8 Jul: The Miracle in the Ashes

‘Our Lady of Kazan’, a painting of the Virgin and Child, was discovered in the ashes of a fire in the Russian town of Kazan on 8th July, 1579. The icon quickly became associated with miracles after two blind men were said to have their sight restored by standing in front of it.

The original was stolen in 1904, but the copies still represent one of Russia’s most important pieces of religious art – credited by some with thwarting Napoleon’s invasion of 1812.

In this episode, Rebecca, Arion and Olly interrogate the reportage that continues to promote the ‘miracles’ performed by the painting; reveal Hermann Goering’s role in the fascinating 20th century history of the work; and recall a religious image of squirting milk that, once seen, cannot be unseen…

Further Reading:

• ‘Roman Catholic Saints’ profiles Our Lady of Kazan (2011): https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/our-lady-of-kazan.html

• ‘The Miracle Behind One of St Petersburg’s Most Famous Landmarks’ (Russian National Tourist Office): https://www.visitrussia.org.uk/blog/the-miracle-behind-one-of-st-petersburgs-most-famous-landmarks/

• The Associated Press records the day the icon was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church by the Pope (2004):