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July 8th (VII - 21)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of Great Martyr Procopios

Appearance of the Icon of the Mother of God in the City of Kazan (1579). GreatMartyr Procopius and with him the Martyrs: Theodosia, 12 Women, Antiochus, Nicostrates, and Auda (+ 303). Righteous Prokopii, Fool-for-Christ, Ustiuzhsk Wonderworker (+ 1303). Righteous Prokopii of Ust'yansk (XVII). Monk Theophilos the Myrh-Exuding (+ 1548, Athos). MonkMartyr Anastasias (+ 1743). Monk Dimitrii of Bessarabia (Transfer of Relics, 1779). Martyress Potentiana (I). Martyrs: Auda and Sava; Miridates, Emperor of Gruzia (Georgia, + 410). Sign from the Annunciation Icon of the Mother of God in the City of Ustiug (1290). Venerable Copies of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God: at Moscow (1612), Kazan (1579) and at Peterburg (1721); Yaroslavsk (1588), Vyaznikovsk (1624), Nizhnelomovsk (1643), Tobol'sk (1661), Kaplunovsk (1689), Tambovsk (1695), Vysochinovsk (XVIII), Vyshensk (1812), Penzensk (1666).

The Appearance of the Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God in the City of Kazan (1579): On 1 October 1552, on the feastday of the Pokrov-Protection of the MostHoly Mother of God, at night, tsar Ivan IV in heading the Russian forces made ready for a decisive assault against the Tatar city of Kazan, and suddenly he heard the peeling of the Moscow bells. The tsar realised that this was a sign of the mercy of God: that through the prayers of the mighty commander-in-chief, the Lord deigned that the Kazan people should be converted to Him.

The surrender of Kazan on the feast of the Pokrov-Protection of the MostHoly Mother of God completed a course of events, initiated way back centuries earlier in the year 1164 by holy Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky (+ 1174, Comm. 4 July), against the Moslem Volga Bulgars. With the taking of Kazan, the Volga -- the chief waterway route of the land, became finally a Russian river. And from Tatar servitude were liberated 60,000 Russian people. The enlightenment of the Tatars with the light of the Gospel truth was started. There were the first martyrs -- Saints Peter and Stephen (Comm. 24 March). The newly established Kazan diocese entered into the complexion of the Russian Church and was soon illustrious in its own archbishops: Sainted Gurii (+ 1563, Comm. 5 December) and Sainted German (+ 1567, Comm. 6 November).

But the advance of Orthodoxy was especially enabled amongst the Volga Mahometans by the appearance, on 8 July 1579, of the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God in the city of Kazan. Preaching the Gospel had been a difficult matter in this conquered kingdom amongst the incorrigible Moslems and pagans. The MostHoly Mother of God, Mediatrix of preachers of the Word of God, Who even during Her earthly life shared in the evangelic work of the holy Apostles, -- in looking down upon the efforts of the Russian missionaries, She did not hesitate to send them Heavenly help, manifest through Her wonderworking Icon.

On 28 June 1579 there occurred a terrible conflagration which had started around the church of Sainted Nikolai of Tula. This fire destroyed part of the city and turned to ashes half of the Kazan Kremlin. The adherents of Mahomet gloated, supposing, that God had become angered against the Christians. "The faith of Christ, -- says the chronicler, -- is rendered a fable and an outrage". But the conflagration at Kazan was the foreboding of the ultimate fall of Islam and affirmation of Orthodoxy throughout all the land of the Golden Horde, the future East portion of the Russian realm.

The city began quickly to rise up from its ruins. Together with others who had been burned out, and not far from where the conflagration had started, -- was built the house of the musketeer Daniil Onuchin. The Mother of God appeared in a dream to his nine year old daughter Matrona and commanded her to find Her icon, hidden in the ground by secret confessors of Orthodoxy way back still in the time of Moslem rule. But to the words of a mere girl they paid no attention. Thrice the Mother of God appeared and pointed out the spot, where the wonderworking icon had been concealed. Finally, Matrona with her mother began to dig in the indicated place and they found the sacred icon. To this place of the miraculous discovery there came archbishop Jeremii at the head of his clergy and transported the holy image into a church of Saint Nicholas situated nearby. From there, after a molieben, amidst a church procession they transferred it to the Annunciation cathedral -- the first Orthodox temple in the city of Kazan, erected by tsar Ivan the Terrible. During the time of the procession there occurred the healing of two blind men -- Iosif and Nikita.

