Pope & Icon of Kazan


#1

A fascinating article on the return of this icon to Russia by John Allen:

"…The return of the icon is a classic example of how John Paul II scandalizes ultra-conservative Catholics, especially those devoted to the Fatima prophecies. (Catholics older than I will remember praying for the conversion of Russia during the rosary because Our Lady of Fatima requested it.) It was the Blue Army, an American Catholic group committed to spreading the message of Fatima, that purchased the Kazan icon in the early 1960s and placed it in a Byzantine chapel in Fatima, awaiting the conversion of Russia. They turned the icon over to the pope in 1993. John Paul, it should be clear, is not one to take the Fatima prophecies lightly. He believes that on May 13, 1981, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Mary changed the flight path of a bullet to save him from an assassination attempt. Hence his decision to give the icon back to Russia means that he believes the “conversion” called for at Fatima has already happened – i.e., the collapse of Communism. He does not believe that Russia needs to “convert” in the ecclesiastical sense, meaning to become Roman Catholic. Indeed, John Paul has made it clear that he believes the salvation of Russia will be through Orthodoxy, and that the future lies not in conversion but in communion - the Latin and Byzantine churches coming together as one family of faith, each preserving its legitimate autonomy. This stance angers some traditionalists. As one Catholic traditionalist writer, Marian Horvat, recently put it: “The Russian schismatic church continues to spread the same heresies and errors that St. Pius X warned us against. Therefore, it did not convert. If some Catholic authorities deny that it is in error, they are denying the true faith.” The Kazan story, therefore, is another instance in which the popular label of John Paul as a “conservative” comes up short. …

McCarrick took the request to the board of the Blue Army.
“I didn’t tell them the whole story, because it was important to protect the Holy Father’s freedom of action,” McCarrick said. “I simply said that he would be delighted to have it, and they graciously agreed.”

The transfer had to be conducted quietly, McCarrick said, in order not to arouse the interest of governments and other parties. If word got out that the pope had the icon, it could have compromised his capacity to decide where and when it should be given back. (Indeed, when word later leaked that the icon was in the papal apartments, pressure grew for its return).

nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/


#2

Pressure grew for its return? I thought that the Russian Orthodox were claiming that it is just a fake anyway.


#3

You know what they say “no good deed goes unpunished”.


#4

Incidentally, I think that nearly everything that John Allen writes is fascinating. If you did not hear his interview a couple of months ago on NPR, it is well worth checking out.


#5

[quote=GrzeszDeL]Incidentally, I think that nearly everything that John Allen writes is fascinating. If you did not hear his interview a couple of months ago on NPR, it is well worth checking out.
[/quote]

I consider him to be one of the top three reporters covering the Vatican; I hope I can afford his new book. I try never to miss anything he or Sandro Magister write. Good stuff. Thanks for the link.
:slight_smile:


#6

[quote=GrzeszDeL]Pressure grew for its return? I thought that the Russian Orthodox were claiming that it is just a fake anyway.
[/quote]

Well in charity, let just say it’s mandatory to try and steal some of the “thunder” from this gracious effort on the part of JPII due to the personality involved on the rec’g end, but although it is a copy, it is a very important one commissioned by the Tsar I believe some years ago. OTOH there are those who still claim that its provenance makes it the original.

I was very interested though in McCarrick’s role - considering how he treated Ratzinger’s letter to the bishops it appears he tried to “snow” the Blue Army also. At least he is consistent - I hope his “peers” take note.


#7

[quote=cestusdei]You know what they say “no good deed goes unpunished”.
[/quote]

I had a pastor once who was very fond of that saying but he also used to add “but God takes notes”. :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

[quote=HagiaSophia]Well in charity, let just say it’s mandatory to try and steal some of the “thunder” from this gracious effort on the part of JPII due to the personality involved on the rec’g end, .
[/quote]

The Russian Orthodox Church has been asking the Vatican to return its stolen Icon for at least 10 years.

The Vatican has consistently refused to return it and attempted to use the Icon as a bargaining chip to open the door for the Pope to visit Russia. This is not good - to use such a sacred Icon in this manipulatory way.

After asking and asking and asking for years, and after the Vatican went on ignoring the requests, the Russian Church made noises about going to the International Court to ensure the return of its property.

