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Pope to Visit Kazan in August?


Unconfirmed reports today of a papal visit to Kazan, capital of Tatarstan in Russia, in August. Developing...

VATICAN CITY, April 14, 2003-- This morning a Polish radio station reported that Pope John Paul II will stop briefly in Kazan, Russia, in August this year, as part of an already-scheduled visit to Mongolia.

There was no official confirmation from Vatican officials, but it is known that there have been repeated contacts between the Vatican  and officials of the city of Kazan during the past three years.

On March 29, addressing journalists following an audience with the Pontiff, Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Russian Federation Council, said  Pope John Paul II had confirmed his intention to return the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan to Russia.

The head of the upper house of Russian parliament said "the Pope said he wished to return the object of worship back to the country." Mironov also said that Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Sodano,  who attended the audience, indicated that there were no serious conflicts  between Russia an the Vatican, blocking better relations.

Mironov quoted the Secretary as saying that "the prior incidents have been settled and there are no grounds for new concerns."

The Federation Council Speaker added that the "stand of the Pope in regard with the Iraqi problem" was especially conducive to rapprochement of Russia and the Vatican.

Kazan celebrates the 1,000th anniversary of its founding in 2005.

The icon of Kazan,  the most holy icon  of all  Russia, was lost in 1918 after the Bolsheviks came to power. It was rediscovered and given to the Pope in 1993; since that time, he has kept it in  his private apartments.

The icon is considered by Russian Orthodox believers as miraculous ("wonder-working") and is known as "the Protection of Russia." The icon first appeared in Kazan in 1579.

It is a depiction of the Virgin Mary with  the child Jesus

Inside the Vatican News April 14 2003, by Robert Moynihan. 

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