KHERSON REGION, May 6. /TASS/. The replica of the Savior Not Made by Hand icon that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave to the battlegroup Dnieper is being passed from unit to unit, Archpriest Vyacheslav, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church for interaction with the armed forces, told TASS on Friday.
Vyacheslav, who said he’s accompanying the icon with the blessing of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, gave an interview to TASS at the location of one such military unit in the Kherson Region.
"This image is the icon that the commander-in-chief donated to the battlegroup Dnieper. The battlegroup’s command decided to make a procession to pass it from unit to unit," he said. "We will deliver it to every unit, be it on the frontline or in the rear, big or small, no matter."
"Of course, it’s honorable and delightful for people to see this image, which was given by the president, at their trench shelters," Archpriest Vyacheslav said.
The president gave a similar replica to the National Guard’s East Headquarters. He made the donations when visiting the Kherson Region and the Lugansk People’s Republic during Easter. The original icon was previously purchased from a private collection in the US and will be handed over to the main cathedral of Russia’s Armed Forces, according to the Kremlin. The icon used to belong to Pyotr Vannovsky who served as Russia’s defense minister in 1881-1898.
The Savior Not Made by Hand icon is a canonical depiction of the face of Jesus Christ which, according to legend, was miraculously imprinted on a cloth he used to wipe his face. This image was depicted on the banners of the Russian army as well as placed over the gates of fortresses. Soldiers have always considered it their patron while civilians viewed it as their protector and savior.