June 13, 2016: Pavel of Taganrog
became the first and the only saint in the South of Russia to receive universal veneration.
Earlier Saint Blessed Pavel of Taganrog used to be a locally venerated saint - the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church canonized him in the Diocese of Rostov in June 1998, followed by the canonization act in the city of Taganrog on June 20, 1999.
In the recent years, a special Mitropolis of Don canonization commission studied the saint's biography, selfless devotion and sacrifice, lifestyle of the religious community that he established in Taganrog. Members of the commission determined that veneration for Blessed Pavel of Taganrog
reached even beyond canonical domains of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The groundwork has been made not only by Russian Orthodox Church representatives, but also by tens of experts, including anthropologists, forensic scientists, geneticists, soil scientists, historians, scholars in culture studies, psychologists, language scholars, criminal law experts, local history experts, architectures, archaeologists and many more. The long-awaited universal glorification ceremony was held on June 11, 2016 in the downtown Taganrog area between Blessed Starets Pavel of Taganrog
's house and Saint Nicholas The Wonder-worker church.
Mercury, metropolitan of Rostov and Novocherkassk, representatives of Rostov Oblast Government and thousands of pilgrims came to Taganrog to participate in the events. After a prayer service in front of Pavel of Taganrog
's kelya, the Cross Procession started towards Saint Nicholas The Wonder-Worker church, where a feast divine liturgy was held.
The same day, an exact copy of the famous "Fog Bell of Chersonesos", sometimes considered by many as "one of Taganrog's sights located abroad", was consecrated by Mercury, metropolitan of Rostov an Novocherkassk and placed in front of the Saint Nicholas church. Its history goes back to the time of Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774, in the aftermath of which it was cast in 1778 from the the trophy Turkish cannons seized by the Russian army. The bell features depictions of patron saints of sailors: Saint Nicholas and Saint Phocas and the following phrase can still be read today: "This bell was cast in the Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Church in Taganrog from the trophy Turkish artillery...weight...pounds. Year 1778, month of August, on the day of..."
The bell was cast before the foundation of Sevastopol for the Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker Church in Taganrog, which was the Russian Navy's military base at that time. Until 1803 the St.Nicholas church was subordinated to the Navy ministry. After Sevastopol became the main Russian military navy base in the South of Russia, the Emperor Alexander I ordered the bell to be transported to Sevastopol to be fitted in the Church of St. Nicholas which was being constructed there, with other bells and church plates also given over to the city of Sevastopol.
During the Crimean War the fog bell was seized by the French and was placed in the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris. Many years later, a bell with a Russian inscription was found and finally thanks to diplomatic efforts undertaken by both sides, and especially by the French consul in Sevastopol Louis Ge, the bell was solemnly returned to monastery at Chersonesos on September 13, 1913 and was placed on a temporary wooden belfry near the St.Vladimir Cathedral in Sevastopol.
The production of the bell's copy was initiated and financed by Mr. Maxim Matusevich, director general of Trade and Production Group LEMAX.