As tens of thousands of people were gathering to protest against his rule at a rally in downtown Moscow on Sunday, President-elect Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony to hand over an ancient icon to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Putin, who will be sworn in as Russian president on Monday, handed over to the Novodevichy (New Maiden) convent in central Moscow an ancient copy of the Iverskaya Icon of the Virgin Mary, which was previously kept at the State History Museum.
The icon was brought to Russia from Mount Athos in Greece in 1648.
“Let it [the icon] serve and help people,” Putin said praising the role of the Orthodox Church in the Russian society and culture.
After the ceremony attended by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Putin visited the church of St. Vladimir, his holy patron.