A copy of the Icon, which had appeared at Kazan, together with an account of the circumstances of its discovery and descriptions of the miracles was dispatched in 1579 to Moscow. Tsar Ivan the Terrible gave orders to build at the place of its appearance a temple in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, to install therein the holy icon, and to found there also a women's monastery. Matrona and her mother, instrumental in finding the sacred icon, accepted monastic tonsure at this monastery.

At the Nikol'sk (Nicholas) church, where the first molieben had been made before the Kazan Icon, was serving at this time as priest the future Sainted Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow (+ 1612, Comm. 17 February). Fifteen years later, in 1594, now as Metropolitan of Kazan, he compiled a report of the holy events to which he had been an eyewitness and participant: "Account and Miracles of the MostPure Mother of God from Her Venerable and Gloriously Manifest Image at Kazan". In this account are descriptions with great factual precision regarding many an instance of healing, from the wonderworking Icon through the prayers of believers. The "Account" manuscript -- written by His Holiness Patriarch Ermogen -- was in its entirety reproduced in facsimile edition: "Report about the Wonderworking Kazan Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God", with an introduction by A. I. Sobolevsky, M(oscow) 1912.

The not-large Icon, discovered by the girl Matrona in the then recently annexed foreign frontier of the Russian realm, soon became a national sacred item, a sign of the Heavenly protection of the Mother of God, manifest for all the Russian Church, since the soul of the Orthodox nation sensed the special participation of the All-Pure Lady Mother of God in the historical destiny of its "Rodina" native-land. Not by mere chance was the Kazan Image a copy of the ancient Blakhernae Icon (Comm. 7 July) written by the holy Evangelist Luke, and considered in its iconographic type to be of icons named "Hodegetria" ("Putevoditel'nitsa", "Way-Guide"). Many a time the "Kazan Mother" showed the way to victory for Russian Orthodox soldiers in the fulfilling of their sacred duty for God and Country.

In the year of its appearance at Kazan (in other sources two years afterwards) there began the remarkable onward march "Beyond Kazan" (beyond the Ural Mountains) envisioned by Blessed German (+ 1567, Comm. 6 November), and taken by the Cossack ataman Ermak Timofeevich Povol'sky (+ 1584), an effort crowned finally with the annexation of Siberia. With a graced energy and coursing about in miraculous manner it proved sufficient, that for some several decades Russian explorer-missionaries should proceed to the East, " to meet the sun", going many thousands of kilometers. On the feastday of the Pokrov (Protection, 1 October) in 1639 they sailed out on their first voyage along the Pacific Ocean, preaching salvation to the surrounding peoples.

Orthodox soldiers and missionaries went east, while apostates fled to the West. Jesuits seemingly attempted to drown Rus' at the beginning XVII Century with tumultuous waves of sovereign-imposters and "rapacious people". It was indeed through Divine Providence, during the period of the Polish Occupation (1605-1612), which the nation termed the "Time of Troubles", that the Russian Church was headed by a great confessor of Orthodoxy -- the PriestMartyr Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus', who had been among those first to venerate the Kazan Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God, becoming the author of the "Account" about it and the Service to it.

During the difficult days when Moscow was occupied by the Polish, and discord and disorder having spread throughout all the land, this resolute sufferer for the Holy Faith and Fatherland was held under guard, and he managed secretly to send off to Nizhni Novgorod an appeal: "Write to Kazan to metropolitan Emphrem, and let there be sent a document of direction to the regiments for the boyars and to the Cossack forces, that they should rise up in force for the faith, put an end to the plundering and preserve brotherhood, and should vow to pledge their souls for the house of the All-Pure and the wonderworkers and for the faith, let there be done. And in every city... write thus in my name". The Nizhni Novgorod people responded to the appeal of the archpastor. Prince Dimitrii Mikhailovich Pozharsky headed the gathered militia.

The Kazan forces, joining in with the militia, brought with them a copy of the wonderworking Kazan Icon, which they gave to prince Dimitrii at Yaroslavl'. The MostHoly Lady Mother of God took the militia under Her protection, and by Her intercession Russia was saved.

