The fifth procession of the cross, “The Wonder-Worker of Rila”, in honor of the first Bulgarian hermit Venerable John (Ivan) of Rila (c. 876-946; feast: October 19/November 1) has started in the Bulgarian capital, reports the official website of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria.
The idea of several young people of walking to the Rila Monastery and venerating the Relics of St. John has become an annual event, joined by more and more Christians from different corners of Bulgaria and other countries.
For six days, from August 1 to 6, the cross procession members are expected to walk more than 100 kilometers of the route, to cross three mountain massifs of Vitosha, Verila and Rila, to spend nights in tent cities.
The cross procession started with the Liturgy, celebrated at the Hagia Sophia Church by Presbyter-Economos Angel Angelov, Protosynkellos of the Sofia Metropolis, one of this walking pilgrimage’s organizers.
After the Liturgy His Eminence Bishop John of Glavinitsa performed a festal water-blessing service, sprinkled the cross procession members with Holy water and delivered a speech of encouragement.
The first stop of the cross procession was made near the Rotunda (Church) of Holy Greatmartyr George the Victory-Bearer (the oldest and best preserved monument of architecture since Roman times in Sofia), from which in 1469 the Holy Relics of Venerable John of Rila were translated to the Rila Monastery.