The 2nd Saint Olaf Pilgrimage is a five-day event from 25 to 29 July 2014. It includes a 100 km (62 miles) walk as well as everyday liturgical celebrations. These shall be Holy Masses according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) and Divine Liturgies according to the Slavo-Byzantine Rite (the Russian Greek-Catholic rite). The pilgrimage enjoys the blessing of the Roman Catholic Archbishop in Moscow Msgr. Paolo Pezzi.
Where and when
The pilgrimage starts from the St. Nicholas Church in the town of Luga (southern Leningrad Oblast, Russia) and its destination is the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the ancient city of Novgorod.
The walk begins on July 25. However, those who arrive one day in advance could take part in short evening recollections. It is also possible to spend the night in a tent camp on the church premises. The walking days are July 25, 26, 27 and 28. Pilgrims will reach Novgorod some time in the afternoon on July 28 and then enter the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in procession. They will spend the last night of the pilgrimage in relative comfort of parish accommodation, where they can use showers, etc. After that, they will attend the Holy Mass on the morning of July 29, celebrated in a more solemn manner in the honor of Saint Olaf.
Saint Olaf of Norway (995 – 29 July 1030), King and Martyr, is one of the relatively few Roman Catholic saints who have been to the territory of modern Russia. While in exile, he spent some time in the city of Novgorod with his brother-in-law, Russian Prince Yaroslav the Wise. After his departure and martyrdom, St. Olaf became highly revered by both Russian and Western Christians of the Novgorod region. A venerated icon of St. Olaf consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI is kept in the Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic parish of Novgorod.
Another saint important for this pilgrimage is St. Vladimir (c. 958 – 15 July 1015), Yaroslav’s father, who Christianized Russians and whose feast in the Slavo-Byzantine Rite falls one day before St. Olaf’s in the Latin Rite.
Just as the two saints belong to different Rites of the same Church, the St. Olaf Pilgrimage brings together Catholics of different Rites. The pilgrims will participate in celebrating the Divine Mysteries with ceremonies that both saints would have recognized as something familiar: the traditional Latin and Slavo-Byzantine liturgies.
The pilgrimage is organized by Una Voce Russia in cooperation with two Catholic parishes in Russia: the St. Nicholas Parish in Luga (Latin Rite) and the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish in St. Petersburg (Slavo-Byzantine Rite). At the destination, the pilgrimage is hosted by the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Novgorod.
Who can participate
Every Catholic (as an individual or as a part of a group) physically fit to walk 25 km (16 miles) a day is welcome to participate in the pilgrimage. Minors under 18 years old must be accompanied by parents or other adults who are legally responsible for them. Catechumens and those in process of preparation for converting to the Catholic Church are treated as Catholics. Non-Catholics may also apply but will be considered individually.
Participants shall have to pay for the Russian visa and their obligatory medical insurance, as well as for the travel to Luga and return travel from Novgorod. Please check if you need a visa to enter the country well in advance.
All participants have to pay an arrangement fee. Its amount will be decided later, depending on the number of participants and other factors. We do not expect it to exceed 3,000 Rubles (60 Euro, USD 85). The organizers of the pilgrimage will provide modest breakfast (hot coffee/cocoa/tea and porridge or boiled rice), supper (hot soup), and drinking water. You might also want to bring your own dry rations to support yourself during the walk. The luggage will be transported between the camps on trucks that we hire. The arrangement fee also covers evacuation to Luga or Novgorod in case of urgent transportation needs (e.g. medical issues). Extremely tired walkers can be driven to the next stop or camp in our car.
How to apply
Please contact Una Voce Russia at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply. We need to know your:
ü First and Last Name
ü Birth Date and Year
ü Languages that you speak
ü Health Issues (if any)
ü Probability of Coming, on a 1 to 5 scale (1 = “I might be interested to come”, 5 = “I will come for sure”).
Priests and religious, please identify yourself as such.
Those applying as organized groups, please provide the name for your group and indicate the group coordinator (preferably someone who could communicate in Russian or English).