"Was it worth it? Was it?" asked Paul said, not without a note of skepticism.
"They should've named you Thomas – Thomas the eternal doubter," Papa Sanych was indignant. "The restorers gasped when they looked closer. That ill-fated masterpiece had Archangels depicted on it, that were the spitting image of da Vinci angels in the Uffizi Gallery. How could that god-forsaken northern village have a painter trained in Italian Renaissance painting? He obviously used the Leonardesques he brought with him from somewhere, definitely not his memory, to inspire his painting of those angels. The little chapel in Khvalinskaya is certainly not a Notre-Dame, nor did it ever have an art critic among its inhabitants, but what it does have is the devotion of a magnitude to be found nowhere else. That's about it, folks."
... They left after midnight, tired and thoughtful.
"Piotr Sanych, can I ask you something?" Paul asked just before leaving.
"What is it? What more proof do you need?"
"I just thought they must have had their party unit and rural committee. It's hard to believe the committee members didn't know the 'heavens' had survived. They could have gotten into trouble. Could get kicked out of the party, if not worse."
"Of course they knew. They were a village. There were no false witnesses."
"Not even one among the village chiefs?
"Not even one, Paul."