UOC hierarch: Cross procession is Christ’s sermon to outside world
Religious processions show that we are people of the Church and peace, explained the rector of the KDAiS Bishop Sylvester (Stoychev).
The cross procession is Christ’s sermon to the outside world. The rector of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary (KDAiS), Bishop Sylvester (Stoychev) of Bilogorodka, spoke about this on the air of the First Nezalezhny on July 27, 2021, before the start of the Great Cross Procession of the UOC in Kyiv to celebrate the 1033rd anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’.
The hierarch of the UOC stressed that a cross procession is always a prayer, and “people go to the procession in a different way than it is customary to go, for example, a demonstration”.
“People go to the cross procession to show the outside world our prayerful attitude,” Bishop Sylvester explained. “We are all accustomed to the fact that the liturgical life of Orthodox Christians is connected with the church – church worship, church traditions. But the cross procession as a phenomenon is just going outside the church to show the outside world, to people who, to one degree or another, do not identify themselves with the Church, do not relate themselves to church life – here it is, church life, here are the people who profess to be Orthodox Christians. And these people come out to pray."
He said that the very phenomenon of the cross procession is associated with feasts. For example, on patron’s days, the clergy and parishioners perform a small cross procession around their church after the service. Thus, according to the rector of the KDAiS, believers show the meaning of what is happening, and also bring the received God's blessing outside the temple.
“There are such important words that the priest reads almost at the end of the Divine Liturgy: "We go out in peace." This "going out in peace" means that that mood, that God's blessing, which a person received during the service, he takes outside the church. And the Great Cross Procession, which the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been organizing for several years in a row, is held with the same idea – to show that we go out in peace, we bring peace, we bear the blessing of God, we are people of the Church, people of peace who belong to the Orthodox tradition," explained Bishop Sylvester of Bilogorodka.
On July 27, on the Vladimir Hill in Kyiv, a prayer service led by the Primate of the UOC will be performed, after which a cross procession will set off for the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.