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July 28th (VIII - 10)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of Bottom row: St. Timon, St. Irene Chrysovalantou, St. Prochorus, Bishop Top Row: St. Nicanor, St. Parmenas of the 70 Apostles

Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, named "Hodegetria" (Way-Guide) (1046). Disciples from the 70: Prochorus, Nikanor, Timon and Parmenas -- Deacons (I). Martyrs Julian (II), Eustathios (+ c. 316) and Akakios (+ c. 321); Drosidas; Eythymius and Antoninus. Monastics: Paul of Xeropotama (X), Irene of Cappadocia (X). Saint Dorimendontus. Sainted Pitirim, Bishop of Tambov (+ 1698). Monk Moisei (Moses), Wonderworker of Pechersk, in Farther Caves (XIII-XIV). Grebnevsk (1380), Kostroma (1672), and "Tenderness" (Umilenie) Seraphimo-Diveevsk (1885) Icons of the Mother of God. Venerable Copies from the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God: Ustiuzhensk (1290), Vydropussk (XV), Voroninsk (1524), Khristophorovsk (XVI), Suprasl'sk (XVI), Yugsk (1615), Igritsk (1624), Shuisk (1654-1655), Sedmiezernsk (XVII), Sergievsk (at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra) (1730).

The Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, named "Hodegetria", which in Russian means "Putevoditel'nitsa" or "Way-Guide", was according to Church tradition written by the holy Evangelist Luke within the earthly lifetime of the MostHoly Mother of God. Sainted-hierarch Dimitrii of Rostov suggests that this image was written at the request of Theophilos, the governor of Antioch. From Antioch the holy image was transferred to Jerusalem. From there the empress Eudokia, the spouse of Arcadius, gave it at Constantinople to Pulcheria the sister of the emperor, who put the holy icon in the Blakhernai church.

The Greek emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042-1054), -- in 1046 having given his daughter Anna in marriage to prince Vsevolod Yaroslavich, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, -- blessed her on her way with this icon. After the death of prince Vsevolod the icon went to his son Vladimir Monomakh, who transferred it at the beginning of the XII Century into the Smolensk cathedral church in honour of the Dormition (Uspenie) of the MostHoly Mother of God. From that time the icon received the title of Smolensk Hodegetria.

In the year 1238 at the bespeaking of the icon, the self-sacrificing Orthodox warrior Merkurii by night penetrated into the camp of Batu and killed many of the enemy, in which number was also their most powerful warrior. Having accepted in the fight a martyr's end, he was enumerated by the Church to the ranks of the Saints (Comm. 24 November).

In the XIV Century Smolensk came into the possession of the Lithuanian princes. The daughter of prince Vitovt, Sophia, was given for marriage to the Moscow GreatPrince Vasilii Dimitrievich (1398-1425). In 1398 she brought with herself to Moscow the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. They set the holy image in the Annunciation cathedral of the Kremlin, on the right side of the royal-doors. In 1456, at the request of the inhabitants of Smolensk with Bishop Misail at the head, the icon was solemnly in church procession returned to Smolensk, and at Moscow there remained two copies of it. One was put in the Annunciation cathedral, and the other -- "a measure for measure" -- was put in the Novodevichei monastery, founded in memory of the return of Smolensk to Russia. The monastery was built on Devichei Pole (Virgin's Field), where "with many tears" the Muscovites handed over the holy icon to Smolensk. In 1602 an exact copy was written from the wonderworking icon (in 1666 together with the ancient icon they conveyed a new copy to Moscow for restoration), which they situated in the tower of the Smolensk fortress wall over the Dneprovsk Gates, under a specially constructed mantle-cover. Afterwards, in 1727, was built there a wooden church, and in 1802 -- a stone church.