Thank God that this has not been necessary.

Thank God also that the Kazan Mother of God is today back with her people in Russia. And let us also be gracious and thank God that Pope John Paul has been magnanimous and returned Her to Russia. He was very tardy but I am sure the Mother of God helped him to see where She desires to be. I am sure She will bless him for this.


#9

[quote=HagiaSophia] . . .
I was very interested though in McCarrick’s role - considering how he treated Ratzinger’s letter to the bishops it appears he tried to “snow” the Blue Army also. At least he is consistent - I hope his “peers” take note.
[/quote]

It is his sorrow that he was not a cardinal in the time of Richelieu. :wink:


#10

[quote=Fr Ambrose]The Russian Orthodox Church has been asking the Vatican to return its stolen Icon for at least 10 years.

the Russian Church made noises about going to the International Court to ensure the return of its property.
[/quote]

Perhaps the Latin Rite can pursue this avenue in getting back its real estate, vestments and other church adornments taken after the “Iron Curtain” dropped . My point is I guess, it’s time to stop the scrabbling and join up together.

[quote=Fr Ambrose] And let us also be gracious and thank God that Pope John Paul has been magnanimous and returned Her to Russia. He was very tardy but I am sure the Mother of God helped him to see where She desires to be. I am sure She will bless him for this.
[/quote]

I’d appreciate her speaking about manners and attitude to he other side myself. :slight_smile:


#11

[quote=Joe Kelley]It is his sorrow that he was not a cardinal in the time of Richelieu. :wink:
[/quote]

Right on brother, right on - can you just picture him during the time of Henry VIII? Nuancing and nuancing and nuancing some more. The thing that drives me wild about the man is his total lack of shame…just doesn’t seem to “get it” - notice how cleverly he thinks he handled it.


#12

[quote=GrzeszDeL]Pressure grew for its return? I thought that the Russian Orthodox were claiming that it is just a fake anyway.
[/quote]

This is a good example of how we might use loaded terms to inflame a conversation unnecessarily.

No one ever said that this beautiful and important icon was a fake, one doesn’t even find that terminology in the article you linked to, you added that nuance.

This icon is an important, genuine icon written in the likeness of the original, and not without some merit of it’s own, but it is not the original and the distinction was never made in the news reports over the past however long this story has been putting about.

It is quite possible that the Pope never knew it was not the original until recently. It is also possible that the Blue Army didn’t know that when they purchased it from whomever…

In any case it is unethical to retain stolen property.

It might have been a nice additional gesture to have passed it over during a meeting between the two Patriarchs, but the way the transfer was presented to the public as an idea it basically had the feel of a PR stunt, or even a bribe.

On a personal level, if someone I really didn’t want to talk to (like my ex, for instance) offered me my own property back if I would just meet with them, I would have to say “no thanks, if that’s what I have to do to get my stuff back, you might as well keep it” and mean it.


#13

[quote=HagiaSophia]Perhaps the Latin Rite can pursue this avenue in getting back its real estate, vestments and other church adornments taken after the “Iron Curtain” dropped .
[/quote]

This could be possible. Cases are now appearing before the Russian courts where people are asking for the return of family estates, buildings, etc. taken from them by the Bolsheviks. Do you have any idea how much real estate was taken from the Catholic Church and how much has not been returned as yet?

Father Jaroslav Wisniewski, a Polish priest not in Russia but in the Ukraine, has recently been given a church by the Ukrainian government, absolutely gratis
orient.opoka.org/index_en.php?id=gallery2_en

I’d appreciate her speaking about manners and attitude to he other side myself. :slight_smile:

The Russians have been asking for the return of their Icon for a good ten years. Maybe with all the stalling at the Vatican end their manners wore thin? I would have said that good manners demanded the return of stolen property as quickly as possible?


#14

Cardinal Kasper Commends Unity of Catholic and Orthodox to Virgin of Kazan

Celebrates Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica before Taking Icon to Moscow

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 27, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, commended to the “powerful intercession of the Virgin of Kazan” the “important ecumenical event” represented by the return of the venerated icon to Patriarch Alexy II, as a gift of John Paul II to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Cardinal Kasper headed the delegation that left for Moscow on Friday. The image will be taken to the Kremlin’s Church of the Dormition on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Over the last few years the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan has been kept in the papal apartment. Before the icon left the Vatican, the faithful were able to pray before it during a Mass on Thursday afternoon in the Vatican Basilica, at which Cardinal Kasper presided.

