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The revival of pilgrimage, which is part of a worldwide phenomenon is being researched by Dr. Stella Rock and will soon be turned into a book. Her findings, together with Sandra Reddin's photographs will be published by Routledge under the title, The Re-enchantment of Russia: Post Soviet Pilgrimage & the Making of Sacred Space".

Sandra and Stella have been travelling to Russia since they studied Russian together at the University of Westminster. As part of their research they have walked more than 20 pilgrimages all over Russia in the past 6 years.

They have joined 30,000 pilgrims and walked the  150km Velikoretsky procession 3 times.

For 6 days pilgrims bear the icon of St Nicholas the "Wonderworker' from the town of Kirov to Velikoretsky and back again.

Not for the fainthearted pilgrims rise at 2am and struggle through marshes and forests for 18 hours before collapsing on the floor of a school or tent. People of all ages take part, coming from all over Russia carrying everything they need through sun, hail and mud with astonishing good humour. 

Pilgrims are joining this annual journey, which has continued uninterrupted for 600 years in increasing numbers.

The picture above is titled "Goroxovo 2012. 3rd day of the Velikoretsky Procession" and was selected by London Independent Photography for it's 25th Annual Exhibition. It was also chosen for the exhibition's flyer.