A Relic From the Georgian Orthodox Church Visits Archangel Michael Church
- Late in the evening of August 4, 2010, a group of Georgian Orthodox pilgrims brought a copy of the Anchi Icon of the Savior to Archangel Michael Church in Cannes, France. This is a copy of the oldest Orthodox icon of Georgia. By the blessing of His Holiness the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, a group of pilgrims has been traveling with this icon throughout Orthodox churches and monasteries of the world. The aim of the visits is to return the original icon from the State Museum of Art of Georgia, where it has been located since the 20th century.
The Anchi Savior is one of the most venerated of Georgian images. In ancient times, the icon was in Anchi Monastery in southwest Georgia, whence in 1664 it was transferred to the 6th-century Nativity of the Theotokos Church in Tbilisi, at which time it became known as the “Anchiskhati” icon. According to Bishop John of the 12th century, a famous Georgian hymnographer, the Anchi Savior was brought by Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called from Hierapolis to Klarjeti. Georgian tradition identifies this icon with the Edessa Icon “Not-made-by-hands.”
The copy of the Anchi Icon, traveling throughout France, has already visited the Georgian Church of Holy Queen Tamara in the outskirts of Paris and St Nicholas Cathedral in Nice. Priest Maksim Massalitine performed a moleben to the Lord Jesus Christ before the icon at the Russian Orthodox Archangel Michael Church in Cannes with the presence of local representatives of the Georgian diaspora. After the service, at which Georgian prayers were sung, the pilgrims shared a small trapeza with the parishioners of the church.
The Anchi Savior Icon also visited Orthodox churches in Rome and Bari, Italy, after which it departed for Holy Mount Athos.