December 6, 2021

The Veneration of Saint Nicholas in Russia Today

In Russia, the veneration of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker is very widespread, and the number of churches dedicated to him and painted icons is the largest after the Mother of God. Until the beginning of the 20th century, his name was one of the most popular in Russia when naming babies. Saint Nicholas is the most revered saint in modern Russia as well. As of 2021, there are about 5,400 churches and chapels in Russia, not counting the monasteries, consecrated in honor of Saint Nicholas, which is about 12% of their total number (in second place are churches and chapels in honor of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos - about 1800).

From May 21 to July 28, 2017, during the temporary transfer of a particle of the relics of Saint Nicholas from the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari to Russia, about 2.5 million people venerated them (about 2 million in Moscow in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior from May 22 to July 12 and about 500 thousand in St. Petersburg in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra). An agreement to bring the relics to the Russian Orthodox Church was reached during a meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis on February 12, 2016 in Havana. This event took place for the first time in 930 years, during which the relics in Bari never left the city.