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The Wonder-working Sitka Icon Of The Mother Of God

The Wonder-working Sitka Icon Of The Mother Of God.

The Icon

The Icon of Our Lady of Sitka is painted in the same style as the Kazan Mother of God Icon. It resides in the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael in Sitka, Alaska, and was a gift from the laborers of the Russian American Company in 1850, two years after the cathedral was built.

It was painted by the iconographer, Vladimir Borovikovsky, a protégé of the Empress Catherine II. It is 36 x 171 inches in size with a detailed riza of silver covering it, except for the faces and hands of the Mother of God and Our Lord Jesus Christ. Oftentimes a riza of silver or gold, and sometimes precious gems, is placed on an icon by the faithful in thanksgiving for answered prayers. Many miracles have been attributed to this icon. It is believed that the gaze of the eyes of the Theotokos have led to restored health for those who prayed before the icon.

If you ever visit the cathedral, you will notice that no matter where you stand, her eyes seem to look in your direction. In this icon, Jesus is shown as a small adult who seems to be standing in His mother’s arms facing the faithful with his right hand raised in blessing, . His mother’s gaze is thoughtful and tender and her head is inclined toward her beloved Son as though she is contemplating his mission as our Saviour who has come into the world to suffer the Passion.

This is one of many Icons that have been painted in the style of the Kazan Mother of God which is highly revered in Russia, having many miracles attributed to it, and which accompanied Russian troops in 1612 and again, during the War of 1812. The Kazan Mother of God is commemorated in the Church on July 12 and October 22.

Troparion in tone 4

Today, like the sun dawning over us in the air,
Thine all-honored icon enlightens the world with rays of mercy
And our land reverently receives it as a divine gift from on high,
Glorifying thee, 0 Birthgiver of God, Our Lady of Sitka,
With joy magnifying Christ our God Who was born of thee.
Pray to Him 0 Lady Mary, Queen and Theotokos
That all cities and lands be protected from the enemy,
And that they will be saved who in faith worship
His divine image in thy most pure icon
That has come to dwell with us,
O Virgin Mother, who shows us the way.

Troparion in tone 8

Let us hasten, 0 people, to the Virgin Theotokos and Queen.
Giving thanks unto Christ our God
And gazing at her wonderworking icon
let us humbly fail down and sing to her:
O Lady Mary, thou has visited our land
through thine honorable image,
In peace and good season saving all Christians,
Showing them to be heirs of heavenly life in God.
Therefore, with faith we sing to thee, Our Lady of Sitka:
Rejoice, 0 Virgin, the Salvation of the world.