08/17/2004, 00.00
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Icon of Our Lady of Kazan: Russian Patriarch minimises papal gift

Moscow (AsiaNews) – The icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which the Pope is donating to the people of Russia, is "just one of many existing copies" of the miraculous image.  "Therefore, the Pope need not come to Russia in person. Two cardinals can bring it to the Kremlin." This is what Patriarch Alexis II told Russian President Putin in their most recent meeting.

On July 10 John Paul II expressed his desire to personally donate the icon of Our Lady of Kazan to Alexis II and through him to the Russian Orthodox Church so that it may be venerated by all Russians, Catholics included.

Alexis minimised the Pope's gesture defining the image "as one of many copies of the original miraculous icon that disappeared in the early 1900s."

Experts in iconography have dismissed out of hand the notion of "copy" when it comes to icons. Every one of them is an original work of art based on a few pictorial principles. Our Lady of Kazan is indeed one such work of art.

Vatican sources told AsiaNews that the icon the Pope is donating is authentic and dates back to around 1700.

Putin's visit to Alexis II was the first one in the Patriarch's new residence in Moscow's Peredelkino district. The new building covers a 5,000 sq. m. area and costs about US$ 70 million. During their meeting the two leaders discussed the future plans of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Pope will hand the icon over to Walter Cardinal Kasper, head of the Vatican delegation to Russia, on August 25. Cardinal Kasper will donate it to Alexis II in Moscow on August 28, on the Orthodox Feast of the Dormition of Mary. (LF)

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See also
"The handover of the icon of Kazan is an historic event"
Bartholomew: speaking at the synod, "a unique event of extraordinary importance"
The Patriarch should be first to see the icon of Kazan, Vatican official told
Our Lady of Kazan's journey home between fresh hopes and old wars
Our Lady of Kazan: artefact of history and object of faith for the Russian people


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