Commemorated on August 26, June 23 and May 21
The Vladimir Icon
of the Mother of God was written by the Evangelist Luke on a board from the
table, at which the Saviour ate together with His All-Pure Mother and Righteous
Joseph. The Mother of God, in seeing this image, exclaimed: "Henceforth
shalt all generations call Me blessed. Let the grace of both My Son and Me
shalt be with this icon".
In the year 1131 the
icon was sent from Constantinople to Rus' to holy Prince Mstislav (+ 1132,
Comm. 15 April) and was installed in the Deviche monastery in Vyshgorod – the
ancient appanage city of holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga.
The son of Yurii
Dolgoruky, Saint Andrei Bogoliubsky, in 1155 brought the icon to the city of
Vladimir and installed it in the reknown Uspenie-Dormition cathedral built by
him. And at this time the icon received its name of "the Vladimir
Icon". And in the year 1395 the icon was first brought to Moscow. Thus the
blessing of the Mother of God tied the spiritual bonds of Byzantium and Rus' –
via Kiev, Vladimir and Moscow.
celebration of the Vladimir Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God occurs several
times during the year (21 May, 23 June, 26 August). The most solemn celebration
occurs on 26 August, – the feast established in honour the Meeting of the
Vladimir Icon upon its Transfer from Vladimir to Moscow. In the year 1395 the
fearsome conqueror khan Tamerlane (Temir-Aksak) reached the Ryazan frontier,
took the city of Elets and advancing towards Moscow he came nigh the banks of
the River Don. Greatprince Vasilii Dimitrievich went with an army to Kolomna
and halted at the banks of the River Oka. He prayed to the Sainted-Hierarchs of
Moscow and the Monk Sergei for the deliverance of the Fatherland, and he wrote
to the Metropolitan of Moscow Saint Kiprian (Comm. 16 September), that the
pending Uspenie-Dormition Fast should be devoted to zealous prayers for mercy
and repentance. Clergy were sent to Vladimir, where the famed wonderworking
Vladimir Icon was situated. After Divine Liturgy and a molieben on the feast of
the Uspenie-Dormition, they clergy took the icon and in a church procession
conveyed it to Moscow. Along the way, on both sides of the road and innumerable
number of people prayed kneeling: "O Mother of God, save the land of
Russia!" And in that selfsame hour, when the people of Moscow were meeting
the Vladimir Icon on Kuchkov Field, Tamerlane was slumbering in his tent.
Suddenly he saw in a dream a great mountain, at the summit of which coming
towards him were the sainted-hierarchs with golden staffs, and over them in a
brilliant radiance shone a Majestic Woman. She commanded him to leave the
domains of Russia. Awakening in fright, Tamerlane asked the meaning of the
apparition. The experts answered that the Radiant Lady was the Mother of God,
the great Protectress of Christians. Tamerlane then gave the order for his troops
to turn around. In memory of this miraculous deliverance of the Russian Land
from Tamerlane on Kuchkov Field, where the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon took
place, they built the Sretensk-Meeting monastery. And on 26 August there was
then established the all-Russian celebration in honour of the Meeting of the
Vladimir Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God.
Very important events
in Russian Church history have occurred in front of the Vladimir Icon of the
Mother of God: the election and elevation of Sainted Jona – Advocate of
Autocephalous Russian Church (1448), and of Sainted Job – first Patriarch of
Moscow and All Russia (1589), and of His Holiness Patriarch Saint Tikhon
(1917). And the enthronement of His Holiness Pimen, Patriarch of Moscow and All
Russia, occurred on a day of celebration in honour of the Vladimir Icon of the
Mother of God – on 21 May (NS 3 June) 1971.
The historical days
of 21 May, 23 June and 26 August, connected with this holy icon, have become
memorable days for the Russian Orthodox Church.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.