Rich Russians Pursue Better Wealth

This Washington Post feature story will become unavailable to those of us without the money to sign-up (ironically). But the quoted remark of a museum curator in Russia in favor of Russian tycoons buying-back the nation’s Orthodox Christian religious heritage, including Holy Icons, from abroad, where it had been taken, stolen, or sold after the Bolshevik Revolution, is telling for those of us only used to hearing about oligarchs accumulating rubles there: “It’s a wonderful thing that our businessmen are returning our wealth to the motherland.” Evidence, also, that Russia’s post-Communist return to Faith isn’t restricted to the poor or the boondocks, as some would have us believe. At least one quoted claimed ‘a religious awakening.’

Coincidentally(?), a few days later the Boston Globe did a feature on a Massachusetts tycoon – an American – and his museum of Russian icons. Maybe we Yanks can work something out with the Russians?

Of course, some believe it’s sacrilegious to treat Orthodox holy icons as mere artworks, merely displayed in museums. Prince Charles of the UK (and Her Majesty’s other Realms and Territories), like his father a camp-follower of Orthodoxy (his father, Prince Philip, was born Orthodox, a prince of Denmark and Greece), recently tried to get a museum there to set aside a permanent display of its icons, as an improvement on letting most of them just collect dust in storage. The museum’s disrespectful response to him – which went beyond simply stating that they weren’t an icon museum but a general art museum – briefly became tabloid fodder. Perhaps some wealthy Briton (Your Royal Highness??) – or Russian – could sponsor a wing or even a whole subsidiary museum for those icons?

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