Saturday, March 23, 2013

Amazing Story behind Icon of Madonna given to Benedict XVI by Pope Francis

In my last post, which has 4 updates on the visits between the two popes, I suggested that people visit Dr. Robert Moynihan's new web page, and consider signing up for his e-letters, which are posted there.  I just received his latest e-letter where he explains a very amazing story involved with the icon Pope Francis presented to his predecessor today.

Moynihan explains in his usual story form:

As Nicole Winfield put it in her comprehensive Associated Press dispatch today: “The two men in white embraced and showed one another the deference owed a Pope in ways that surely turned Vatican protocol upside down: A reigning Pope telling a retired one, ‘We are brothers,’ and insisting that they pray side-by-side during a date to discuss the future of the Catholic Church.”
In the same report, she noted: “Francis also brought a gift for Benedict, an icon of the Madonna. ‘They told me it’s the Madonna of Humility,’ Francis told Benedict. ‘Let me say one thing: When they told me that, I immediately thought of you, at the many marvelous examples of humility and gentleness that you gave us during your pontificate.’ Benedict replied: ‘Grazie, grazie.’”
But who were the “they” who told Francis that the icon was the Madonna of Humility?
“They” were… the people who gave the icon to him. But who were those people?
Well… they were representatives of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who sent the icon to Pope Francis as a gift, and who handed it to Francis three days ago, on March 20.
How do I know this?
Because a few minutes ago I received an unexpected email from Metropolitan Hilarion, 46, an old friend who is also the “Foreign Minister” (the term isn’t quite accurate, but it suggests the importance of his work and position) of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Moscow Patriarchate, so, the right-hand of Patriarch Kirill. He wrote:
“Pope Francis presented to Pope emeritus Benedict the icon which had been presented to Pope Francis by Metropolitan Hilarion on behalf of Patriarch Kirill [the head of the Russian Orthodox Church] after the private audience [with the new Pope] on 20 March. Отправлено с iPhone [Sent from iPhone]“
So the icon was the Russian icon Hilarion gave to Francis three days ago!
I wrote back: “Amazing. Are you pleased, or upset?”
I added: “It is reported here: ‘They spent 45 minutes talking alone. Pope Francis gave Pope Benedict an icon of Our Lady of Humility, saying that when he received it, he immediately thought of giving it to Pope Benedict.’”
Hilarion wrote back: “Very pleased and touched.”
Now, you really have to read the rest of the story, but I'll let you finish there, in his post: 

Here is his home page.  Once again, consider signing up for those e-letters. You can do it through his home page.  He often posts daily, but sometimes several times daily - this way you can get them as they are posted.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.