While an equestrian Cossack squad is still on a march to Paris, their comrades erected an Orthodox church at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium in twenty-four hours. Metropolitan Kirill of Stavropol, who heads a church department for Cossack affairs, on Wednesday conducted a prayer in the new church devoted to the Icon of the Mother of God of the Don.

Cossack leader Valery Nalimov, commander of the Central Cossack Army, said that the wooden church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Don would soon be dispatched to the flood-stricken town of Krymsk. Last year, the Cossacks who attended the first “Cossack Village –Moscow” festival at Moscow’s Gorky Park built the first church which was then sent to the Stavropol territory.

On Wednesday, the Luzhniki stadium in the Russian capital hosted a second “Cossack Village-Moscow” festival.

“It’s vitally important for us that the Cossack festival is being held in the year of the 200th anniversary of Russian people’s victory in the 1812 Patriotic War against Napoleon in which the Cossacks played an important role,” Cossack leader Valery Nalimov said.

“More than 1,500 representatives from 11 Cossack associations of Russia, including the Kuban region, the Urals and the Siberia, are expected to participate in the festival. Twenty-six Cossack folk groups will give concerts at Luzhniki where a Cossack fair will also take place; the best riders will demonstrate stunts on horseback while wrestlers will demonstrate a Cossack close fight.

The festival’s venue has been designed as a real Cossack village where visitors will be able to see the work of blacksmiths, potters and platters and try various Cossack delicacies such as “kvass” (a fermented beverage made of rye bread), mead (honey wine), a true bacon of the Don region, honey, etc.

Children will be able to enjoy jokes, funny games, contests, round dances and other entertainments.

The Military Choir of the Moscow District of the Central Cossack Army will open the festival. The opening ceremony will end with a march of cadets of the Moscow Cossack Cadet Corps named after Mikhail Sholokhov. Guards of Honor of the Kuban Cossack Army will show an exhibition performance. The world famous State Academic Cossack Choir will culminate the program.

The second “Cossack Village – Moscow” festival has been organized by the Moscow Department for inter-regional cooperation, national policy and links with religious organizations and the Council for Cossack Affairs set up under the president of Russia.