Icon Akimov 102.067 «The Mother of God Icon «Inexhaustible Chalice»
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- Silver (925). Gilding (999).
- Miniature relief, casting, gilding, niello, handwork.
"The miraculous appearing of the icon “Inexhaustible Chalice” occurred in 1878. A retired soldier being a peasant in a village not far from the city of Tula was possessed by passion for drinking. Due to his addiction he went to seed, was reduced to poverty, and on top of all that his leg were paralyzed. But he kept on drinking. And one day in his dream the unfortunate wretch saw the Elder who said: “Go to the city of Serpoukhov to the Convent of Our Lady the Mother of God. There is the icon “Inexhaustible Chalice”. Have prayer service held before it, an you will be of sound body and mind”. The dream repeated thrice, and the soldier made up his mind to crawl up to Serpoukhov.
In a village on his way a tenderhearted old woman took pity on him and roofed him for the night. She fed him, massaged his sore legs, and placed him on the stove. The next morning the wayfarer felt better, and was able to stand up. The old woman persuaded him to stay a day more, and he recovered so that could proceed by his own feet supported with sticks.
Having come to the Convent of Our Lady the soldier told about his dreams, and asked to hold a service before it. But nobody in the Convent knew so named icon. At last an icon with a chalice was remembered. It hung in the passage to the vestry, and was indeed inscribed “Inexhaustible Chalice” on its back. In the Elder who had appeared in his dreams the soldier recognized Barlaam the schemamonk, the deceased builder of the Convent. The image was taken to the church, and a service was held before it. The former drunkard returned from Serpoukhov right as rain. Not only his paralyzed legs were healed, but overwhelming thirst to wine vanished completely.
Soon the good tidings spread through the neighbourhood, and pilgrims started going to the newly found image from everywhere. Those obsessed by passion for drinking, as well as their family and friends strived for invoking the Mother of God for the illness being healed. Many of them came afterwards to give their thanks to Our Lady for Her mercy.
But before the revolution the icon had no time to become an all-Russian object of worship. It remained a locally venerated sacred thing. In the city center a temperance brotherhood was created under the Church in the name of St. Alexander Nevski. Every Sunday in presence of the vast confluence of people prayer services were held before the copy of the wonder working icon of the Mother of God “Inexhaustible Chalice” that were usually completed with religio-moral conversations.
In post-revolutionary years cloisters and churches started being closed all over Russia. The Convent of Our Lady in Serpoukhov having been closed the wonder working icon was taken to the Cathedral dedicated to St. Nicholas “White”. In 1928-1930 the Metropolitan of Serpoukhov restored the services to the icon “Unfinished Chalice”; and 8 copies were painted with his blessing. but in But in1929 the Cathedral was closed too; and all the sacred object were burned on the river bank. All copies and the prototype were gone with the wind, the prayerful services stopped.
In 1980s the worshipping of the sacred object of Serpoukhov recommenced; and the tradition of dominical prayer services was restored, as well as the temperance brotherhood.
In 1991 the Serpoukov Vysotsky Monastery was opened. A new copy of the “Inexhaustible Chalice” was painted for the Monastery, and services were carried to it. The new image of the Mother of God soon won the love of the Orthodox believers; the Queen of Heaven endowed it lavishly with grace that from the very first days started pouring out to everyone who came with faith and hope. Numerous precious gifts that decorate the holy image are evidence of that.
In 1996 one more copy of the “Inexhaustible Chalice” was painted on the site of its being found in the Serpoukov Convent of Our Lady. This image became wonder working too. On May 30, 1997 with the blessing of the Holy Patriarch Alexius the icon “Inexhaustible Chalice” was for the first time included into the Orthodox Church Calendar, and became the all-Russian sacred object of worship.
The small icon obverse shows this extremely venerated sacred object, the reverse having the grapevine ornament that symbolizes both the Savior, and the Eucharist wine. The prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God is inscribed roundabout: “Hail! The Ewe Lamb, You gave birth to the Lamb who took all sins of the world upon Himself. Hail, the Chalice drawing joy for us from the source of athanasy”."
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