Icon Akimov 102.012 «The Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God»
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- Miniature relief, casting, gilding, niello, handwork.
"A icon with the Tikhvin image of the Mother of God is made quite according to tradition of guard small icons that have been since antiquity used by Christians for protecting against evil forces. The guard small icons traditionally have the most illustrious images of Christ, the Mother of God and venerable saints.
«The Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God»The Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God together with other four icons of Hers – Vladimir, Kazan, Smolensk and Feodorovskaya – is the main sacred thing in Russia. Each of these great icons has both the apanage and the role of its own in Russia as well as in Russian history. Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God stands guard over the North-West of Russia.
By the legend it came to Novgorod lands by the sky in 1383. Many of the chronicles narrate it stalking along the sky in the glare shine. Sometimes it stopped and made wonders by prayers of people following it. At those scenes chapels were carpentered that stand hitherto in the villages of the Novgorod region. The Mother of God saw Her icon as far as the river Tichvina bank and there chose a place for it.
“Hodegetria” is translated as “Guide”. The Mother of God as if directs all of us to the Lord Almighty sitting on Her hands Who is the way and the purpose of Christian life. Known are many icons of such iconography. The Tikhvin icon distinguishing feature is the infant Christ location. He turned to His Mother and crossed His feet in such a way that His right heel is seen.
In 16th century the Monastery in the name of the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God was erected instead of wooden chapel by John the Terrible order. The main temple of the Monastery was built as a reliquary for the great icon. The temple was raised around it; and the sacred place chosen by the icon was separately domed.
Many long years a list of wonders made by the icon has been made in the Tikhvin cloister. By the beginning of 20th century the list made up several volumes. In an endless stream pilgrims went to it from every corner of Russia, rushing to show their gratitude and to contribute their mite into the icon decorating. Prior to the Revolution the icon attire was exceedingly rich. On its golden riza about 9.5 kg in weight there were 4809 brilliants, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, topazes, large pearls. On one of the emeralds presented by Tsarina Anna Ioannovna there was carved a Crucifix with the Mother of God and the Apostle John interceding Christ. Under the silver icon case an icon-lamp was suspended on golden chains more than 16 kg in weight, and a silver candlestick stood more than 48 kg in weight. The icon was sheltered with great many of embroidered precious covers.
In the monastery special services were officiated before the icon. On Maundy Thursday the icon keeper opened the icon case and all comers were admitted to kiss the sacred thing. A holy-water public service was held, during which the icon was washed with a special sponge; afterwards the pilgrim hankies were sprinkled and then put to the icon. Under the monastery there was a special studio where only the Tikhvin icon was copied. Everyone could acquire a small image. The copies were exact, the majority being replicas.
During the Second World War Tikhvin was occupied by fascist invaders. Upon retreating the fascists got the icon and other valuables to Riga. John (Garklavs), the Archbishop of Riga took the icon secretly to the USA where it was kept for a long time. Under the will of His Eminence the icon was returned to the Tikhvin monastery as a solemn event in the summer of 2004 after restoration thereof.
On the small icon the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God is depicted in a golden case having the temple shape. It is the symbol of that very reliquary wherein the wonder-making sacred thing has formerly been kept. The wattled ornament symbolizes the continuousness of creaturely and Divine lives; of the eternal and the temporal; of the past and the present. The reverse has the prayer words: “She as illuminates all the believers as the Sun shines brightly and irradiating mercy upon everything”."
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