A Crucession, or Cross Procession , is a procession that takes place in the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and Eastern Catholic liturgical traditions. The name derives from the fact that the procession is headed by a cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...


Normally, the Crucession is preceded by a lantern. Then comes the cross, flanked by processional banners
Khorúgv , is a religious banner used liturgically in the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.The khorugv or banner consists of an icon of Christ, the Theotokos or a saint, either painted or embroidered on a rectangular piece of cloth. The cloth will often be pointed, swallow-tailed, or...

 and icons. The Choir and Clergy will come next, followed by the faithful. If there are altar server
Altar server
An altar server is a lay assistant to a member of the clergy during a Christian religious service. An altar server attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying, ringing the altar bell and so on....

s, the Crucession will be accompanied by incense and candles. During the Crucession, the choir sings hymns that are particular to the event the Crucession celebrates. Crucessions will often circle around the outside of the Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 (church building) three times, then come to stop on the front steps of the building, where the next portion of the service will take place. Other Crucessions will be in the form of a procession from the Temple to a particular location where the next portion of the service will take place.


The most well-known Crucessions are:
  • Holy Week
    Holy Week
    Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

    —On Great Saturday
    Holy Saturday
    Holy Saturday , sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter...

    , a Crucession is made as the clergy carry the Epitaphios
    Epitaphios (liturgical)
    The Epitaphios is an icon, today most often found as a large cloth, embroidered and often richly adorned, which is used during the services of Great Friday and Great Saturday in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow...

     (Slavonic: Plashchanitsa) around the Temple three times, as the Choir sings the Trisagion
    The Trisagion , sometimes called by its opening line Agios O Theos or by the Latin Tersanctus, is a standard hymn of the Divine Liturgy in most of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Catholic Churches.In those Churches which use the Byzantine Rite, the Trisagion is chanted...

    . After the third circuit of the Temple, the clergy cary the Epitaphios into the Temple, and hold it above the door, so that as all enter the Temple they pass under the Epitaphios, symbolically entering with Christ into the tomb. Because this is a sorrowful procession, the banners are not carried in this Crucession.
  • Pascha
    Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

    —The first Paschal Crucession takes place during the Paschal Vigil
    Easter Vigil
    The Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, is a service held in many Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Historically, it is during this service that people are baptized and that adult catechumens are received into...

     on Easter Sunday; then there is another Crucession called for on every day of Bright Week
    Bright Week
    Bright Week or Renewal Week is the name used by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches of the Byzantine Rite for the period of seven days beginning on Pascha and continuing up to the following Sunday, which is known as Thomas Sunday...

     either following Paschal Matins
    Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

     or after the Paschal Divine Liturgy
    Divine Liturgy
    Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

    . During the Crucession the Choir sings the Paschal Canon
    Canon (hymnography)
    A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, sometimes called canticles or songs depending on the translation, based on the Biblical canticles. Most of these are found in the Old Testament, but the final ode is taken from the Magnificat and...

    . On the weekdays of Bright Week the Artos
    The term Artos refers to a loaf of leavened bread that is blessed during services in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches...

     is carried in the Crucession (though not at the Crucession during the Paschal Vigil, because at that point it has not yet been blessed
    A blessing, is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, divine will, or one's hope or approval.- Etymology and Germanic paganism :...

  • Theophany—Procession at the end of Liturgy from the Temple to a river or shore where the Great Blessing of Waters will take place. Afterwards, the Crucession returns to the Temple for the completion of the service. The choir sings special hymns of the Feast written for this service.
  • Dormition—In those churches and monasteries that observe the rite of the Burial of the Mother of God, a crucession takes place with the Epitaphios of the Theotokos
    Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

    , patterned after the one on Great Saturday.
  • Moleben
    A molében , also called a molieben, service of intercession, or service of supplication, is a supplicatory prayer service used within the Orthodox Christian Church and various Eastern Catholic Churches in honor of Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, a Feast, or a particular saint or martyr.The Moleben...

    —Usually on the Patronal Feast
    Patron saint
    A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

     of a Church or Monastery
    Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

    , there will be a Crucession around the outside of the Temple, while a Moleben (prayer of intercession) is celebrated to the Patron Saint.
  • Funeral
    A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

    —The coffin is carried from the Temple to the grave in a crucession. If it is the funeral of a layman, the choir sings the Trisagion
    The Trisagion , sometimes called by its opening line Agios O Theos or by the Latin Tersanctus, is a standard hymn of the Divine Liturgy in most of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Catholic Churches.In those Churches which use the Byzantine Rite, the Trisagion is chanted...

    ; if the deceased is a priest
    A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

     or bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

     the clergy will chant the Great Canon of St. Andrew
    Andrew of Crete
    For the martyr of 766 of the same name, see Andrew of Crete .Saint Andrew of Crete For the martyr of 766 of the same name, see Andrew of Crete (martyr).Saint Andrew (Andreas) of Crete (also known as Andrew of Jerusalem) For the martyr of 766 of the same name, see Andrew of Crete (martyr).Saint...


Notable crucessions

In 1991, the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov
Seraphim of Sarov
Saint Seraphim of Sarov , born Prokhor Moshnin , is one of the most renowned Russian monks and mystics in the Orthodox Church. He is generally considered the greatest of the 19th century startsy and, arguably, the first...

 were rediscovered after being hidden in a Soviet anti-religious
Religion in the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion and its replacement with atheism. To that end, the communist regime confiscated religious property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in schools...

 museum for seventy years. This caused a sensation in post-Soviet Russia, and indeed throughout the Orthodox world. A crucession was formed to escort the relics, on foot, all the way from Moscow to St. Seraphim-Diveyevo Convent
Serafimo-Diveevsky Monastery
Serafimo-Diveevsky Monastery, or Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery, or Holy Trinity-Saint Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery near Sarov , and near the city of Nizhny Novgorod , in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia. It is situated in a region considered to have immense spiritual significance...

, where they remain to this day. The Patriarch of Moscow himself took part in a portion of this crucession.

During April 2, 2006 — July 18, 2006 an international Crucession was carried out across Transnistria
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine...

, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...


On May 20, 2007 probably the longest krestny khod was started in the city of Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 on Russia's Pacific coast that will go all the way to Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...


External links

  • Traditional Crucession
  • Crucession on the Feast of the Dormition
    Dormition of the Theotokos
    The Dormition of the Theotokos is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of the Theotokos , and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on August 15 The Dormition...

  • Crucession at Ascension Convent on the Mount of Olives
    Mount of Olives
    The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south. The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters . It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes...

     at Jerusalem
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