Giant mosaic unveiled in world's second largest Orthodox church
BELGRADE - AFP
The unveiling was attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who arrived in the capital on Feb. 22 for a two-day visit, alongside Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Bosnian Serbia leader Milorad Dodik.
Vucic commended the project for "weaving in millions of glittering pieces into one single message of brotherhood and solidarity" and thanked the lead artist, Russia's Nikolai Mukhin.
The mosaic represents Christ's Ascension into heaven and was financed by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
It was assembled in Moscow for a year before being transported to Belgrade.
The construction of Saint Sava cathedral, which can accommodate up to 10,000 people, started in 1939, based upon the model of Haghia Sophia in Istanbul. But building was interrupted two years later with German occupation at the start of World War II.
Neglected by former Yugoslavia's communist authorities, the project to finish the cathedral has gone on for decades.
Serbia and Russia, both mainly Orthodox countries, are traditional allies.