The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
On September 8th, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God.
This wonderworking icon is one of the most venerated in Russia and, according to tradition, dates from the dawn of Christianity. It was painted by Apostle Luke on the board of the table where Christ dined with Theotokos. Seeing the portrait, the Mother of God said: “From now on, all generations will bless Me. The grace of the One born of Me and Mine be with this icon.”
Transferred from Jerusalem to Constantinople, the icon was then sent to the Russian Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy as a gift. It was first housed in the nunnery of Vyshhorod, the appanage city of Andrey Bogolyubsky.
The Prince, while travelling through the Zalessk Land, had a vision. The Theotokos commanded to leave her image in Vladimir. The image has been called the “Vladimirskaya” icon since then.
One of the most significant miracles in Russian history, still celebrated by the Orthodox Church, happened on September 8. The hordes of Tamerlan, one of the most fearful conquerors ever, approached Moscow. The forces the Russians could scrape together were nowhere close to his, neither in quantity nor in skills.
There was nothing left but to appeal to God’s help. It took 10 days to carry the image of the Mother of God from Vladimir to Moscow. On September 8, when the Moscovites were greeting the icon, the armies of Tamerlan backed up and retreated from the Russian lands for no apparent reason.
Moscow was saved.
According to the legend, Tamerlan had a dream of the radiant Virgin with saints in shining garments and sworded angels. The dream interpreters explained that he saw the protectress of that (Russian) land and there was no way to subdue her. The khan ordered retreat then.
The divine intervention of the Theotokos against the seemingly unstoppable foe decided the bloodless Russian victory. This miraculous deliverance from the imminent threat on September 8th, 1395, celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church ever since, glorifies the wonderworking Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God!
This treasured icon is maintained in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and accessible to everyone. The copy of this holy image is one of the most popular among icons that sanctify our homes. Our Convent’s icon studios use different techniques to paint the Vladimir Icon of Theotokos.
Looking at the Vladimir Icon of Theotokos, we see such peaceful beauty, humility and love that many of us think this is the true appearance of Virgin Mary! We also have a description of the Virgin Mary from Dionysius the Areopagite, one of the early saints who saw the Virgin Mary. He left us a description of her.
When he learned that the Mother of Christ lived in Jerusalem, he travelled there to meet her. From this meeting he said:
"Her appearance, her features, her whole appearance testify that she is indeed Mother of God."
According to Tradition, that from the compiler of Church history Nicephorus Callistus (fourteenth century), the Mother of God “was of average stature, or as others suggest, slightly more than average; Her hair golden in appearance; Her eyes bright with pupils like shiny olives; Her eyebrows strong in character and moderately dark, Her nose pronounced and Her mouth vibrant bespeaking sweet speech; Her face was neither round nor angular, but somewhat oblong; the palm of Her hands and fingers were longish…
In conversation with others She preserved decorum, neither becoming silly nor agitated, and indeed especially never angry; without artifice, and direct, She was not overly concerned about Herself, and far from pampering Herself, She was distinctly full of humility. Regarding the clothing which She wore, She was satisfied to have natural colors, which even now is evidenced by Her holy head-covering. Suffice it to say, a special grace attended all Her actions.”
If something is burdening your soul, present your difficulties before the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and remember the words of St Joseph of Volokalamsk: “Never was it known that anyone who sought thy protection was ever left unaided.”
The Troparion of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
Today the most glorious city of Moscow rejoices radiantly, / for it receives your wonderworking Icon as a ray of the sun, O Lady. / Now, having recourse to it, we pray to you and cry: / O most wondrous Lady Theotokos, / pray to Christ our God, Who was incarnate of you, / that this city and all cities and countries be kept safe from all the assaults of the enemy, / and that our souls may be saved, for He is merciful.
PS - You can entrust the prayers for you and your loved ones to Sisters of St. Elisabeth Convent. Click on this link to send us your prayer requests on the feast of Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God.
2020 has been a very hard year for so many of us because of the coronavirus. At times, we’ve all felt scared, sad, and maybe even angry. Regardless of all the hardships, we must always remember that God has been with us every day.
Repentance is hard work. It takes humility to admit our sins and courage to repent and ask for forgiveness. Here are four timeless narratives from saints and monks from different centuries.
The prayers of the Church come from the love and inspiration of her most merited sons and daughters. In most perfect words they express the profoundness of the Christian prayerful spirit in its manifold forms.
On August 5, we celebrate the miraculous transformation of the “Joy of All Who Sorrow” icon of the Mother of God. It happened on this day in 1888 when a lightning struck the chapel where the icon was placed and burning the chapel’s walls and…
Jesus had not come to Jerusalem to reign there. He only wanted to be King in people's hearts. He made it clear that he had come to seek peace, not make war.
The Lazarus Saturday is a very joyful day for Orthodox Christians which shows us the triumphal miracle of Christ. It falls on the same day our dear Abbess Euphrosinia celebrates her birthday - April 24th.
We offer ourselves up to God by fulfilling His commandments, anticipating our imminent death, however absurd it may sound.
On August 22, we will celebrate the birthday of our Convent. Twenty three years ago on this day, Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, tonsured three of our sisters to Rassophore and blessed seven…