Moscow, May 31, Interfax - The icon Crucifixion, painted by Dionysius, a famous pupil of Andrey Rublev, one of the most sacred items of the Russian Orthodox Church, will be taken to Rome in the fall, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said.
"This world-famous Russian icon will leave Russia for the first time to appear in front of the eyes of thousands of pilgrims visiting Rome. Another 20 icons from the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery will be displayed along with it in the gallery of St. Peter's Basilica," the metropolitan said during a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican.
The meeting was attended by delegations from the Russian Church and the Italian Episcopal Conference, who are in Rome to attend a Russian-Italian forum on civil society issues to discuss the issue of pilgrimage.
In his discussion with Pope Francis, Metropolitan Hilarion emphasized the importance of dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches to strengthen mutual understanding and peace between the Russian and Italian peoples.
"Our dialogue is focused on the great heritage of Christian culture created by the people of Russia and Italy under the guidance of the Church. The humanitarian and peacekeeping role of the Churches is hard to overestimate in a world that is now experiencing dramatic division. The sphere of culture, with its universal language, has huge potential for joint testimony by the Churches about the universal human values of peace, good, love, mercy, and forgiveness, which find their supreme expression in the Gospel," the metropolitan was quoted as saying by the synodal department's press service on Thursday.