Icon Akimov 102.129 «The Mother of God Icon «The Seeking of the Lost». St. Blessed Matrona of Moscow»
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- Silver (925). Gilding (999).
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"A double-sided small icon with icons of the Mother of God “The Seeking of the Lost”, and of St. Blessed Matrona of Moscow (†1885 – May 2 1952) is quite traditional for Russia. In Russia that has always been considered the Home of the Most Holy Mother of God, it is a custom to combine wonder working icon of Her with the images of the most beloved saints. The icon “The Seeking of the Lost” is specifically combined with the image of Blessed Matrona: St. Matrona worshipped that icon particularly, and two copies had been painted with her blessing.
Born blind but endowed with the gift of prophesying St. Matrona foresaw numerous misfortunes that would befall Russia and her people, and always aspired to help the people around her through praying. Aged 7 she started receiving people: neighbors and relations firstly who noticed that the girl could see not only people’s sins and transgressions, but even their thoughts. And soon people started reaching for the blind girl from other villages, the entire region, and even other provinces. They dragged carts and wagons with their sick relatives and friends; some of them were even carried in arms. Through Matrona prayers people received healing from illness and consolation in afflictions. Wishing to thank, they left food and gifts for her parents. In such a way the girl became the breadwinner, rather than being a burden.
Matrona prayed zealously but she was unable to help everyone needy. Once the icon of the Most Holy Mother of God “The Seeking of the Lost” came to her dream. That icon was worshipped as the last refuge of the lost, as their last resort. Through it the Mother of God rendered Her mercy to those who had already stepped over the downfall threshold.
On the icon “The Seeking of the Lost” the Mother of God is holding the Infant Christ who standing on Her knee, in Her tightly joined hands. The icon has started being worshipped since about the beginning if the 17th century. Its first known wonder was to save a pious peasant from sure death who when he was caught by a snowstorm on the way to the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. The peasant vowed having the icon “The Seeking of the Lost” painted for the parish church in case of him being saved, and the Mother of God brought rescuers to him. By 19th century numerous copies of the icon spread all over Russia, many of them becoming famous for various wonders.
“I keep on seeing that in my dreams” Matrona said to her mother. “The Mother of God asks to be taken into our church”. She indicated the image in a book of the local dean, and gave her blessing to the women for collecting money in villages for the image. Later she sorted out the collected, returned the reluctant money, spoke to the icon painter, and asked him to shrive a forgotten sin before putting the work in hand. The icons painter with the blessing of St. Matrona became the provincial chief shrine and famous for plenty of wonders.
Both icons are in Moscow now. One of them is located at the Danilovskoye Cemetery beside the grave of St. Blessed Matrona. Pilgrims from all quarters of Russia come here, and receive miraculous help. The icon “The Seeking of the Lost” is applied to by brides for their wedlock to be salvational; by those who got bogged down in hard drinking; lost in abject poverty; suffering from illnesses; mothers invoke it for their lost children. And the Heaven Queen gives Her help and support to everyone. “Be merciful to us, those sinful and getting lost; and have mercy upon us” – is written on the small icon around Her image.
St. Blessed Matrona is commemorated on May 2 (April 19), September 3 (August 21), October 5 (September 22). The observance of the icon “The Seeking of the Lost” is instituted on February 18 (5)."
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