Orthodoxy in the World Last Updated: Feb 8th, 2011 - 05:50:02

Back in its place
Idalya Vasilieva
Aug 31, 2010, 04:21
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August, 28, Moscow. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia consecrated the icon of Our Saviour on the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin. This icon had been bricked up for 80 years until it was recovered and restored. The return of this icon is a very significant event in Russia, as the Spasskaya Tower is one of Moscow’s symbols along with St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square. After the ceremony Patriarch Kirill and President Medvedev had a meeting.

Dmitry Medvedev: Your Holiness! Please accept my warmest Assumption Day greetings. I thank you for participating in the recent event – in consecration of one of the discovered  icons which is now back above the gates of the Spasskaya Tower. It is a very special situation, a real miracle. I am glad to take part in this event today, because it is a uniting cause for our country. Truly, it was a brave feat of those who preserved the icons for us, risking their lives. And the way these icons were recovered is a very special situation for Moscow, for the Kremlin.

And, despite that it is raining and the weather is difficult, it seems to me that this day will go down in our history. Today it is raining in Moscow, which has really been longed-for. Moscow did wait for this rain, the whole Russia was waiting, as the summer turned out to be very difficult.

The whole country was helping putting out wildfires that consumed the Central region and the regions along Volga. People were helping with their hands, with money – in other words, tooth-and-nail, together.

And the Russian Orthodox Church did not stay away from this tragedy – naturally, the Church stayed with the people. I know that You were dealing with these troubles and many priests participated in all these things merely meeting ordinary people.

Therefore I would like on behalf of us all to thank the Russian Orthodox Church for this effort and to express admiration to ordinary people who would come and give their clothes and money, who would personally take part in fire control, not even belonging to those regions or their problems.

That is what I wanted to say. So, Your Holiness, please…

Patriarch Kirill: I thank you warmly, Dmitry Anatolyevich, for what have become possible today. Everything can be estimated from the historical coincidences point of view, but we can also analyse it using a different scale.

The Spasskaya Tower now has the icon of the Saviour – it is symbolic[i]. And as far as the rain is concerned, let us remember that it also rained during the Victory Day parade. Rain is always a sign of God’s grace. We were praying desperately for rain, so now it pours every day. And let it be, so that our dried-up land would become saturated.

I also thank you for the high appraisal of the Russian Orthodox Church humble effort. You mentioned ordinary people who took part in the common cause. You see, people came to our institutions that managed collection of humanitarian aid, helped firemen and volunteers, - young people who all of a sudden came there instead of going to clubs, shared what they had with others, drove their own cars to places of tragedy and delivered this humanitarian aid. We all have changed, as one of our directors said. We were cleansed by this fire. We pray that all the hardships that our Motherland suffers strengthen us and our Russia be thus renewed. And I would like to wish you with all my heart God’s help and strength in the high service you do for the good of Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, your Holiness.

[i] “Spasskaya”  derives from “Spas”, the Church-Slavonic for the Saviour

Photos courtesy S.Vlasov, K. Novotarsky

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