February 9, 2011
Last June sad news rocked the Orthodox in Finland: the miraculous icon of the Theotokos of Kozeltshan was stolen at night from the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos!
The icon is associated with Saint John of Kronstadt. In the early 20th century, in the then Finnish town of Viipuri, the young daughter of a wealthy Russian family, Anna, became seriously ill and doctors could not do anything anymore. Then her mother sent her oldest sister to St. Petersburg to call St. John of Kronstadt to come to their house to pray for the sick girl. She went and met Father John, but he did not have the opportunity to come. However he gave the girl an icon of the Panagia - which is the same we are now speaking of - and told them to say a prayer in front of the icon. They called for the priest and he made his prayer. Soon the little girl began to get better until she was completely well.
The pious mother thought that a miraculous icon must not be stored in a secular home, so she donated the icon to a small church in the city. There others were able to enjoy the miraculous power of the Virgin Mary through her icon. As proof increased of the miracles through the icon, it began to be filled with precious jewels and other offerings.
After World War II, when the city Viipuri remained in the Soviet Union, the icon with its offerings was moved to the big Cathedral Church of Helsinki. The miracles continued there also and the Panagia showed her love through her icon. For this reason the stealing of this icon deeply saddened the faithful. After a short time the perpetrators were found - three foreigners -, when they went to steal something else from the church, and they were sentenced to prison. Nothing was found with them and it was thought that the icon was already somewhere abroad. But on February 8th one of the perpetrators revealed that the icon was hidden in Finland, and he led the police there! Police in communication indicated that he had come to repentance.
The words of the protopriest of Helsinki Fr Mark came true: "The icon will come back. Do not worry!" It should be indicated that the three perpetrators of the theft originated from a country where the prevailing faith is Orthodoxy. I hope the three will repent and from now on may they and we live in the protection of the Panagia!
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos
Thief Tells Police Where Stolen Icon Was Hidden
Priceless work of ecclesiastical art missing from Uspenski Cathedral since June.
February 9, 2011
A valuable icon that was stolen from Helsinki’s Uspenski Cathedral, the city's biggest Orthodox church, in June of last year was recovered on Tuesday.
Police got on the trail of the icon when a man who was imprisoned for the theft came forward with information on where it was hidden.
Police say that the man had suffered pangs of conscience. The priceless work of Orthodox ecclesiastical art was found in a forest hideaway in Turku.
Police did not find pieces of jewellery that had been placed around the icon by parishioners.
The metallic cover on the icon had been torn off, and the decorative objects on it were also missing.
The icon will be sent to the Valamo Monastery in Heinävesi for restoration before it is brought back to the cathedral.
The man is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence for the theft.