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Our Lady of Kazan (Russia)

Our Lady of Kazan is a revered icon of the Virgin Mary that has played an important role in Russian history and culture. The icon is believed to have been painted in the 13th century and was originally housed in the city of Kazan, which is located in present-day Tatarstan.

In the 16th century, the city of Kazan was conquered by the forces of Ivan IV, also known as Ivan the Terrible, and the icon was brought to Moscow. The icon soon became associated with important events in Russian history, such as the defeat of the Polish-Lithuanian invaders in the early 17th century and the ascension of Peter the Great to the throne in the late 17th century.

During the reign of Catherine the Great in the late 18th century, the original icon was lost, but a copy of the icon was made and placed in the newly-built Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The cathedral became an important site of pilgrimage for Russian Orthodox Christians, and the icon was credited with performing many miracles.

In the early 20th century, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, and the Kazan Cathedral was closed. The icon was taken from the cathedral and eventually ended up in the hands of a private collector in the United States.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Russian government began to campaign for the return of the icon. In 2004, the collector agreed to return the icon to Russia, and it was brought back to Moscow in a ceremony attended by President Vladimir Putin.

Today, Our Lady of Kazan remains an important symbol of Russian Orthodoxy, and the icon is venerated by millions of Russian Orthodox Christians. The Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg has been reopened, and the icon is once again displayed there.

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