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.
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 patriarchia.ru S.Vlasov, K. Novotarsky