Precious heirloom re-united with Stolypin family

The wife of a Russian priest was shocked to discover an icon given to her as a present used to belong to renowned Russian reformist prime minister Pyotr Stolypin, who was assassinated in 1911. After 1917 his family escaped to France, leaving everything be

Mother Natalya didn't travel all the way to France from Russia empty-handed. She took roses to the Russian Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois cemetery in France to lay them at the tomb of Olga Stolypina, the wife of the renowned reformist in pre-Soviet Russia.

But it's not all she took. Four years ago she was presented with a unique religious icon, and all she wants now is to reunite it with the original owner.

“The sign on the icon said it used to belong to Olga Stolypina. So as soon as I got the opportunity I came to her final resting place in France,” mother Natalya explains.

The paintwork on the icon is so bright it plays in the sun. Stolypin's grandson Dmitry says it's just as he imagined.

For him it's like the last 90 years of uncertainty never happened and the precious heirloom never left its owner's hands.

“The wife of a simple Russian priest from a small Russian village meets with the grandson of a famous Russian reformist here, near Paris… Someone may think it's impossible,” says Konstantin Mogilevsky from Pyotr Stolypin's Herritage fund.

Impossible or not, during one of the many assassination attempts on Pyotr Stolypin, terrorists detonated a bomb seriously injuring one of his daughters. A complicated operation was needed and Stolypin spent the whole night praying before the icon. Miraculously, she survived.

Now mother Natalya plans to take the icon across the whole of Russia, so people never stop believing in its legendary powers.