Moscow, September 29, 2022
61 “significant changes” were found on St. Andrei Rublev’s beloved Holy Trinity Icon after it visited its original home, the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad, this summer.
The icon, painted some 600 years ago, was removed from the iconostasis of the Lavra’s Holy Trinity Cathedral by Soviet authorities in 1920. After 9 years in a museum in Zagorsk (Sergiev Posad), it was transferred to the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, where it has remained ever since.
But this summer, on the initiative of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the museum agreed to deliver the icon to the Lavra for a few days in honor of the 600th anniversary of the uncovering of the relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
According to art critic Ksenia Korobeynikova, with reference to the conclusions of the restoration committee, “Experts believe this is just the beginning. The damage will continue. The consequences are ‘serious and may threaten the existence of this ancient and fragile monument.’”
The committee considers the sending of the icon from the gallery to the monastery as an “experiment.” “There are no necessary climatic conditions in the church,” and therefore, “a sharp drop in temperature and humidity” was recorded.
Five sections of the icon are in serious condition and in need of urgent restoration. Thus, the icon will not return to the Tretyakov Gallery floor, but will remain in its depository “until its condition stabilizes.”
“This is a tragedy,” the committee writes.
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