(photo credit: )
A 16th century icon of Jesus, embedded in a Kremlin gate but covered
over by the communists in the 1930s, was unveiled by Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in an official
ceremony on Saturday after having undergone restoration efforts, Reuters
reported. The icon was rediscovered during renovations on the Spasskaya
Tower gates, the main entrance to the Kremlin overlooking Red Square,
in the spring.
While it is not certain exactly when the icon was
bricked over, it can be surmised that it fell victim during the general
purge of organized religion which took place in the Soviet Union in 1937
upon the 20th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. During that time,
countless temples and icons were destroyed across the country.
The "Saviour Smolensky" icon depicts Jesus presiding over Russian saints
while holding open the New Testament.
The ceremony symbolically took place on the day of the Assumption in the
Orthodox calendar, when it is believed that the Virgin Mary was taken
into heaven. Medvedev addressed the crowd, stating that the newly
restored icon would provide moral support to the Russian people.
"Now that we've got the icon back, our country secures an additional
defense," he said.
"There is a special meaning in today's event, particularly, it's in the
unity of the Church and people," Medvedev added.