12 May 2010, 12:36
Walled-in icons discovered on the Kremlin towers
Moscow, May 12, Interfax - Ancient icons were discovered on the Spasskaya and Nikolskaya Towers of the Kremlin. They were walled in during Soviet times and have been deemed lost for a long time now.
"The fact is that the icons were discovered at least on two towers (of the Kremlin - IF). This is an epoch-making event as far as cultural discoveries are concerned," head of the Council of Trustees of the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation Vladimir Yakunin said at a press conference held by Interfax.
He stated that the Foundation had initiated the reinstallation of icons over the gates of the Moscow Kremlin towers as far back as in 2007. The project received the government support and the blessing of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. In April 2010, experts of the Interregional Scientific and Restoration Office made probes of the icon-cases of the Spasskaya and Nikolskaya Towers. The research has confirmed the hypothesis that the icons were preserved under the layer of plaster.
According to him, the Fund's project "is not limited to these two towers only; the thing is that historians had more reasons to suggest that the icons of the Spasskaya and Nikolskaya Towers were preserved."
Head of the Kremlin supervisory service, deputy director of the Federal Guard Service Sergey Khlebnikov believes that the discovery of the icons on the Kremlin towers is "the event of overwhelming ethical impact."
According to him, the Kremlin commandant's office has received many proposals to restore the icons over the gates, but the Foundation's initiative "had a clear distinction of being specific."
According to the existing historical materials, the Spasskaya Tower houses the icon of the Savior depicted with St. Sergius and St. Varlaam falling down at His feet. The icon was painted to commemorate the rescue from the siege of Moscow by the army of Magmet Girey in 1521. The mural on the Nikolskaya Tower dates back to the late 15th - early 16th centuries. During the civil fights in October 1917, the icon of St. Nikolas of Mozhaysk was riddled with shots, but his face escaped unharmed which the Moscow believers considered a miracle.