09/06/2004, 00.00
VATICAN - RUSSIA
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McCarrick: "You could see joy in people's eyes after the icon's return"

Russia (AsiaNews) – For Card. Edgar Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, the return of the icon of Kazan "was an historic moment", a moment in which "you could see joy in people's eyes," he said.

Cardinal McCarrick was a member of the Vatican delegation that brought Our Lady of Kazan to Moscow as the Pope's gift of to Patriarch Aleksij II and the people of Russia.

AsiaNews spoke to him about the icon's return to the Russian Orthodox Church. Here is the text of the interview.

Your Eminence what are your impressions of the great event?

It was truly an historic moment, a great event. You could feel how strong the wish among Russians was to see the icon of Our Lady of Kazan once again. The Patriarch spoke at length and so eloquently about it. You could see the joy in people's eyes to get the ancient icon back. As for us it was a joy to see the Holy Father's happiness at being able to send the gift and fulfilling a long held wish.

When did you first learn about the icon?

Blue Army, the Catholic association that bought the icon, was probably unaware that it was Our Lady of Kazan. The image was so beautiful that they decided to display it at their Pilgrims Lodge in Fatima. Some years later, after I became advisor to them, someone said that it must be the famous icon of Kazan. At that point, we asked the Blue Army to give it to the Holy Father and they did.

This Sunday you co-celebrated mass in Moscow's Catholic Cathedral. Had you been there before?

I was there when the church was consecrated. And I was there when the church was a building with four stores. I saw the Cathedral rise and become part of history. For me celebrating mass in that church was a moment great satisfaction and joy. (AF)

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