The Russian forces experienced tremendous difficulties: inward hostilities, and insufficient armament and supplies. In the bad weather of Autumn the Russian army moved on to storm Moscow, situated in the hands of the Polish.

A three day fast and fervent prayer before the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God inclined the Lord to mercy. Within the besieged Kremlin at this time was held captive the Hellas Archbishop Arsenios (Arsenii, afterwards Suzdal' archbishop, + 1626, 13 April), who had arrived from Greece and was grievously ill from his journeying and being shaken about. By night the cell of Sainted Arsenii was suddenly lit up by a Divine light, and he beheld the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 5 July and 25 September), who said: "Arsenii, our prayers are heard; through the intercession of the Mother of God the Divine judgement of the Fatherland is changed to mercy; on the morrow Moscow wilt be in the hands of its besiegers and Russia saved".

As though in proof of the veracity of this prophecy, the archbishop received healing from his sickness, and then this joyful occurrence became known to the Russian forces. On the following day, 22 October 1612, Russian forces, inspired by the vision, seized a sweeping victory and took the Chinese-quarter, and 2 days later -- the Kremlin itself.

On Sunday, 25 October, Russian forces triumphantly in church procession made entry into the Kremlin, bearing the Kazan Icon. At the Skull-Place ("Lobnoe mesto", i.e. the public execution spot), the church procession was met by Archbishop Arsenii emerging from the Kremlin, bearing the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, saved by him in his captivity. Moved by the effect of the meeting of the two wonderworkings icons of the Mother of God, the people with tears made prayer to the Heavenly Mediatrix.

With the expulsion of the Polish from Moscow, -- according to the Nikonov chronicle, prince Dimitrii Pozharsky had the holy Kazan Icon placed in his own parish church of the Entry in the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God, at Lubyanka in Moscow. Afterwards, at the expense of the prince-patriot, there was erected the Kazan cathedral on Red Square. The holy icon, which had been with the armies of Pozharsky during the liberation of Moscow, was transferred in 1636 into the newly constructed temple, the Kazan cathedral. At present, this holy image is situated in the Patriarch's Theophany cathedral in Moscow.

In commemoration of the liberation of Moscow from the Polish, a special feastday in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was established under 22 October. At first this celebration was made only at Moscow, but from 1649 it became an all-Russian celebration.

In 1709, before the Poltava Battle, Peter the Great prayed with his soldiery in front an icon of the Kazan Mother of God (that from the village of Kaplunovka). In 1721 Peter transferred one of the copies of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God from Moscow to Peterburg, where at first the icon was placed in a chapel, then at the Alexandro-Nevsky Lavra monastery, and from 1737 it was in the church of the Nativity of the Mother of God on Nevsky Prospekt. In 1811, before the Fatherland War, the holy icon of the Heavenly Mediatrix was transferred into the newly constructed Kazan cathedral.

In 1812 the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God provided blessing for Russian soldiers in repulsing the French invasion. On the feast of the Kazan Icon, 22 October 1812, Russian detachments under the command of Miloradovich and Platov destroyed the Davu rearguard. This was the first outstanding blow against the French after their departure from Moscow, and in which the enemy lost seven thousand men. And on this day snow fell, bitter frosts began, and the army that had subdued Europe began to falter.

...The Kazan cathedral at Peterburg was built in the years 1801-1811 -- as though especially for this, to be a commemorative temple of Russian glory in the 1812 Fatherland War. The iconostas of the main altar was an elaborately wrought work, made of an hundred pud-weight [pud = 36 lbs] of silver: of this, forty puds were an offering to the temple by the Don Cossacks, having taken this silver in 1812 from the French. The walls of the cathedral were adorned with trophies, taken from the French in 1812. Buried at the cathedral and with enemy standards draped over his holy tomb was prince Mikhail Kutuzov-Smolensky, saviour of the Fatherland. Bronzen sculptures of Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolli stand before the temple at the end of the colonnades, in the hemisphere circling upon the cathedral square...

Numerous wonderworking copies of the Kazan Icon in Rus' glorify the All-Pure Mother of God, Protectress of the Orthodox Russian people. Of the plethora of icons of the Mother of God venerated in the Russian Orthodox Church, none is more widespread in number than the Kazan Icon. For all Orthodox Rus' it is esteemed as holy, and to it oftenest of all do they turn their gaze in misfortunes and illnesses, crying out: "O fervent Mediatrix, Mother of the Lord MostHigh, for all pray Thine Son Christ our God... with everything grant benefit and save all, O Virgin Birthgiver of God, and be Thou the Divine protection for Thine servant".