In the course of its journeying, which at the beginning of the last century took the icon to the other side of the Iron Curtain, the image of the Mother of God of Kazan has become a “point of reference for Orthodox and Catholics,” the cardinal said during the homily.

“The Virgin has preceded us on the path of our ecumenical endeavor, has anticipated our path by gathering the two divided parts of Christianity in prayer,” he added, as reported by Vatican Radio.

Inviting all the faithful to support the Vatican delegation’s visit to Moscow with prayer, Cardinal Kasper said that “we ardently hope that this venerated icon, point of reference in the past for the Orthodox Church, will also be in the future a pivot of cohesion and unity for the Orthodox and Catholic faithful who petition for full unity in their prayers.”

“I am convinced that, thanks to her powerful intercession, the Virgin of Kazan will be our support and our ally in our determination to surmount the reservations, difficulties, misunderstandings, and differences of faith that, sadly, still exist between us,” the cardinal stressed.

“Thanks to her intercession before the throne of God, she will bring together perfectly the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church in the one Church of Christ,” said the president of the dicastery, emphasizing that the return “of the icon to Patriarch Alexy II constitutes an important ecumenical event.”

But for the cardinal, the icon “is also the symbol of the new Europe and of the process of the unification of the continent, to which Russia belongs culturally and religiously.”

In fact, after the “two terrible wars” and “totalitarian and atheist” dictatorships of the 20th century, and “in face of the prevailing phenomenon of secularism, Europe is in need of a profound renewal in the faith,” he explained.

<snipped, to comply with the 4000 character limit>

In fact, the return of the icon “is a gesture that manifests the affection of the successor of Peter for the Patriarch and the synod of the Orthodox Church and the Russian people,” said, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, of the Vatican Secretariat of State when presiding on Thursday at lauds in honor of the Virgin Mary, before the image of the Mother of God of Kazan in the Vatican Basilica.

The gesture also expresses "the desire and firm intention of the Pope of Rome to advance together” with the Russian Orthodox “on the path of reciprocal knowledge and reconciliation so that the full unity of the disciples of Christ will be realized as soon as possible,” added the prelate, whose words were reported on Friday by L’Osservatore Romano.

“Mary always exercises an amazing fascination and attracts to herself pilgrims and faithful from all over the world. To her the Christian people, in the East and West, take recourse in every circumstance, especially in the most difficult.”


#15

[quote=Fr Ambrose] Do you have any idea how much real estate was taken from the Catholic Church and how much has not been returned as yet?
[/quote]

From what I have read, just about nil, and some of what has been returned is in absolute ruins. For instance a seminary used to stable horses, rare woods, precious hangings, reredos, many historical and never to be replaced items. I understand the vestments alone with the laces, needlework, precious threads, etc are mostly lost forever. Many crucifixes, statuary etc. gone, no one owns up to much of it. Just gone. Real estate disputes go on in any areas.

[quote=Fr Ambrose] The Russians have been asking for the return of their Icon for a good ten years. Maybe with all the stalling at the Vatican end their manners wore thin? I would have said that good manners demanded the return of stolen property as quickly as possible?
[/quote]

I think few have any idea of how long it takes to establish authenticity and provenance and how much paperwork is involved. As far as I know the item was purchased by the Blue Army, not stolen, and donated to the Papal offices. I think they were trying very hard to trace its history before it came to the Blue Army. It would have been most embarassing for the Vatican to offer something which later turned out to be something not properly presented. And I don’t blame the pope one bit for trying to save the return of the icon on a trip he has so hoped to make before he dies. It would have been a momentous occasion in both our histories and I feel that Alexi has cheated Christianity out of a noble moment in a world quite desperate for them. I am proud to say I believe in this matter that pope has treated the Russians far more kindly than they have treated him. I console myself with the thought that Peter and Paul duked it out, Photious had his beard pulled out at council and if we have survived those inglorious moments, we shall. I trust overcome such polarities and come to gether if not in faith, at least in friendship. Very, very disappointed in the entire way this was handled.


