This year’s pilgrimage to the Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Trabzon of Pontos (Black Sea) will be held with great pomp and ceremony and with the participation of thousands of faithful from the former USSR countries and Greece.
In the pilgrimage, held for a third consecutive year at the initiative and with the financial support of SAE former USSR countries Regional Coordinator and Russian Duma MP Ivan Savvidis, are expected to participate more than 2,000 people according to estimates.
Events will be launched on Friday, August 14 at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela on Mt Vermio, Imathia Prefecture, in northern Greece and will culminate on August 15 at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Trabzon of Pontos.
A copy of the Panagia Soumela icon will be delivered to the Regional Coordinator by Metropolitan Bishop Panteleimon of Veria and Kampania to be taken to Pontos on Friday, August 14 after the Great Hierarchal Vespers blessed by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
Later on the same day and during a formal dinner, Ivan Savvidis will be honored by Panagia Soumela Foundation President Georgios Tanimanidis with the Gold Medal of Soumeliotissa in recognition of his service to Pontian Hellenism.
On the next day, August 15, a ship from Sochi, Russia will sail into the port of Trabzon with 500 faithful, the majority of them young members of the community. Roughly 30 chartered buses from Greece, Georgia and Armenia are also expected to arrive at the same time. Two special flights from Moscow and Rostov, Russia will land at the airport in Trabzon at 08:00.
Regional Coordinator Ivan Savvidis on a special flight from Thessaloniki will arrive at the airport of Trabzon at 09:00 accompanied by officials and journalists and with the copy of the Panagia Somela icon.
The pilgrims will arrive by car at the foothills of Mt Mela where the Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela is located. A procession will be formed headed by the icon of Panagia and a pilgrimage will be held at the holiest place for the Hellenism of Pontos.
An Open Meeting of the SAE former USSR countries Coordinating Council and Youth Coordinating Council will take place at 14:00.
Cultural events with the participation of young folk dancers will be launched at 16:00 and will end late in the evening.