Moscow, Russia, Aug 30, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II sent a letter to Pope John Paul II thanking him for the handing over of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan back to the Russian Orthodox Church, and insisting that the Catholic Church “respects” the Russian Orthodox territories.
The icon was handed over by Cardinal Walter Kasper at the end of the celebration of Mass in the Kremlin on August 28, the Feast of the most glorious Dormition of Mary in the Orthodox calendar.
“The transfer of this holy icon brought over by your envoys is seen by the Plenitude of the Russian Orthodox Church as both an act of the restoration of justice and an act of good will on the part of Your Holiness,” said the Patriarch.
The Patriarch said that the Pope’s decision to hand over the icon “points to the sincere desire to overcome the difficulties existing in relations between our two Churches,” and prayed that it might help overcome the suffering of the Church in the 20th century.