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Monsignor Francis M. Mannion of the Cathedral of the Madeleine and Father John Kaloudis of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral issued a joint statement this week condemning the sale of religious icons from Russia.

A recent story in the Salt Lake Tribune detailed the sale in Utah of religious icons that a local man brought out of Russia."Our contacts with the embassy of the Federation of Independent States and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, both in Washington, D.C., indicates that the traffic in Russian icons is widespread.

"The unauthorized removal of religious icons from Russia is illegal according to Russian law. Their consequent sale in this country is a matter of great offense to Orthodox Christians and to many other Christians. Commerce in icons indicates a serious lack of understanding of their meaning and value and represents a stance of gross religious and cultural insensitivity."

The religious leaders urged those with such icons to return them to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, D.C., so they can be returned to Russia.