09 April 2007, 10:01
Return of stolen icons to Russia on eve of Easter is symbolic - Alexy II
Moscow, April 9, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and all Russia has said that the return of orthodox icons, including the image of the Vladimir Holy Mother, to Russia on the eve of the Easter holiday, is symbolic.
"Should one imagine the number of people and generations who have been worshiping at the shrine, the icon gains a special status," the patriarch said at the end of an Easter prayer at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Sunday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented the image of the Vladimir Holy Mother, which as experts claim originated in the 16th century, to the Russian Orthodox Church during the Easter vigil at the cathedral.
The icon left Russia in 1920-s. It was sold at an auction in London in 1980-s. The image has been bought and returned to Russia recently.
Experts believe that this is an ancient Kremlin icon, which is very important from the historic and spiritual points of view. Some specialists believe that the icon was written before the 16th century.
The patriarch also marked the fact that another icon, Christ's Resurrection, which was stolen in 1990-s from a museum in the town of Ustyuzhna, sawed in three peaces and taken to foreign countries, returned to the Russian Orthodox Church ahead of the Easter holiday. "Kind people bought the icon, repaired it and gave it to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior," Alexy II said.
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