MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill praised as “historic” the decision to return Andrey Rublev’s “Holy Trinity” icon to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), according to the ROC website.
“The president of the Russian Federation has taken a historic decision to return the ‘Holy Trinity’ icon to the Russian Orthodox Church. We could only dream that this sacred item would be returned to the church, so that people could pray before it, asking God to bless and guide both the country and the church. I would like to thank Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and all of his staff who were involved in this process,” the patriarch said.
“This year, Pentecost Sunday falls on June 4,” Patriarch Kirill pointed out, “Given the unique historic and cultural value of this icon, I think it is right to put it on display for veneration at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral for two weeks from Pentecost Sunday, so that all believers have a chance to access it.”
The Russian Ministry of Culture’s press service confirmed that the celebrated 15th century icon would be put on display at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Orthodox Pentecost Sunday, which falls on June 4 this year.
“The Russian Ministry of Culture confirms that Andrey Rublev’s ‘Holy Trinity’ icon will be on display at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on June 4, 2023, to mark the Orthodox Christian holiday of Pentecost Sunday,” the statement said.
Patriarch Kirill also praised the decision to return Alexander Nevsky’s silver shrine to the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg from the State Hermitage Museum. “May God help this good endeavor – return of sacred items – to continue,” Patriarch Kirill concluded.
Returning sacred items to church
The Moscow Patriarchate reported on its website on May 15 that Andrey Rublev’s “Holy Trinity” icon had been returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. It will be placed on display for veneration at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior for one year before ultimately being restored to its traditional place as the centerpiece of the iconostasis (wall of icons in an Eastern Orthodox church) in the Trinity Cathedral at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery in the town of Sergiev Posad, 70 kilometers northeast of Moscow. Metropolitan Tikhon (secular name Georgy Shevkunov) of Pskov and Porkhov, chairman of the Patriarch’s Council on Culture, told TASS that the icon would be maintained in compliance with the technical requirements of Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, where the 15th century work of art had previously been part of the museum’s collection.
It was reported earlier that the State Hermitage Museum will delegate to the St, Petersburg Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church the right to keep Alexander Nevsky’s silver shrine at the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg for 49 years. St. Alexander Nevsky’s relics will be placed inside the reliquary. According to Hermitage Director General Mikhail Piotrovsky, these terms are provided in an agreement signed between the State Hermitage and the St. Petersburg Eparchy. The Ministry of Culture has signed a corresponding executive order.
The silver reliquary for the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky was made of 1.5 tons of silver at the order of Empress Elizabeth (1709-1762) and was placed in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. It was taken to the State Hermitage Museum in the 1920s as a jewelry masterpiece and has been kept there ever since.