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City news, 12.07.2004 15:32

Pope to return priceless icon to Russia

kazan_icon Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the icon, which the pope had previously hoped to return in person, would be presented to Patriarch Alexy on August 28.

The icon has become something of a symbol of John Paul II's long-cherished intention to visit Russia, an event which has been blocked by strains between the Orthodox church and the Vatican.

After it was stolen from Saint Petersburg, the icon is understood to have been bought from a dealer by a Catholic organisation and presented to the pope in 1993.

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