With blessings of grace are dispersed icons of the All-Pure Mother of God throughout the extent of the Russian land, truly imaging the Heavenly protection, with Her constant intercession sent down by Her Divine Son, having offered Himself in sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. The ancient Vladimir holy Image of the Mother of God preserves and blesses the Northern bounds, the Smolensk and Pochaev Icons guard the West, and in the East, to the ends of the land shine the rays of the inexhaustible grace of the wonderworking Kazan Image of our All-Pure Mother.

The Holy GreatMartyr Procopius, in the world Neanius, a native of Jerusalem, lived and suffered during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). His father, an eminent Roman by the name of Christopher, was a Christian, but the mother of the saint, Theodosia, remained a pagan. He was early deprived of his father, and the young lad was raised by his mother. Having received an excellent secular education, he was introduced to Diocletian in the very first year of the emperor's accession to the throne, and he quickly advanced in government service. Towards the year 303, when open persecution against Christians was enacted, Neanius was dispatched as a proconsul to Alexandria with orders to mercilessly persecute the Church of God. But on the way to Egypt, near the Syrian city of Apameia, Neanius had a vision of the Lord Jesus, just as once formerly had happened with Saul on the road to Damascus. A Divine voice exclaimed: "Neanius, why persecutest thou Me?" Neanius asked: "Who art Thou, Lord?" -- "I am the crucified Jesus, the Son of God". And at this moment in the air appeared a radiant cross. Neanius sensed in his heart an inexpressible joy and spiritual happiness and he was transformed from being a persecutor into instead a zealous follower of Christ. From this point in time Neanius became fondly disposed towards Christians and struggled victoriously only against the barbarian pagans.

But for the saint there transpired the words of the Saviour, that "the enemies for a man -- are of his own household" (Mt. 10: 36). His mother, a pagan herself went to the emperor with a complaint against her son, of not reverencing the ancestral gods. Neanius was summoned to the procurator Judaeus Justus, where he was solemnly handed the missive of Diocletian. Having read through the missive filled with its blasphemies, Neanius quietly before the eyes of everyone tore it up. This itself was already a crime, which the Romans regarded as an "insult to authority". Neanius was held under guard and in chains sent off to Caesarea Palestine, where the Apostle Paul once languished. After terrible torments they threw the saint into a dank prison. By night in the prison room there shone a light, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, having come with luminous Angels, made Baptism for the suffering confessor, and gave him the name Procopius.

Repeatedly they led Saint Procopius to the courtroom, demanding him to renounce Christ and anew they subjected him to tortures. The stolidity of the martyr and his fiery faith brought down God's abundant grace viewing the execution. Inspired by the deed of Procopius, beneathe the sword of the executioner went many of the holy prisoner's former guards and Roman soldiers together with their tribunes Nicostrates and Antiochus. And with martyr's crowns was sealed the faith of 12 Christian Women, having themselves come to the gates of the Caesarea Praetorium. Struck by the great faith of the Christians and their courage, and having seen the firmness of her son in bearing terrible sufferings, Theodosia became repentant and stood amidst the line of confessors and was executed. Finally the new procurator, Flavian, convinced of the uselessness of the tortures, sentenced the holy GreatMartyr Procopius to beheading by the sword. By night Christians took up the much-tortured body, and having wrapped it in grave-clothes, with tears and prayers they committed it to earth (+ 303).

Righteous Prokopii of Ust'yansk (XVII): The undecayed relics of Righteous Prokopii were uncovered during the XVII Century near the Ust'yansk parish Entry of the Mother of God church in Vologda diocese and placed in the church, where over the course of two hundred years they remained in open view, a source of numerous healings. About the origin and life of the holy saint of God no account has been preserved. His name became known when he himself revealed it in a vision to a pious local inhabitant named Savela.

In connection with an increase in the number of miraculous healings, the relics of Righteous Prokopii were inspected in 1696 (or 1645) and in 1739, after which in honour of the saint there was consecrated a chapel in the church wherein rested his relics, and his icon was written and a service compiled to him.

In 1818 there was established the generally observed feastday in memory of the saint.

