(AsiaNews) - A copy of the Mother of God Icon from Częstochowa
(the famous 'Black Madonna') yesterday reached in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far
East, where it will be honoured by hundreds of believers and prayers.
which is dear to both Catholics and Orthodox, arrived in a van that left Poland
and crossed Kazakhstan and China until it stopped in this far-east corner of
Siberia. From Russia's port city on the Pacific, the icon will travel to other
Russian cities until 20 July.
to Ocean,' the tour is designed to encourage prayers for the Mother of God in
support of the family and life.
Kowalewska (Poland), of Human Life International, and Igor Beloborodov (Russia),
head of Demographic
Research Institute in Moscow (pictured,
left), are the two pro-life campaigners behind the initiative.
the icon will travel through 20 countries before it reaches is destination in Fatima
(Portugal). After its tour of Russia, it will be in Belarus (20-28 July), Latvia
( 28 July- 5 August), Lithuania (5-12 August), Poland (12-26 August), Czech
Republic (26-31 August), Slovakia (31 August - 7 September), Hungary and Romania
(7-16 September), Slovenia (16-20 September), Croatia (20-25 September), Italia
(25-29 September), Austria (29 September - 14 October), Lichtenstein (14-15 October),
Switzerland (15-24 October), Germania (24 October - 2 November), Belgium (2-5 November),
Great Britain (5-16 November), Ireland (16-26 November), France (26 November
- 10 December), and Spain (10 December
want the campaign-cum-pilgrimage to show their support to countries like
Hungary and Poland that have a pro-life legislation but are under political
pressure from the European parliament and anti-family groups. Especially important
for them is to encourage an attitude of respect towards human life and a
rejection of abortion.
countries, Russia included, are marked by an aging population and have laws
allowing abortion, which are among the factors behind the economic crisis.
of abortion has become over the years a major
social problem. Organisers stress that Russia was the first nation in
the world to legalise abortion; now they hope that the Russian people will be
among the first to fight against this evil.
will be prayers before the miraculous icon requesting the Mother of God to
strengthen family ties," said Archpriest
Aleksandr Talko, from the local Eparchy, when
the icon reached Vladivostok.