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Ukrainian religious scholars spoke about the artistic, religious and political value of the icon, which was presented to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry
KIEV – When asked about an ancient icon from Luhansk, how it ended up in Bosnia and Herzegovina, they can only know the answer in Russia. This is the conclusion reached by Ukrainian religious scholars who commented on the situation with the icon, which was presented by the Chairman of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on December 14.
Religious scholar Taras Antoshevsky calls this situation, to put it mildly, strange, when people deliberately give stolen goods.
“The inscription on the icon shows that she is from Ukraine, but they donate her to the minister of the country that committed aggression against Ukraine. Or are they playing around, pretending that they do not understand the situation – then what kind of statesmen are they, in which vocational school did they study? ” – says Taras Antoshevsky on December 21 to the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America
At the same time, he notes that, unfortunately, for a part of the territory of the post-Soviet space, some actions do not cause moral, ethical doubts..
The artistic value of this icon, according to Taras Antoshevsky, is low – this is a typical Russian school of iconography.
“It does not represent any extraordinary artistic value, it is possible that it may have two centuries, it is difficult to say from a photograph, maybe it is a copy. But it has “vestments” on it, it is possible that they are silver and may cost more than the icon itself. We can say that it may not represent anything, but, at the same time, it can be considered miraculous and its value for believers grows from this point of view, ”Taras Antoshevsky notes..
The historical value of the artifact, the religious scholar believes, can be significant and significant.
“This icon is also interesting because, judging by the stamp – it was installed somewhere in 1937, – it is possible that it was requisitioned from some temple, which were massively destroyed in the 20-30s of the last century. It could have been taken from some temple and transferred to a museum. And then how did she get to Bosnia and Herzegovina – during the Second War? Or was it brought by Serbian mercenaries in Russia’s war against Ukraine? ” – he asks questions to which, according to him, the investigating authorities should give answers.
Icon and Minsk process
Representative of Donetsk in TCG Sergey Garmash expresses his personal opinion on whether the case of the Ukrainian icon will become the subject of negotiations with Russia within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. He notes that the next negotiations with Russian representatives should take place in mid-January 2021..
“I have no right to speak about the official reaction of the Ukrainian delegation. But, if before that time something is not decided, and there is no certainty on this issue, and a lot can happen in a month, then perhaps we will voice this position, since Minsk is the only negotiating platform with Russia and there are no other platforms, ” – Sergei Garmash says to the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America”.
He believes that the icon, presumably from Luhansk, could have been exported abroad through the territory of Russia.
“It remains to be determined by whom it was taken out. Perhaps these are Serbian mercenaries, a whole unit fought there, but in this case, the icon had to go through Russian customs when entering, and when leaving Russia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, “notes Sergei Garmash.
Russia will return the icon. Dodik hospitalized
The 18th century icon from Luhansk, donated by the Chairman of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, will be returned to the donors to clarify its history through Interpol. TASS reports about it on December 19.
“The icon will be returned to donors for further clarification of its history through Interpol,” the diplomatic agency told the agency.
The media also reported on December 21 that the chairman of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Milorad Dodik was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia..
As previously reported by the Srna agency, Dodik presented Lavrov with a gilded icon of the 18th century, painted in Lugansk, during the visit of the head of the Russian diplomatic service to BiH on December 14. The agency posted a photo of the image, presumably, of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and a photo of a red wax seal on the back of the icon, on which an imprint is visible: “URSR. People’s Committee for Education. Ukrnauka. Odessa Regional Commission “.
According to the Associated Press, the gift to the Russian minister sparked a diplomatic investigation in Bosnia. On December 17, Bosnian authorities launched an investigation into how a possibly stolen 300-year-old gilded icon from Ukraine turned out to be a gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Interpol later joined the investigation.
Icon – moral and sacred meanings
Director of the Center for Religious Security, religious scholar Dmitry Gorevoy believes that by donating the icon, the representative of the Serbian community of Bosnia and Herzegovina tried to make a “beautiful gesture” in political and international issues.
“It was an attempt to placate Lavrov, the Russian side. Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina expect some appropriate action from Russia to support the region. We understand that objective democratization processes are underway in the Balkans and there is a desire to expand NATO’s influence in this region. Official Belgrade and the Serbian people in other countries do not like this, ”says Dmitry Gorevoy to the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America..
Official Kiev, according to him, should demand the return of the religious relic to its rightful owner – the state of Ukraine.
“All historical, religious and cultural relics that were taken out of Ukraine still belong to Ukraine. Just like when the exhibition of Scythian gold from Crimea was sent to Holland, but after the occupation of Crimea, the question of returning gold to Ukraine was raised. In this case, common sense and the norms of international law won, and the District Administrative Court in Amsterdam decided that the exhibits should be returned to Ukraine, ”emphasizes Dmytro Gorevoy.
He also notes that the theft of an icon also has some moral and sacred meanings..
“If I can say so, this is the most incorrect action on the part of the people who did it, and they will still receive for their actions,” notes Dmitry Gorevoy.