Icon of Kazan to Russia - A Strange Theory
Could the Icon of Kazan Start the Unity of Catholics and Orthodox?
By Richard P. Salbato
Today is the feast day of Mary as Queen of Heaven and in a few days (August 28,2004) the world famous Icon of Kazan will be returned to Russia by the Holy Father. August 28th is the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin according to the Orthodox calendar.
image of Kazan is a small, 16th-century icon that appeared miraculously in
Kazan, capital of Tatarstan, and that became famous for its miracles. Many (including me) believe it to be one of
the many paintings done by Saint Luke of the Madonna and Christ child. The icon disappeared in 1904, most likely
the result of a robbery. During the Russian Revolution of 1917 a merchant sold
it to a collector from Great Britain.
It reappeared in the United States in the 1960s, where it became part of an auction of international art. In this context, it was purchased by the Blue Army, a Catholic organization of devotion to the Virgin of Fatima. It was placed in the upper chapel of Domus Pacis in Fatima for 33 years. This chapel was built for the Eastern Rite Catholics and has an Iconostance wall. Even today an Eastern Rite Catholic Priest says mass here every week.
In 1993 the Holy Father asked for the Icon so that he could personally give it back to Russia. And so for the last 11 years it has remained in his chapel in Rome and for 11 years he has tried to make a deal with the Moscow Patriarchal Alexy II so that he could personally go to Moscow and present the Icon of Kazan.
The Stubbornness of Patriarch Alexy II
The Russian Orthodox Church, although not the oldest of the many divisions, is the largest. My own opinion is that it is the largest because under 70 years of Communism it had no competition. Under Communism all religions were outlawed except for the Russian Orthodox Church, which made a deal with them. The properties of all the other churches were confiscated and given to the Russian Orthodox or the state. For 70 years most of Eastern Europe had no options except the Russian Orthodox Church. This forced monopoly gave complacency to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox and now they cannot stand the new competition as freedom of religion has been reestablished.
The Sins of Patriarch Alexy II
Since the fall of Communism in Russia the Holy Father has repeatedly made overtures to the Patriarch for unity or at least to talk about how the two could work together. Alexy II has repeatedly refused to do so stating as his excuse that Catholic have invaded his country, Catholics who were kicked out. Even every attempt of the Holy Father to even visit Moscow has been vetoed by Alexy II on the same grounds. The Russian Orthodox people have expressed their desire to have the Holy Father come and so has President Vladimir Putin, but always blocked by Alexy II.
When the people of Russia showed support for the Holy Father bringing the Icon of Kazan personally to Russia Alexy II went so far is to say that the Icon was not real, even in the face of his own experts saying that it was.
the Holy Father has given up on ever going to Russia and personally
delivering the famous Icon of Kazan but will have it sent in the next few
days. The Holy Father has always hoped
that this Roman pilgrimage of the Virgin of Kazan might contribute to the
desired unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches
The sins of Alexy II are far greater than this as you will see in the next section.
Fatima, Soufaniah and the
Icon of Kazan
In 1943 Christ appeared to Lucia and said, "I want all my children to recognize that the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the reason for the conversion of Russia." I have said over and over that what Mary meant was conversion from Communism - Atheism and not to anything. But there are many who think this means conversion to the Catholic Church. My thinking is what country in the world today can be said to be Catholic? Not any that I know of.
It was Fatima and the Holy Father and not the USA that took Communism down in Russia, but few are giving Fatima the credit for it as Our Lord asked. Few are giving Fatima the credit because they expect Russia to be the only Catholic country in the world. This will not happen. However there is something else at Fatima we must consider. Out of the 29 prophecies of Fatima there is one that has not come to pass yet. "In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph, and there will be a period of peace." Well! There is no peace, and in fact there is less peace than any time in history.
From Pope John XXIII every Pope has worked to bring back to the Church all those Christians who have left the Body of Christ for the last 1000 years. This has almost been a desperate attempt by these four popes, doing almost everything they can to accomplish this short of compromising the faith. This desperation has caused great divisions within the Catholic Church by Traditionalist, who prefer to call them heretics than to bring them back, and by Pluralist Catholics who think they are fine as heretics where they are. After 2I years of failures, Our Lady lent a hand.
In 1982 Our Lady said to Myrna Nazzour in Damascus, Syria, "The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is the Church. Those who divided it have sinned. Those who are happy with these divisions are still sinning." To me, those Triditionalists who do not want to dialogue with heretics and those liberals who think everything is OK the way it is are both sinning in that they are "happy with these divisions".
For 10 years I tried to find the origin of the Icon of Soufanieh, from which came so many miracles in Damascus and around the world. (See The Miracle of Damascus on www.unitypublishing.com ) In Rome I found the companion picture of it (a picture of Christ holding the Bible) and the source of the Icon. It is a western style painting of the Icon of Kazan.
The connection of Fatima, Soufanieh and the Icon of Kazan and all the above and its connection to Russia seems apparent to me. Maybe it is hard to explain but it is so clear to me. Peace to us is not the same as peace to God. To God it is an inner peace but for us it is the lack of war. We are offended by physical suffering and God is offended by divisions in His Body, His Family. Christ suffers with our suffering, but He suffers alone with our divisions.
