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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Icons for Believers


With reference to your editorial "Icons Belong to the People of Russia" (Nov. 30), would anyone with minimal knowledge of the subject doubt the fundamental place of icons in the Christian tradition of Russian Orthodoxy?

For an Orthodox believer, the icon is much more than just a work of art to be glared at by tourists. It is a work of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. In all cases, the ancient icons were created by monks in the monasteries, and not by (secular) artists.

The relevance of the Virgin of Vladimir, with supposedly miraculous, powers, as probably the most holy icon in the world should alone be enough to return it to its right and proper place - to the believers of Russia and the Orthodox Church.

The Tretyakov gallery's management suggests that the icon may not be properly preserved outside of the gallery. Surely the Church will be able to ensure its safekeeping!

Not to return the icon to the Patriarchy of Moscow, the seat of Russian Orthodoxy, would be a further insult to Christianity in Russia, which after 70 years of brutal persecution deserves better. May I be so bold as to suggest an alternative headline to your editorial: "Icons Belong to the Believers of Russia".

Dominic Schofield

English Editor, The Neva News

St. Petersburg