The new copy took on the power of grave of the old image, and when the Russian armies left Smolensk on 5 August 1812, they took the icon with them for defense from the enemy forces. On the eve of the Battle of Borodino they carried this image through the camp, to encourage and inspire the soldiers to the great deed. The ancient image of the Smolensk Hodegetria, taken for the while to the Uspensk cathedral, on the day of the Borodino battle was in procession around with the Iversk and Vladimir Icons of the Mother of God through the Belo and Kitai quarters and the Kremlin walls, and then they sent it to the sick and wounded at the Lefortovo palace. After the leaving of Moscow the icon was taken to Yaroslavl'.

Thus of old were these sister-icons preserved, and the Mother of God through Her images defended the Native-land. After the victory over the enemy forces the Hodegetria Icon together with its glorified copy was returned to Smolensk.

The celebration in honour of this wonderworking image on 28 July was establsihed in the year 1525 in memory of the return of Smolensk to Russia.

There exist many venerated copies of the Smolensk Hodegetria, for which the celebration is set on this day. There is also a day of celebration for the Smolensk Icon, glorified in the XIX Century, -- 5 November, when this image on the orders of the commander-in-chief of the Russian army M. I. Kutuzov was returned to Smolensk. In memory of the expelling of the enemy from the Fatherland, at Smolensk it was established to celebrate this day annually.

The holy icon of the Hodegetria Mother of God -- is one of the chief holy things of the Russian Church. Believers have received and do receive from it an abundant help of grace. The Mother of God through Her holy image intercedes for and strengthens us, guiding on the way to salvation, and we call out to Her: "Thou for faithful peoples -- art the All-Blessed Hodegetria, Thou art the affirmation -- the Praiseworthy of Smolensk and all the Russian land. Rejoice, Hodegetrix, salvation to Christians!"

The Holy Disciples from the 70: Prochorus, Nikanor, Timon and Parmenas were of the first deacons in the Church of Christ.

In the book of the Acts of the Apostles (6: 1-6) it relates, that at Jerusalem the twelve apostles chose seven men: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nikanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and established them to serve as deacons.

Holy Church makes their memory in common on 28 July, although they died at various times and in various places.

Saint Prochorus at first accompanied the first-ranked Apostle Peter and was made by him bishop in the city of Nikomedia. After the Falling-Asleep (Dormition or Uspenie) of the MostHoly Mother of God, Prochorus was a companion and co-worker of the holy Apostle John the Theologian and together with him was banished to the island of Patmos. There he wrote down the Revelation of God, -- revealed to the holy Apostle John, about the final fate of the world (Apocalypse). Upon returning to Nikomedia, Saint Prochorus converted pagans to Christ in the city of Antioch and there accepted a martyr's end.

Saint Nikanor suffered on that day when the holy First-Martyr Stephen and many other Christians were killed by stoning.

Saint Timon was established by the Apostles as bishop of the city of Bastoria in Arabia and suffered from the Jews and pagans for preaching the Gospel. He was thrown into a furnace, but by the power of God he came out of it unharmed. The tradition of the Roman Church says, that Saint Timon died by crucifixion on a cross.

Saint Parmenas zealously preached Christ in Macedonia. He died from sickness befalling him. There exists also the opinion, that Saint Parmenas suffered under Trajan (98-117) in the final year of his reign, having accepted a martyr's end.

Sainted Pitirim, Bishop of Tambov, in the world Prokopii, was born 27 February 1645 (or 1644) in the city of Vyazem. From his youthful years the Lord readied Prokopii for high spiritual service, which was set him to fulfill. While still in childhood he learned reading and writing. Favoured exercises of Prokopii were reading the literature of the holy fathers and the Lives of the Saints. This furthered the formal spiritual makeup of the future sainted-hierarch. The boy was remarkable for his overall love of work, broad knowledge and mature judgement. He was endowed with artistic talent, and he successfully occupied himself with the writing of icons and adroit knowing of church singing. A sublime spiritual disposition early on led Prokopii onto the pathway of monastic efforts. Having resolved to totally dedicate himself to God, he entered into the Vyazemsk ForeRunner monastery, known for its strict rule (ustav). In his 21st year of life he took monastic vows with the name of Pitirim.