#16

It provides me with a example, long to be remembered, of the graciousness and gratitude of the Russian Orthodox Church and its leaders.


#17

**** In pictures: Russian icon returns **
**

Images of the Vatican returning a precious icon to the Russian Orthodox Church.
news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/in_pictures/3607888.stm

and

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3605996.stm


#18

Pope returns rare icon to Russia

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40010000/jpg/_40010988_icon-afp-203body.jpg The icon’s history in Russia is shrouded in mystery

**A Vatican cardinal has handed a precious icon back to the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow as a personal gift from Pope John Paul II. **

The image is an 18th-Century copy of one of Russia’s most sacred images, the Virgin of Kazan, and was bought in the West by Roman Catholics in 1970.

Patriarch Alexy, the head of the Russian Church, thanked the Pope, who views the gift as a goodwill gesture.

But he also appealed to Rome not to try to “compete” for Russian Christians.

The icon was handed over by Catholic Cardinal Walter Kasper in a ceremony at the Kremlin’s Cathedral of the Assumption after a service to mark the Orthodox Feast of the Assumption.

It is expected to be housed temporarily in a chapel at Patriarch Alexy’s residence until a decision is taken on its permanent home.

The original Virgin of Kazan icon, named after the eastern Russian city where it was found in 1579 and used to inspire Russian soldiers such as those who fought Napoleon in 1812, is believed to have perished.

‘Orthodox territory’

Encrusted with silver and precious stones, the copy handed over at the Kremlin has been in the Pope’s possession for the past 11 years.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40011000/jpg/_40011016_embrace-ap-203body.jpg Differences between the two Churches will remain

It was bought for $1m (£556,000) from a dealer in the United States and presented to the Pope by a group of American Catholics.

Russian media say it has not been established where the icon was kept in Russia before the atheistic Revolution of 1917.

The Pope kept the painting hanging above his desk in his private apartments and showed it to Vladimir Putin when the Russian president visited the Vatican last year.

The 84-year-old pontiff has long wanted to visit Russia, but the trip has never been approved by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The two Churches have been divided since 1054, when the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity split in the Great Schism.

Speaking after the ceremony, Patriarch Alexy told reporters he hoped that the two Churches could agree not to “compete on the territory of Russia but… each minister to [its] believers”. For his part, the Pope said in a message that despite the division between Moscow and Rome, the icon was a “symbol of the unity of the followers of the only-begotten son of God”.


#19

[quote=Fr Ambrose]The Russians have been asking for the return of their Icon for a good ten years. Maybe with all the stalling at the Vatican end their manners wore thin? I would have said that good manners demanded the return of stolen property as quickly as possible?
[/quote]

The point is well taken. As long as we are on the subject of returning stolen property, it has long seemed to me that the Patriarch of Venice should return all of the stuff stolen from Constantinople (most of San Marco, I am lead to understand). Of course, I realize that if ever he tried that the Italian minister of antiquities would be there in a New-York-second with a restraining order, and that it might be tricky to figure out to whom exactly the return should be made (knowing that the Turks would likely just appropriate it for their Hagia Sophia museum once it got within the borders of Turkey), but surely at least some sort of public acknowledgement could be made to the effect that “this is not really ours, and it belongs by right to the faithful of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate.”


#20

[quote=HagiaSophia]Well in charity, let just say it’s mandatory to try and steal some of the “thunder” from this gracious effort on the part of JPII due to the personality involved on the rec’g end, but although it is a copy, it is a very important one commissioned by the Tsar I believe some years ago. OTOH there are those who still claim that its provenance makes it the original.

I was very interested though in McCarrick’s role - considering how he treated Ratzinger’s letter to the bishops it appears he tried to “snow” the Blue Army also. At least he is consistent - I hope his “peers” take note.
[/quote]

What is beyond my understanding is John Paul’s insistence in uniting the West and the East when the East keeps calling us schismatics and heretics. Worse, the Patriarch of Moscow chastised Catholics as a “thank you” to the Patriarch of the West just as the icon was being returned. The poor Holy Father can’t win with the Orthodox no matter how beautiful and sincere his gestures toward them. The next Pope might not be as “ecumenical” and might even tell the Patriarch where to go.

As for McCarrick, like someone else said, “at least he is consistent.”

Antonio :slight_smile:


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