The Sign from the Annunciation Icon of the Mother of God in the City of Ustiug: The "Ustiuzhsk Annunciation" -- is a venerable icon, before which on 25 June 1290 with intense fervour prayed Saint Prokopii, Fool-for-Christ (+ 1303), for the salvation of the city of Ustiug from the wrath of God.

The icon was written by a Novgorod iconographer during the years, when in the city ruled holy nobleborn Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil (Gabriel, + 1138, Comm. 11 February). In 1567, under holy Metropolitan Philip (Comm. 9 January), the holy icon was transferred from Great Ustiug to Moscow and placed in the Uspensky cathedral. At the present time it is located in the state Tret'yakov gallery.

The Copy of the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, Situated amidst the Russian Military, before which the patriots Minin and Pozharsky prayed in 1612, was placed in the Moscow Kazan cathedral in 1636.At present this holy image is situated in the Patriarch's Theophany cathedral. At Moscow are known likewise other venerable copies of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God: in the Kremlin Ascension monastery (1701), in the Simonov monastery (XIX), in the Vysoko-Petrovsk monastery (1849), in Christ-Nativity church on Povarsky Street, in the church of the Kazan Mother of God at the Kaluzhsk gates and in the Entry of the Mother of God church.

The Wonderworking Copy of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, found in 1579, is situated in the Kazan cemetery church named for the holy nobleborn Prince Theodore (Feodor) and his sons David and Konstantin. The holy image is reverently venerated by the residents of the city.

A Copy of the Wonderworking Kazan Icon of the Mother of God at Peterburg in 1721 was placed in the Trinity cathedral on the orders of the emperor Peter I, and in 1811 it was transferred to the newly constructed Kazan cathedral, on the day of its consecration.

The Ancient Copy of the Wonderworking Kazan Icon of the Mother of God at Shlissel'burg: In 1611 a copy of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, located in a church in the fortress of Oreshek, was mortared over in a wall prior to the surrender of the fortress to the Swedes. In 1702 the fortress again passed over to Russia and was named Shlissel'burg.

One time a sentry noticed a light issuing from the wall and reported this. In the morning a crack had appeared in the wall and the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God could be seen. From the holy icon began to occur healings.

The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, named the Yaroslavsk, was found in the year 1588 in a journey to Kazan by Gerasim, whose hand had become crippled. The Mother of God, appearing to him, gave orders at a directed place to take up Her icon, transport it to the city of Romanov, and put it within a church. The invalid fulfilled these directions precisely and his hand was healed.

The holy icon was 21 years at Romanov, but in 1609 during the time of the Polish intervention it was taken to Yaroslavl'. The Yaroslavsk people installed the icon in a church, and from it occurred miracles. Nearby the church arose a women's monastery. A copy of the holy icon was sent back to Romanov.

The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, named the Vyaznikovsk, was situated in the cathedral church of the city of Vyaznika in Vladimir diocese. From this icon happened many an healing. In 1624 was made an investigation of it with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Philaret. All the instances of healing were corroborated, and the icon was acknowledged as wonderworking.

The Kazan Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, named the Nizhnelomovsk, appeared in 1643 at a spring near the city of Nizhni Lomov in Penzensk district. The icon was placed in a chapel, and here in 1648 was built a church. Before the Icon of the Mother of God, by Divine mercy, the sick received healing. And nearby the church was built a monastery.

The Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God appearing in the City of Tobol'sk in 1661 was under the following circumstances: a clerk of the Tobol'sk Znamenie-Sign monastery named Ioannikii reported that in a dream there had been a thrice-repeated appearance of a sainted-hierarch, whom he recognised as the holy Metropolitan Philip, telling him in the name of the Mother of God to take the Kazan Icon, carelessly left in a stateroom of the Three Saints church, and put it in a new temple, which should be built in three days, and on the fourth day consecrated. "Then, -- said the appeared saint, -- in the city wilt cease the prolonged rain and the harmful bugs will disappear". Ioannikii was afraid at first to tell the monastery head about these visions. At Matins, during the reading about an account of the appearance of the Mother of God at Kazan, he fell into a deep stupor. Regaining his senses, the clerk told everything to his priest-confessor, and that one in turn told the monastery head. And the commands of the All-Pure Virgin were fulfilled. The constant rain in that locale at once ceased and the nasty insects disappeared. And from the Icon of the Mother of God from that time began miraculous healings.