The young monk earned the respect of his brethren by his ascetic life and was chosen hegumen. In 1684 he was raised to the dignity of archimandrite. On 15 February 1685 Patriarch Joakim (1674-1690) summoned him to Moscow and ordained him bishop of Tambov.

Organised in 1682, the Tambov diocese suffered from the frontier poverty and the coarse illiteracy of its inhabitants. Pagans comprised nearly all the greater part of the settlers: the Mordvi, the Cheremysi, the Mereschi. On the territory of the diocese lived also many Tatars, bitter opponents of Christianity. Among the Christian settlers of the diocese were numbered many schismatics and fleeing or banished criminals.

The saint zealously took on resolving the tasks set before him. On the place of the old wooden church at Tambov he began to build a two-storied stone cathedral in honour of the Transfiguration of the Lord with a chapel in the name of Sainted-bishop Nicholas. Saint Pitirim not only zealously watched over the construction of the temple, but even himself participated in the building work. The saint allotted great effort to spiritual enlightenment. He built a special school for clergy-servers, where under his guidance were raised up worthy Church pastors. At his dwelling by the labours of the saint was gathered together a library of spiritual literature (in the works of the Moscow Uspenie cathedral there is noted "two books of Dionysios the Areopagite, leather bound, one in red, the other in black, along the edges gilded", belonging to Saint Pitirim). The saint continually instructed his flock, preaching the Word of God. He often made trips throughout the diocese, so as to have the possibility to familiarise himself on the spot in the needs of the communities.

The holy archpastor was constantly concerned about the reconciliation with the Orthodox Church of the schismatics (raskol'niki), about the reunion of the dissenters to it. The deep piety, active compassion towards neighbour and wise patience of the Saint in conversations with the raskol'niki and dissenters disposed them to a full trusting of his word. By fine example of holy life and by the power of gracious discourse the saint led many to the true faith. The saint's sister by birth, Ekaterina, became the first head of the Ascension women's monastery founded by him in 1690.

Being an audacious man of prayer and intercessor before God, Saint Pitirim never forgot about Christian humility. Not relying on his own human strength, the archpastor shielded the city of Tambov entrusted him by God with icons of the Saviour and the Kazan Mother of God, locating them at the two chief gates.

Saint Pitirim prayed much and taught his flock about prayer. He was daily present at Divine-services and often himself performed the priestly doings. On those instances, when the Saint did not serve, he sang in the kleros (choir), teaching the choir the correct church singing and reading. In his cell the Saint very often prayed before icons of the Devpeteruvsk Mother of God and Saint Nicholas.

Saint Pitirim acutely sensed the beauty of nature in his land, which awakened in him a feeling of prayerful thanksgiving to the Trinity for the visible world. Alongside his favourite spot of strolling and pious meditations was built in the deep woods the Tregulaev monastery of John the ForeRunner, founded by him together with his spiritual friend, Sainted-hierarch Mitrophan of Voronezh (Comm. 23 November and 7 August). The saint set up a large wooden cross with an image of the Saviour.

Similar to the great ascetics, Saint Pitirim allotted much time to physical work: the water-wells give evidence to this, dug up by the hands of the saint at the place of his prayerful deeds.

Sainted Pitirim died in 1698 at age 53.

The body of the saint was buried in the lower level of the Tambovsk Saviour-Transfiguration cathedral, at the south wall of the right-side chapel in the name of Saint Nicholas. After the blessed end of Saint Pitirim his spiritual ties with his flock were not sundered. The place of his repose started soon to be devoutly venerated. With each year grew all the more the number of pilgrims, gathered on 28 July -- the day of death of the saint, for Divine-services at the Tambovsk cathedral. Each new sign of God's mercy, manifest by prayer to Saint Pitirim, inspired assurance for the people that the bishop venerated by them -- was truly of God. From the year 1819 there was begun the conducting of a record of grave-testimonials of the manifestations of grace. The veneration of Saint Pitirim extended far beyond the bounds of the Tambov diocese. On 28 July 1914 Sainted Pitirim, Bishop of Tambov, was enumerated to the ranks of the Saints.

