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Henry M. Robert

Miracle-working icon believed to have been lost returns to Sumy region

Bread of Life known since the 19th century has been granted to Orthodox Church by a Donetsk collector
27 September, 2012 - 00:00
Photo by Oleksandr KOMENDANT

On Tuesday Sumy met with a ceremony the old-time miracle-working image of Christ the Savior Bread of Life, honored not only by Orthodox believers, but Catholics and Lutherans.

The icon was believed to have been lost for almost 100 years, since the 1920s. However, even after all these years the believers have not forgotten about it: in many Orthodox churches of Sumy region and Christians’ homes the copies of the icon which in its time became famous owing to numerous miraculous healings.

The Bread of Life icon, known from the 19th century, was preserved in the village of Mala Chernetchyna, Sumy povit, Kharkiv gubernia. People far beyond Sumy region knew about it. Each year crowds of pilgrims came to join the religious procession dedicated to the shrine. The lost icon has been recently found in one of the private collections of church paintings in Donetsk oblast.

After numerous examinations both church commissions and scholars confirmed the authenticity of the Mala Chernetchyna icon. The owner of the collection Oleh Zdanovych granted the miracle-working icon to the Orthodox Church, for which the Ukrainian Orthodox Church conferred on him the Saint Prince Volodymyr Order of Second Degree. The restored icon was brought to Sviatohirsk Cave Monastery where it has been preserved until recently. Now the icon of Christ the Savior Bread of Life has returned to Sumy oblast and will stay in Sumy Saviour’s Transfiguration Cathedral.

By Alla AKIMENKO, Sumy