Aglona pilgrimage has widespread appeal, says Archbishop

A popular pilgrimage is drawing in pilgrims even from beyond the Catholic church, according to a prominent clergyman. 

Archbishop Zbigņevs Stankevičs, Rome's top man in Latvia, told the Morning Panorama news show on LTV that the pilgrimage to Aglona in eastern Latvia had long since been of interest to other denominations and even those who do not believe in Christianity.

In total, up to 60,000 people visit the festival every year. Some visitors come only for a specific event.

Asked about people going to Aglona more for spectacle than spiritual sustenance, the archbishop said: "Let it be a matter for their own conscience! We rejoice along with everyone... even if the motivation is confused, the sanctuary is a wonderful opportunity to purify the soul."

The festival of the assumption of the virgin Mary is important because one day we will all die, he explained: "That is a journey we will all make."

The fact it is also the end of the summer helps to swell the numbers, he added.

The archbishop believed that the main motivation for people to make the pilgrimage is to escape every day life, to "recharge batteries" and talk with like-minded people.

You can read more about the annual pilgrimage to Aglona HERE.

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