The icon was paid for with funds from President Vladimir Putin and was blessed on the feast of Pascha by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. By air, by water, by land, the icon will traverse more than 35,000 miles. It will visit more than 120 cities, more than 150 churches, and more than 300 compounds and military units.
A copy of the miraculous Icon of the Savior Not-Made-By-Hands, considered the patron of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, began its nation-wide tour in the southern military district with a visit to Sevastopol—the base of the Black Sea fleet, on Bright Monday, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The icon is being delivered to military units and military district compounds throughout the vast country and to the Northern Fleet over the course of the next several months.
The head of the main military-political department of the administration of the armed forces Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov participated in the solemn ceremony of transferring the icon to the St. Vladimir Cathedral in Sevastopol, explaining why the icon of the face of the Savior is honored as the patron of the armed forces: “The Icon of the Savior Not-Made-By-Hands was depicted on the banners of the Russian army, and His image was placed over the gates of fortresses. Soldiers always saw in it their patron, and civilians—their defender and Savior.”
Kartapolov also spoke about the icon’s coming travels to military units and churches throughout the country: “Throughout the year, it will be transported to many compounds and military units of the Russian army and to churches of the Russian Orthodox Church so that not only thousands of soldiers would be able to venerate the sacred object, but also the Orthodox faithful in various corners of our homeland. By air, by water, by land, the icon will traverse more than 35,000 miles. It will visit more than 120 cities, more than 150 churches, and more than 300 compounds and military units.”
The journey begins in Sevastopol and will end in Moscow in the main church of the armed forces on the 75th anniversary of the victory in WW2.
From Crimea the icon will be taken to Rostov, then to Krasnodar and the Republic of Adygea, then to Abkhazia, then to North Ossetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, and South Ossetia, then to Astrakhan and to Volgograd. The icon will also be taken to a Russian military base in Armenia in early August.
Icons of the type “Not-Made-By-Hands” appeared in Rus’ from the 11th century. The face of Christ on the armed forces’ icon is surrounded by images of the Kazan, Vladimir, Smolensk, and Tikhvin Icons of the Mother of God, placed on artistic reliefs that depict significant events in Russian history, as well as icons of the Archangel Michael and the patrons of the armed forces: the Righteous Warrior Feodor Ushakov, Equal-to-the-Apostles Grand Duchess Olga, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Right-Believing Alexander Nevsky, the apostle Andrew the First-Called, the Great Martyr Barbara, Prophet Elijah, and the Equal-to-the-Apostles St. Vladimir.
The icon was painted with funds from President Vladimir Putin and was blessed on the feast of Pascha by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.