The Monk Moisei (Moses) pursued asceticism at the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra (XIII-XIV) in the Farther (Theodosiev) Caves; he wore chains and an heavy copper cross. The monk possessed the graced gift of wonderworking.

The Holy Martyr Julian suffered during the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161) in the Italian province of Campagna. The governor Flavian gave orders to search out and bring christians to him for trial. During this time the young Christian Julian arrived in Campagna from Dalmatia. Having met up with soldiers of the governor, he greeted them with the words: "Peace, brothers!" The soldiers began to interrogate him: where he was from and what faith he confessed. Julian, willing to suffer and die for Christ, bravely declared that he was a Christian. The soldiers were amazed at the courage of the youth, but obeying their orders, they bound him and led him to the governor. "We shall see, -- they said, -- how true be thy words, whether thou be willing to die for the Crucified One".

Having undergone a beating, the saint prayed to the Lord, that He would grant him the strength to endure the torture to the end. His prayer was heard, and he heard a Voice: "Fear not, Julian, I am with thee and shalt give thee strength and courage". The holy youth was locked up in a prison, called "the Cold Pit", in which they held him for seven days without food or water. An Angel of God brought food and heartened the confessor.

At the following interrogation the governor harassed the youth, saying, that it was shameful for such an handsome youth to worship the One-Crucified upon the Cross, and urged him to offer sacrifice to idols. Saint Julian made bold to answer, that he was prepared to die for the true faith. The governor gave orders to tie the youth to a tree and beat him. The martyr began to pray and again heard a Voice: "Fear not, Julian, remain brave". Saint Julian, having turned to the crowd standing about, said: "Listen, ye accursed ones, trust not on your gods, which ye have made with your hands. But rather know ye the God, Who from nothing hath created Heaven and earth". After his speech more than 30 men were converted to Christ, and they again led off the saint to prison. In the morning, when new tortures were started, they announced, that the temple of the pagan god Serapis together with the idols standing in it were destroyed. Everyone arrived in shock and was terrified, but the christians were heartened and glorified Christ God. The pagans however attributed this destruction to magical power and they demanded his immediate execution. They decided to do the killing of the holy youth at the place of the ruined pagan temple. Before the execution Saint Julian bent down on his knees and prayed, thanking the Lord for granting him to accept death for His Holy Name. A third time he heard the Voice, summoning him to the Kingdom of Heaven. They beheaded the holy martyr with a sword, and he expired to the Lord, Whom he loved more than earthly life.

The Holy Martyr Eustathios was a soldier. For confessing the Christian faith he was arrested and brought before the head of the city on Ancyra. At the interrogation, the saint firmly and bravely confessed himself a Christian and was sentenced to tortures. They beat him without mercy, they bore into the heels and, having tied him about with rope, they dragged him in the city to the River Sagka (Sangara). At the bank of the river they put the martyr into a wooden chest and threw it in the water. An Angel of God brought the chest to shore. The saint, situated in the chest, was singing the 90th (91st) Psalm: "He that dwelleth in the help of the Most-High..." Beholding the miracle and sensing himself disgraced, the governor having drawn his sword killed himself. The holy martyr, having received Communion from the hand of an Angel, gave up his spirit to God (+ c. 316). His venerable relics were buried in the city of Ancyra.

