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3 May, 2008 22:43

Orthodox procession brightens New York

As the Orthodox Church marks the first week after Easter – Bright Week – believers in New York have been celebrating the occasion with a religious procession through the streets of Manhattan. The clergy in Russia say the parade symbo

It is the largest celebration of its kind to be held since the Russian Orthodox Church reunited with its followers abroad.

'Bright Saturday' marks the end of the first week of Easter. And it is even more special this year because, watching over the ceremony, is the holy image of the Kursk Root Icon, which is believed to hold miraculous powers.

Russian Orthodox tradition usually includes a procession around a church. The problem is, Manhattan’s infrastructure doesn’t allow for that. But, with the help of the New York City authorities, the procession takes place around the block.

It’s not a common sight on East 97th street. Passers-by stop to look at the 60 clergymen and hundreds of Orthodox believers taking part in the celebration. For them, this is history in the making.

Many say this service is the culmination of an 80-year journey towards the worldwide unification of the Russian Orthodox Church.