8 July - Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness in Russia
The Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness is marked in Russia today, on the 8th of July. It is a young festival, only three years old, but it has become extremely popular in Russian society.
Saint Peter and Fevronia Muromskiye
The Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness is marked in Russia today, on the 8th of July. It is a young festival, only three years old, but it has become extremely popular in Russian society. A few thousand weddings are planned for this day and a recent survey of the Russian Centre of Public Opinion Research shows that 97% of the country’s population give family life top priority in their list of values.
Reviving traditional moral values is a top priority problem not only for the Russian Orthodox Church but also for the Russian authorities. For this reason celebrating the Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness was enthusiastically supported at the state level.At present, the Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness is well-known all over Russia and abroad, says one of the initiators of this festival, Vice-President of the Social and Cultural Initiatives’ FundTatiana Shumova:
"Russian cultural centrescan be found in many countries and they willingly responded to the Russian initiative. Their geography has considerably widened this year: Australia, Azerbaidjan, Abkhazia, Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, the UK, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Cyria and Slovakia, all in all 41 countries."
Common aims to preserve traditional values, including the family, are the basis for uniting all the Christian confessions, saidArchbishop Antonino Mennini, the head of Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio’s Office in Moscow:
"An effective dialogue is taking place now between Catholics and Orthodox Christians about maintaining and supporting moral and spiritual values. It seems we must find a new language for talking to our flocks, especially to young people. Very often youngsters are sure that life in obedience to the Gospel is boring and sad, without joy and hope for the future. Certainly, it is not true."
In the Western Churches, next to nothing is known about the Orthodox Saints Piotr and Fevronia, husband and wife. The day of their memory in the Russian Church, marked on the 8th of July, lay the foundation of the state festival, Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness, says a Moscow Patriarchate’s representative, Marc, Bishop of Yegorievsk.
“The example we offer society today is a serious and real symbol, a high quest. The Day of Piotr and Fevronia has been a religious festival in Russia for centuries. These Saints of the Russian Orthodox Churchshowed an example of holiness and genuinely pious life in the family”.
Legend has it that in the 13th century Prince Piotr of Murom married a common girl Fevronia against his parents’ will. The husband and wife lived happily all their life, later took religious vows and died on the same day at the same time. According to religious rules, they could not be buried together. But to everyone’s surprise, the next morning after the funeral their bodies were found in the same grave. Since then Puiotr and Fevronia have been venerated as a happy couple who did not want to part even after they died.