Our Lady Of Kazan To Be Returned From Vatican To Russia

Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev believes that the Vatican-based icon of Our Lady of Kazan can be returned to Russia, namely to the Tatarstan's capital of Kazan, prior to the millennium of the city to be marked in 2005, reports the Tatar president's press-service. "Pope John Paul the Second is eager to return the icon to Kazan in his lifetime," said Mintimer Shaimiev. He had discussed the problem with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II, who, according to the press-service, did not object to the return of the icon. The icon of Our Lady of Kazan was acquired on July 8, 1579 by the ten-year-old girl Matryona who had had a dream of the image resting under ashes in the ruins of one of the Kazan houses. As legend goes, this icon helped Minin and Pozharsky who led Kazan militia liberate Moscow from the Polish invasion in 1612. It was kept in Moscow's Kazan cathedral built to commemorate the victory over the Poles until 1710. Later, on Peter the Great's order, it was transferred to St.Petersburg to be stolen in the early '20s of the `20th century and sold abroad together with other church values. The icon is believed to have been bought by a Catholic organization from a certain American collector for $3 million and presented to Pope John Paul II in 1993.

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