Alexy II is only the greatest outward example of sins against unity but many of us are just as guilty.
My Strange Theory
The connection of Fatima to Russia is well established and the connection of the Consecration of 1984 to the down fall of Russia is well established. The connection of the Icon of Kazan to Fatima is well established. Leaving Russia in 1917 as Our Lady appeared in Fatima in 1917 as a weapon against Communist Russia. Then the Icon ended up in Fatima for many years preparing its way back to Russia through the Holy Father. The connection of the Icon of Kazan to Soufaniah and the Unity of Christians is well established. But now what?
Paul II will hand the icon of the Virgin of Kazan to Cardinal Walter Kasper
next week, so that he can return it, days later, to the Orthodox patriarch of
Moscow. The return of the icon to the
Moscow Patriarchate will take place Aug. 28, the day the Orthodox Church
celebrates the Virgin Mary's dormition. The Pope will hand over the icon at a
Vatican ceremony on Wednesday the 25th. On "the 28th the ceremony will take place in Russia with the
return of the icon, which will be attended at least by Putin. It will take
place in the Church of the Dormition in the Kremlin.
My theory is that in spite of Alexy II's claims that the Icon is not authentic and in spite of his not even attending the cermonies, something great is going to happen with the power of this Icon and the prayers of Our Lady of Fatima, which is also Our Lady of Kazan.
If some kind of miracle happens because of the Icon of Kazan the Orthodox people will not be happy with Alexy II's claims that the Icon is not authentic, and they will have a greater love for the Holy Father and Fatima. Somehow I think this Icon will bring about unity between the two largest Christian Churches in the world, and that will set the stage for the unity of many others. This can not happen with our efforts because we have done nothing, but it can happen with the prayers of Our Lady and I think it will.
I believe this to be one of the great moments of Fatima, as great as the Holy Father being shot or the 1984 Consecration.
Does this mean that we will then have peace? No! But it will be one of the conditions that I think God has placed on that period of peace - at least a unity among Christian believers.
Pope Expresses Love for Russia-bound Icon of Kazan
Image Will Be Displayed at General Audience
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 22, 2004 - John Paul II explained the importance in his life of the icon of the Virgin of Kazan, which he is about to return to the Russian Orthodox Church.
"I am happy to announce that a special delegation will take this icon, which is so dear to me, to His Holiness Alexy II, patriarch of Moscow and All Russias," the Pope said before praying the Angelus today with thousands of pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
The Holy Father explained that the icon, which was taken out of "Russia in the decade of the '20s of the last century, after prolonged stays in different places, arrived some years ago in the Pope's apartment, and since that moment, has watched over his daily work."
"Next Wednesday, August 25, in the general audience," he said, "we will recollect ourselves together with the faithful to pray before this icon," one of the most venerated by the Russian Orthodox.
"From now on we entrust to Mary, Mother of unity and love, our prayers for the good of the Church and of the whole human family," the Pope concluded.
The icon will be handed over to the Russian patriarch in Moscow by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, next Saturday, the day the Orthodox Church celebrates the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
The past week spent in Castel Gandolfo has helped John Paul II to rest after his pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, on Aug. 14-15. His voice today was clearer and stronger than it was in Lourdes.
On the Icon of Virgin of Kazan
Pope Says the Image Has Watched Over His Daily Work
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 22, 2004 .- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today when praying the midday Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence.
* * *
1. Today is the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a feast intimately linked to the mystery of the Assumption, which last Sunday, August 15, I had the joy of celebrating in the Shrine of Lourdes.
While I again thank God and all those who helped me to make that pilgrimage, I return in thought and heart to that humble Grotto of Massabielle. And from that place of silence and prayer, where everything speaks of Mary, I turn to other Marian shrines, visited in these August days by crowds of Christians.
2. In fact, in the course of this month, the feast of many Marian shrines are celebrated. I will limit myself to recall, in Italy, the Shrines of the Virgin of Oropa in Biella, of the Guard in Genoa, and of Tears in Syracuse. Nor can I forget the Shrines of Czestochowa and Kalvaria in Poland, which I have visited so many times to invoke the maternal help of the Virgin for the Church and the world. May the Redeemer's heavenly Mother be ever more welcomed, loved and venerated by the Christian people!
3. In this context, I invite you to turn with me to the Virgin Mary venerated with the title Mother of God of Kazan. Her icon, which left Russia in the decade of the '20s of the last century, after prolonged stays in different places, arrived some years ago in the Pope's apartment, and since that moment, has watched over his daily work. Now I am happy to announce that a special delegation will take this icon, which is so dear to me, to His Holiness Alexy II, patriarch of Moscow and of All Russias.
Next Wednesday, August 25, in the general audience, we will recollect ourselves together with the faithful to pray before this icon. From now on we entrust to Mary, Mother of unity and love, our prayers for the good of the Church and of the whole human family.