Tefft told about «bonds of friendship» between Russia and the United States

© AP Photo / Susan WalshПосол of the USA in Russia John Tefft. Archival photoTefft told about «bonds of friendship» between Russia and the United States© AP Photo / Susan Walsh

Common values will always prevail over the forces that seek to divide the peoples of the United States and the Russian Federation, the bonds of friendship between us don’t break and they will remain strong even in difficult times, said the Ambassador of the USA in Russia John Tefft, after a visit to the Tikhvin assumption monastery.

«Last week marked our (wife) Mariella dream. Years later after we first met the amazing story of the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God, we finally were able to visit the Tikhvin assumption male monastery to see the relic. During the trip we were also accompanied by the U.S. Consul General in St. Petersburg, Tom Leary,» wrote Tefft in his blog in LiveJournal.

According to Tefft the uniqueness of the Tikhvin icon, «perhaps, lies in its unifying force, linking Russians and Americans.»

«And this is one of many reasons I like the United States Ambassador wanted to visit Tikhvin and see her. The icon was withdrawn from the local Museum during the Nazi occupation of Tikhvin in 1941, and her future path was winding in the war years, she traveled to Pskov, Riga, in the American zone of occupation in Germany, and finally ended up in Chicago in the care of the Archbishop of Riga John (Garklavs). He, and later his adopted son Archpriest Sergei Garklavs kept the icon at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago, where it was returned in 2004 in Tikhvin after the revival and reconstruction of the monastery,» wrote the diplomat.

He noted that this «wonderful story tells not only about the power of faith in the darkest hours of history, but also about ordinary people in Russia and America uniting for a common cause – the preservation of relics, venerated in both countries.»

«It reminds us that our shared values will always prevail over the forces that seek to divide us, and that the bonds of friendship between us don’t break and they will remain strong even in hard times… Amazing Tikhvin monastery holds in its walls a long history of Russia. In 2004, it was written in a small but significant Chapter on the friendship between Russian and American peoples. I sincerely hope that the spirit of cooperation which has been stored Tikhvin icon, will continue to serve as an inspiration to us and we will always join forces for the good of us all,» said the American Ambassador.

He expressed gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality extended by Bishop Mstyslav and servants of the monastery. «For me it was a great honor to meet with Olga Prevas (Garklavs) and learn more about her father and grandfather, father Sergius and Bishop John, who for more than 50 years preserved an icon in Chicago, the city where I was born, my wife Mariella,» wrote Tefft.

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