BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbia's leaders have hailed the arrival of an enormous Russian-painted mosaic at the largest Orthodox church in the Balkans as a sign of "eternal" friendship between the two Slavic nations.
The first part of the 40-ton mosaic, personally approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin, arrived in 66 pieces on Wednesday at the Saint Sava temple in Belgrade.
One section, featuring the head of Jesus, was put on display for people attending a service.
State TV reported the mosaic cost 4 million euros ($4.3 million) and is partly financed by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
At a ceremony inside the sprawling church, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said the mosaic "will once again show our unity and togetherness with the Russian people and the Russian state."