In Moscow church and state celebrated hand in hand at the Kremlin. They were united for the anointing of the Saviour Smolensky icon. It dates back to the 16th century and was believed to have been lost.
In the rain and wind on what is the day of the Assumption in the Orthodox Christian church the image of Jesus was once again unveiled to the public.
The icon was rediscovered in the spring in the Spasskaya Tower the main entrance to the Kremlin. Its believed it had been covered over in the late 1930’s when Soviet authorities celebrated the coup of the Bolsheviks who had waged war against organised religion.
The anointing of the icon by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill was evidence of the continuing revival of the church since the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev believes the icon will provide moral support for his country.
“I want to say that I believe that from the moment we found these icons and after the blessing and the restoration of justice, it will give our country additional defence,” he said.
For many the very visible unity of church and state at this celebration added to the significance of the anointing of the icon which shows Jesus holding open the new testament and Russian saints below him.