The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, named the Kaplunovsk, appeared in the year 1689 in the village of Kaplunovka in Khar'kov diocese. At the icon prayed emperor Peter I before the Poltava Battle (1709), and through the prayers of the Mother of God, he gained a brilliant victory over the Swedes. (The account about the appearance of the holy icon is located under 11 September).

The Tambovsk Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God is located in the Transfiguration temple of the Tambov cathedral church. The first miracle from it occurred on 6 December 1695, when during the time of the all-night vigil it shed tears. From that time constantly the holy icon has provided healing to the infirm. The icon was written in the Kazan form.

The Kazan Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, named the Vysochinsk, is situated in the Mikhailo-Arkhangel'sk church of the men's monastery near the city of Zmiev in Khar'kov district.

The holy icon appeared in the XVIII Century to a forest warden in a pine woods at the bank of the River Mzha. The warden saw standing on a marsh hillock the icon, from which shone bright rays of light. When he took hold the holy icon to put it in his sentry-hut, below the hillock welled up a spring of pure water.

One time, when the warden's father was in the sentry-hut (a decrepit blind old man, getting about on crutches) with his ten year old grandson, the boy saw bright light emit from the icon. The boy became frightened and told his grandfather, lying at the stove, that in the corner something was burning. The old man with difficulty got up from the stove and made his way to the corner, where stood the holy icon. Suddenly his eyes could see and he beheld the holy Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and he sensed himself completely healed. With tears he gave thanks to the Mother of God for the wondrous miracle.

On the following morning the warden's entire family set off to church in the nearest village to give thanks to God for the healing of the old man and to report everything to the local priest. The holy icon was put into the church, and the family returned home. To the astonishment of everyone, on the following morning the holy icon was at its place in the sentry-hut. Three times the holy icon was taken to the church and thrice it returned back to its place. Then they decided to leave the icon there, where the MostHoly Mother of God wanted it. And many people came hither, beseeching the help of the Mother of God.

After the Poltava Battle the emperor Peter I rewarded with a parcel of land a company commander, named Vasilii Vysochinov, who had distinguished himself in the fight. Vasilii thus became owner of the place, where the wonderworking icon stood in the sentry-hut. Learning about the appearance of the holy icon, Vysochinov made request to transfer the parish church of the village of Artiukhovka to the place of the appearance of the holy icon.

In 1795 a stone church was built, and in 1886 at Vysochinovka was founded a men's monastery, in which was installed the wonderworking icon.

The Venerable Vyshensk Copy of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God: At the time of the 1812 War, whilst fleeing the French, the Moscow nun Mironia Dankova set off to the Tambovsk Ascension monastery. She took with her a Kazan Icon -- given her in parental blessing. Along the way the coachman intended to murder Mironia. Mironia turned to the Mother of God, and from the Icon resounded the Voice: "Fear not, I am thine Mediatrix". The coachman suddenly went blind and only after repenting did he regain his sight.

Mironia kept the icon with her in her cell. Before her death she bequeathed it to the Vyshensk monastery, whither the icon was transported on 7 March 1827. Here many a miracle occurred from the holy icon. Sometimes by night they saw a wondrous light, coming from the icon. In 1841 by the intercession of the MostHoly Mother of God the city of Tambov was saved from cholera. In memory of this event the Vyshensk Icon annually was carried in Tambov in church procession.

A Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was given by tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (1645-1676) to the city of Penza at its founding in 1666. Those resorting with faith to this icon always received help in various needs. On the eve of 4 August 1717 during a time of incursion of the Nogai Tatars (the so-called "Kuban pogrom"), when no help remained in saving the city, all the people gathered in the cathedral for vigil, which did not cease the whole night. In the morning they carried out the icon to the fortress ramparts and began to sing an akathist. When the Nogai Tatars came in assault, the face of the Mother of God grew dim and the holy icon repulsed the enemy. During the time of the reading of prayers, in the Tatar camp there ensued confusion, and they fled. At the end of the XIX Century a feastday on 4 August was established to this icon. And in the all-night vigil was put the magnification: "We magnify Thee, O MostHoly Virgin, and thine holy image we do venerate, that by which we art delivered from the horrors of invasion".

© 2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos



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