The Holy Martyr Akakios was brought to trial for belief in Christ. Three governors attempted to compel the holy martyr to offer sacrifice to idols, having subjected him to fierce tortures. Governor Licinius gave orders to rend the body of Saint Akakios with instruments of torture, and he then sent him to Governor Terence, who gave orders to throw Akakios into a cauldron, filled with boiling tar and tallow, but the martyr remained unharmed. Terence set off to the cities of Apameia and Apollonia and gave orders to bring the martyr after him. In one of these cities Saint Akakios was led into a pagan temple, but by his prayer all the idols there fell down. They beat the saint viciously and gave him over for devouring by beasts. When however they saw that he remained unharmed, they then threw him into a red-hot furnace. The martyr there also remained unharmed. The governor, wanting to check whether the furnace was sufficiently hot, went near it and himself burned. They then took the holy Martyr Akakios for torture to a certain Posidonius, who put heavy fetters on the holy martyr and gave orders to take him to the city of Miletos, but there also the saint by his prayer ruined idols. Finally, the exhausted torturers beheaded Saint Akakios (+ c. 321). A presbyter by the name of Leontios buried his body in the city of Synados (Asia Minor).

The Monk Paul of Xeropotama, in the world Prokopios, was the son of the Constantinople emperor Michael Kuropalatos, -- who afterwards resigned the imperial dignity and accepted monasticism in a monastery built by him. Having received the finest education, Prokopios became one of the most learned people of his time. His "Discourse on the Entrance into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God", the "Canon to the Forty Martyrs", the "Canon to the Venerable Cross" and other works gained him worthy reknown. But knowledge and place of honour in the world did not captivate him. Having left everything worldly, he exchanged his fine garb for beggar's rags, and he went to the Holy Mountain [Athos], to the place Xeropotama. He built himself a cell there at the remains of a ruined monastery, founded once by the empress Pulcheria in honour of the 40 Martyrs, and from Cosmas an hermit he took monastic vows with the name Paul.

Out of humility the Monk revealed his learnedness to no one. Fame about the strict life of Paul quickly spread throughout all the Holy Mountain. He became called Paul of Xeropotama, and the monastery where he pursued monasticism, to the present day bears the name Xeropotama ("dry-creek").

At that time there came upon the throne the emperor Romanos, a relative of Paul. Through the Protos of the Holy Mountain he requested the saint to come to Constantinople and made for him a splendid reception. The humble Paul, not betraying his monastic duty, appeared with a cross and in torn robes amidst the courtly splendour and magnificence. The Monk Paul confirmed his fame as a chosen of God, miraculously healing the grievously ill Romanos, by placing his hand on him. But the vanity of courtly life, promised by the gratitude of the emperor, did not interest the saint; he returned to the Holy Mountain, having asked of the emperor but one mercy -- to restore the Xeropotama monastery.

At the holy altar in the consecrated cathedral church of the restored monastery was put a piece of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, given to Saint Paul by the emperor Romanos.

Soon the Xeropotama monastery was filled by a throng of monks, wanting to put themselves under the guidance of the holy ascetic, but the Monk Paul, having entrusted the rule of the monastery to one of the brethren, moved off to a remote wilderness. His strict quietude was again disturbed by disciples, not wanting to quit their elder. Then the monk requested of the emperor the means for the building of a new monastery. Thus was founded by the saint a monastery in the name of the holy GreatMartyr and Victory-Bearer Saint George. The first head of the new monastery was the Monk Paul himself, who there also brought a piece of the Venerable Wood of the Cross of the Lord.

Having been informed in advance by the Lord of his impending end, the saint assembled to himself the brethren of the Xeropotama and the new Georgikos monasteries and gave them his final directives. On the day of his death, the Monk Paul donned the mantle, read the prayer of Saint Ioannikes, which he said continually: "My hope -- is the Father, my refuge -- is the Son, my protection -- is the Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, glory to Thee", and he communed the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Saint Paul had instructed in his will to bury his body on the peninsula of Pongosa (opposite the Holy Mountain). But by the will of God the ship was driven to the shores of Constantinople, where the emperor and Patriarch with the pious took the body of the saint and solemnly placed it in the Great church. After the sacking of Constantinople by the Crusaders, the relics of Saint Paul were transferred to Venice.

