, when the directions coincide? When is the goal essentially the same? Here is a simple example: travelers travel to Jerusalem. Both tourists and pilgrims. They fly on the same aircraft. Then they go to the Holy Land by cars or buses. They visit the Holy Sepulcher, Gethsemane, Bethlehem. Women try to wear handkerchiefs in churches, and men do not forget to remove baseball caps. Everyone is listening to the story of the escort.


And here we can denote a fundamental difference. For a tourist who, although he came "with religious purposes," the central moment of his stay in the Holy Land is still the introduction to new knowledge. The spectrum of attitude to the shrine in people can be different: from simple curiosity to conscious religious enlightenment. The tourist arrives to be able to see the shrines, get acquainted with the evangelical history and religious traditions, with the temple architecture and the church art.


Pilgrimage is the believer's participation in the cathedral prayer, and religious tourism is, rather, the person's familiarization with culture


For a pilgrim, any excursion, the story of the accompanying person - all this is just an introduction, preparation for the most important thing - to religious worship to the shrine. That is, viewing historical sights in a temple or a monastery, memories of evangelical events or about the life of saints form a certain spiritual spirit for the pilgrim. The peak lies in the conscious, meaningful participation of the pilgrim in the worship and acceptance of the Holy Christ's Secrets, in the special prayer before the miraculous icons and reverent worship of the honest relics of God's saints. In the Holy Land is, of course, the worship of places associated with the earthly life of the Savior. Orthodox pilgrimage is part of the religious life of a believer. His main goal is the spiritual renewal of man. Therefore, the atmosphere throughout the trip, despite the same places of visits, the pilgrims and tourists are also different. In the first case, it is an atmosphere of prayer and repentance. In the second - the atmosphere of curiosity, lively interest, attention, and, perhaps, vice versa, tired indifference.


Let us cite in conclusion such an analogue: if a pilgrimage can be compared with the study of the Law of God, then religious tourism - with the study of the Foundations of Orthodox Culture. That is, in both cases we are talking about faith and religion. However, the pilgrimage is the believer's participation in the cathedral prayer, and religious tourism is, rather, the person's access to culture, of course, primarily, to its spiritual component, without which it is impossible to understand either the history of mankind or world culture.


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