MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. The decision to hand Andrey Rublev’s icon of the Holy Trinity over to the Russian Orthodox Church stemmed primarily from the fact that the relic holds great significance for a large number of Russian believers , Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
"Naturally, it’s mostly about humanitarian considerations in the sense that there are a large number of believers in our country who view [the icon] as a sacred object," he explained.
The icon’s handover was cleared with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Peskov said. "As for documents and paperwork, that’s the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture," he noted when asked how the move had been formalized. "Definitely, it was agreed with the head of state," the Kremlin spokesman added.
In response to a question about whether Putin had held consultations with the cultural intelligentsia, Peskov said: "Of course, such decisions aren’t made without consulting the relevant experts." Peskov also said that he was unaware if the authorities were considering the possibility of handing over more Christian relics to the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Moscow Patriarchate reported on its website on Monday that Andrey Rublev’s Holy Trinity icon had been returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. It will be displayed for veneration at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral for a year before returning to the place it used to occupy in the Trinity Cathedral at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius outside Moscow. Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Pskov and Porkhov, chairman of the Patriarch’s Council on Culture, told TASS that the icon would be housed in compliance with the Tretyakov Gallery’s requirements.