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    MOSCOW HOPES ICON OF TIKHVIN MOTHER OF GOD TO RETURN TO RUSSIA IN 2004

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    MOSCOW, January 12, 2004. /RIA Novosti/. One of the Russian shrines, the Icon of the Tikhvin Mother of God, is likely to return to Russia from the USA in June 2004 already.

    This agreement was achieved at the meeting between Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II and the delegation of the American Autocephalic Orthodox Church in Moscow on Monday, the Orthodox Encyclopedia church and research center of the Moscow Patriarchy told RIA Novosti.

    "By God's blessing we begin the New Year of 2004 with the discussion of a very important issue - the restored Tikhvin monastery retrieves its great shrine which has been kept in the USA for a long time," Patriarch Alexis II stressed.

    According to him, the recent visit by the American delegation to the St. Petersburg eparchy has hastened the return of this wonderworking icon to Russia.

    During World War II the town of Tikhvin /the Leningrad region/ was captured by the Nazis. Archimandrite Ioann /Garklavs/ and his spiritual son Sergy saved the wonderworking image of the Mother of God. They took the icon to Europe and then to the USA. The shrine was placed in Chicago's Holy Trinity Cathedral.

    When Archimandrite Ioann was dying in 1982, he asked Sergy to return the icon to the Assumption monastery of Tikhvin if it is restored.

    In October 2003 Archpriest Sergy Garklavs already visited the Tikhvin monastery. The keeper of the icon was satisfied with the restoration works.

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