“We understand that there is a pilgrimage, there is religious tourism, and this is an important part of the motivation that leads people from their home: travelers with great interest visit religious complexes, holy places. Many are interested in our region, we see that, despite all problems with coronavirus, guests come to us. And our interaction here is very important, because we must tell the right story, we must work together - and this is part of our mutual work - those who meet guests on the routes, when visiting holy places, temples ", - commented Sergey Korneev.
The agreement was concluded on the eve of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the birth of the holy right-believing Prince Alexander Nevsky, which will be celebrated in 2021. The document implies the creation and promotion of new pilgrimage and religious routes in St. Petersburg and further in the cities of the Silver Necklace of Russia.
According to Sergei Korneev, the implementation of the agreement will make it possible to talk more about St. Petersburg as one of the centers of attraction for religious tourism not only in Russia but also in the world.
“St. Petersburg - from the very day of its foundation, has been a place of intersection of various cultures, religions and beliefs with a large number of historical monuments and objects of the country's spiritual heritage. The Committee for Tourism Development and the St. Petersburg Diocese have a long experience of cooperation, in particular, in the creation of joint routes, - said Sergey Korneev. - By joint efforts in October 2018, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Nevsky Prospect, the excursion route "Temples of Nevsky Prospect" was created. The route showed, with an emphasis on cultural and historical heritage, the Northern capital of Russia as a multi-confessional city with a rich history.
The new agreement formalized the creation of a joint working group for the implementation of the set goals, and also formed a specific action plan for the development of the direction. The results of the work will be the creation of new religious and pilgrimage excursion routes both in St. Petersburg and the territory of the St. Petersburg diocese, and further in the cities of the North-West of Russia, included in the interregional tourist project "Silver Necklace of Russia".
Thus, the Northern capital will become a kind of travel hub, a starting point for pilgrimage and religious travel around the country.
Metropolitan Barsanuphius noted that last year the pilgrimage received legal status. “Now we have a wonderful opportunity to make efforts to develop it together with government authorities,” he said.
The Metropolitan noted that in St. Petersburg there are many shrines that have not only all-Russian but also general Christian significance, and tens of thousands of pilgrims come to the city every year to receive spiritual support and consolation.
“I myself often visit holy places with large groups of pilgrims and I see that many people on trips acquire faith when they come into contact with shrines, think about the eternal, about the meaning of life, about spiritual ideals. A modern man cannot live only by material aspirations. I am sure that the cooperation of the diocese with the tourism development committee will bring good results for the benefit of our city and people, "the metropolitan said at the signing ceremony of the agreement.
By the way, on November 18, speaking at the "government hour" in the Federation Council, the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Development (Rosturizm) Zarina Doguzova stated that the issues of pilgrim tourism can be effectively solved in the format of a national project for the development of domestic tourism in Russia.
“I am sure that pilgrim tourism and all the issues related to its development can also be effectively solved within the framework of the national project. As well as other directions and types of tourism,” Zarina Doguzova said.
There are 13 travel agencies in Petersburg that participate in the organization of pilgrimage tours. On the basis of the "City Tourist Information Bureau", master classes on Orthodox topics for guides and guides-translators have been organized and operate. The official tourist portal of St. Petersburg Visit-Petersburg.ru contains five routes of a religious, cultural and educational orientation: "Heavenly Patrons of St. Petersburg", "Revived Temples", "Treasures of St. Petersburg Monasteries", "Temples of the Russian Guard" and "Temples of Nevsky Prospect».
"Silver Necklace of Russia"
The interregional tourism project unites 11 constituent entities of the Northwestern Federal District of the Russian Federation: St. Petersburg, Leningrad, Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Pskov, Novgorod regions, the Republic of Karelia and Komi and the Nenets Autonomous District. The essence of the project is to combine a set of routes in order to show unique monuments of history and culture, as well as natural sites, including those included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.