Icon Akimov 102.003 «The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God»
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"Since extreme antiquity the Vladimir icon of the Holy Mother of God is the most often to be depicted on the guard small icons. It is the greatest Russian object of worship having for centuries been personification of our country. In the face of it Russian Tsars has been crowned, and Patriarchs has been elected. It is to “the Vladimir image of the Most Holy the Mother of God” that warriors has vowed fidelity to Motherland, and died at the battlefield. And it is upon her protection that Russia has always set its hopes in the years of hardships.
«The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God»According to the legend the great and wonder-working image was painted by Apostle Luke in the lifetime of the Mother of God, and blessed by Herself. In 1131 Patriarch of Constantinople presented the icon to grand prince Yuri Dolgoruky. In 1155 the St. Prince Andrew of Bogolyubovo took it to Vladimir, and erected a majestic Dormition cathedral for it on the high bank of the Klyazma river. Since then the icon had always participated all the significant events of Russian history.
And there was no case for any believer that praying to Vladimir icon of the Mother of God of turned out vain. There are thousands of examples of miraculous help. Three of them are commemorated by special liturgies.
In 1395 a dreadful conqueror Tamburlaine Khan invaded Russian Land. He took the city of Elets and reached the river Don, striving to Moscow. The Grand Prince Vasilyi (son of the Grand Prince St. Demetrius Donskoy) gathered the irregulars and marched off towards him. They stood on Oka bank. The wonder-making icon of Our Lady was sent for to Vladimir.
On the holy day of the Mother of God Dormition after the liturgy and public prayer the icon was taken out of the cathedral and carried to Moscow in religious procession. The chronicles say that along the whole way from Vladimir to Moscow the sacred image was waited for by crowds of kneeled people invoking: “O Our Lady, save the Russian land!” At the very moment when Muscovites met the wonder-making image on Field of Kutchkovo, Tamburlaine dreamed of consecrators army lead by Woman of Stateliness who commanded him to leave precincts of Russia. Khan interpreted the dream as a sign, and swung his troops round. The icon remained in Moscow (today – in the functioning Church of St. Nicholas in Tolmatchi under Tretyakov Gallery). The wonder is commemorated by Liturgy on September 8.
One more holy day instituted by Church on July 6 June 23) is connected with the events of 1480. At that time revolts broke out in Russia: John III brothers rose in rebellion, eager for absolute ruling in their independent principalities. In winter Pskov land was invaded by Livonian chivalry, Polish King Kazimir and Tatar Akhmat Khan entering into military alliance and starting to prepare for war. When the Livonians assaulted Pskov, Kazimir drew his troops up to Smolensk, and Akhmat took the Large Horde against Russia; the Blessed Virgin again warded the inevitable disaster off. The Metropolitan Vassian together with all the Hierarchs officiated public prayers before the icon day and night. And a wonder was conferred. Main Livonian forces could not occupy Pskov; Princes Andrew and Boris having solicited their kingly brother for forgiveness and took the field against Akhmat; Kazimir was perturbed with overall sympathy that was expressed with Russia by Kiev and Smolensk inhabitants then subjected to him, and refused to uphold the Tatars.
Russian and Tatar armies met on the river Ugra afterwards nicknamed “the girdle of the Mother of God”. The great standing lasted for several months. Akhmat waited for the river being frozen over. Ringing frost struck and John III retreated to more advantageous lines for crucial battle. But at the sight of the far bank being quite empty the Tatars regarded being ensnared and fled. That date is considered to be the end of the Tatar yoke in Russia.
The plundering raids of Tatars on Russia though did not stop. In 1514 and in 1521 the again reached Moscow but due to Muscovites prying before the Vladimir image their hordes were terrified and retreated without fighting. Both events are commemorated on June 3 (Ma 21).
Many other wonders have happened due to praying to the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God, and not only on a national scale. Occurrences of miraculous help to individuals are incalculable – benediction in activities, various kinds of healing and, even raising from the dead.
In the troparion to the Vladimir image of the Mother of God that is partly written on the small icon reverse there is a prayerful supplication for protection of all Christian countries as well as of an individual human soul against enemies."
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