The Grebnevsk Icon of the Mother of God, glorified by miracles and situated in a church in the city of Grebna (on the River Chira, flowing into the Don), was presented by the inhabitants of the city to GreatPrince Dimitrii Donskoi upon his return from the Kulikovo Battle in 1380.

In the XV Century, after a successful campaign against Novgorod, GreatPrince Ivan Vasilevich in a vow built the church of the Uspenie in Moscow at Lubyanka and placed in it the Grebnevsk image of the Mother of God, which he had taken with him on the campaign. When the church burned in 1687, the icon miraculously was preserved.

The Kostroma Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God was written in 1672 on the wall of the southwest tower of the Kostroma Theophany monastery. In 1779 a great conflagration occurred at the monastery, and the tower was all enveloped by flames, but the holy Icon of the Mother of God did not suffer from the fire. In the year 1824 a church was built at the tower.

The Seraphimo-Diveevsk "Tenderness" (Umilenie) Icon of the Mother of God belonged to the Monk Seraphim of Sarov, and was his cell icon. With the oil from the lampada, which burned before this holy icon, the Monk anointed the sick, who received healing after the anointing. The ascetic called the icon "Umilenie" (Tenderness) -- "Joy of all joys", and in front of it he died at prayer on 2 January 1833. After the death of the Monk Seraphim of Sarov the monastery head Father Niphont gave the holy icon "Joy of all joys" to the sisters of the Diveevsk Seraphimovsk monastery.

The Ustiuzhensk Icon of the Mother of God (1290), glorified by many miracles, was situated in the city of Ustiuzhna under Novgorod governance (now Vologda district). At the beginning of the XVII Century the inhabitants of Ustiushna, praying for salvation before this holy icon, were delivered from an invasion of the Swedes and Polish by the intercession of the Queen of Heaven.

The Vydropussk Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God in the XV Century was situated in a temple of the GreatMartyr George in the village of Vydropussk, Novgorod governance. During the time of a conflagration of the church, this holy icon remained undamaged. After the taking of Novgorod by the Moscow GreatPrince Ivan III, his army returned to Moscow. One of the soldiers, a Murom native, having gone into the church took from it the icon of the Mother of God, and going to his own estate put it in a church of Saint Nicholas. When they served the first molieben before the stolen holy icon, after the reading of the words of the Gospel: "...and returned to Her own house" (Lk. 1: 56) suddenly a whirlwind flew, the canopy of the temple opened, the Icon of the Mother of God was raised up on the air and miraculously transported to the church of the village of Vydropussk.

The guilty thief of the holy icon repented himself and came on foot to Vydropussk, beseeching the Mother of God to forgive him. In the XVI Century this holy icon was taken to Moscow, and from it an exact copy was made for the church of the village of Vydropussk, and the original was put in the temple of the Transfiguration in the city of Torzhek.

The Holy Icon of the Voroninsk Mother of God was situated in the Voroninsk Uspenie (Dormition) of the Mother of God hermitage in the Cherepovetsk district of Novgorod governance. Its appearance occurred in 1524.

The Holy Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God, named the Christopherite (Khristophorovsk), in 1555 was put in the temple of the monastery, founded by the Monk Christopher, a disciple of the Monk Longin of Koryazemsk (+ 1540). This icon was glorified by many miracles, and round about from the monastery flows from the earth a spring of healing water.

The Holy Icon of the Mother of God, named the Suprasl'sk, was located at the Annunciation women's monastery of Grodnensk governance at the beginning of the XVI Century. It was glorified by many miracles and both Orthodox and Catholics piously reverence it.

The Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, named the Yugsk, appeared at the beginning of the XVII Century to the starets schema-monk of the Pskovo-Pechersk monastery Saint Dorophei. The Mother of God, during a time of invasion of the Swedes, commanded him to take Her image to a place decreed by Her, and to transport the image into the environs of the Yaroslavsk diocese and there to start a monastery. The hegumen of the monastery was not agreeable to let go the Icon of the Mother of God that had appeared, but She appeared to him in a dream-vision commanding to fulfill Her will and let go the starets Dorophei with Her icon. The starets Dorophei, having come to the place told him in the vision, stopped to rest and put the holy icon upon a tree. When he wanted to continue the journey, then by some certain power he was unable to take the holy icon from the tree. Starets Dorophei realised, that the Queen of Heaven wanted to remain in this place. He then built a small hut and stayed to live by this sacred icon. News about the arrival of the elder quickly spread through the surrounding villages. Pilgrims started to throng to him for veneration of the holy icon, from which were done healings. Means were gathered by the pious local inhabitants and the beginning of construction of a new monastery was put in place.

The Monk Dorophei died in the year 1622. Clergy presented facts about the working of miracles to Patriarch Philaret. In reply they received the blessing for the founding at the River Yuga of a monastery with church in honour of the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God. The monastery became named the Yugsk. In 1654 by the intercession of the Mother of God a deadly pestilence was halted in these localities.

The Holy Icon of the Mother of God, named the Igritsk, appeared in the year 1624 in the locale of Igritsa at the River Pesochna not far from the city of Kostroma. Local peasants found the icon in an old half-ruined church, being during the course of 50 years fully left neglected after a deadly plague. The icon stood in the altar and shone with bright hues, as though newly written. After the first molieben served in front of this holy icon, a boyar's (nobleman's) blind son Emilian gained his sight. Then four pious Christians stayed to live around the desolate church and took monastic vows. At the place of the appearance of the icon of the Mother of God there afterwards was built a new church and a monastic community emerged.

The Holy Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God, named the Shuisk, appeared in the city of Shui of Vladimir diocese at the very height of a raging deadly epidemic in the years 1654-1655. The inhabitants of the city fled this misfortune by prayer, and gathered together in the churches, beseeching mercy of the Lord. A certain pious parishioner of the Resurrection church discussed with his compatriots to gather together the means and to commission a copy of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God and place it in the temple, which was done. The icon was written in 7 days, during which time the inhabitants of Shui fasted and made fervent prayer to the Mother of God. Having communed the Holy Mysteries, they with a priest at the head carried the newly written icon into the church. And from that time the deadly pestilence ceased. In 1831 by the intercession of the Mother of God a cholera epidemic at Shui ceased. From this holy icon the lad Jakov received healing from demonic-affliction, and likewise many others of the sick.

The Sedmiezernsk Icon of the Mother of God was glorified by great miracles in the regions of the city of Kazan in the XVII Century. This holy icon was situated in the Sedmiezernsk hermitage near the city of Kazan. The founder of the monastery, the Monk Evphymii, placed in the temple of the newly established monastery the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God, brought by him from the city of Great Ustiug. In the middle of the XVII Century throughout all Russia there raged a deadly plague and it reached Kazan. There within a short time died 48,000 men, almost all the inhabitants of the city. And here, a certain pious monk had a vision in a dream: a radiant man came before him and commanded, that the inhabitants of the city should establish a seven-day fast and go out to meet the icon of the Mother of God coming to them for their deliverance from the Sedmiezernsk hermitage. The monk told the city-heads about the vision. A religious procession went out towards the icon of the Sedmiezernsk Mother of God, the icon was placed in a temple, and the deadly pestilence began to cease. The holy icon was in Kazan for an entire year, and when the pestilence was completely halted, -- it was returned to the Sedmiezernsk monastery. The Mother of God gave Kazan deliverance from this epidemic a second time in 1771. All the Orthodox inhabitants of Kazan and its surroundings deeply revere this holy icon and from the Mother of God they receive healing from sickness and help in misfortune.

The Holy Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God is located at the Holy Trinity Sergiev Lavra in the Smolensk church on the left side of the Royal-doors. From this icon in 1730 there received healing a psalomschik (cantor), whose hands were bent and rigid to the back. The Mother of God appeared to him in a vision and healed him. This occurrence was attested to by physicians.

© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.



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