Pochaev Icon of the Holy Theotokos

The miraculous appearance of the Mother of God at Pochaev which saved the monastery from the assault of the Tartars

Commemorated July 23 / August 5

Kiev's Great Prince St Vladimir founded an episcopal see and built a church in honor of the Dormition of the Mother of God, in the city of Vladimir-Volhyn. The province of Volinsk became the center of the western boundary lands and to this day finds itself in the thick of the blazing passions of the long-standing conflict between the area's Orthodox and Catholics. Here lies the region around Mount Pochaev.

From the earliest times monks have loved the thickly forested Mount Pochaev, with its many caves. When the Tartar-Mongol hordes fell upon Rus', monks from the Kiev-Caves Lavra made their way here. In those years on the mount appeared the Mother of God in 1675 to save the monastery at Pochaev.

According to the Prologue of Ochrid, the Theotokos first appeared in Pochaev to two monks who were living the ascetic life in a cave in about the year 1340. The first monk saw a pillar as of fire stretching from earth to heaven. In this pillar he saw the Mother of God. She stepped on a rock, and as if it were soft wax, an imprint of her foot remained. From this indentation sprang up a fount of healing water that today gives healing to many of the sick.

Also commemorated today is the Pochaev Icon of the Theotokos.

It was brought in 1559 to Volhynia on the western border of Rus' by a Greek metropolitan traveling from Constantinople. He was the guest of a well-to-do pious woman, Anna Goiskaya, to whom he left the icon as a blessing. When in 1597 her brother Philip was healed of his lameness, Goiskaya presented the icon to the monks of the nearby Pochaev monastery which she financially supported.

Numerous and varied miracles have been recorded in connection with this icon. An exact copy of the Icon in its star-shaped bejewelled frame is found today in Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville) where the feast day of the Icon is marked with a special joyous and solemn celebration.

While the monks of the St Job of Pochaev brotherhood at Jordanville NY most certainly commemorated the Pochaev Icon and the miraculous appearance today, if we were in church today we might have commemorated the Martyrs Trophimus, Theophilus, and 13 others who were put to death in Lycia at the beginning of the 4th century because they would in no way deny Christ nor offer sacrifice to idols. Put to many tortures, they were eventually thrown into the flames in which the power of God kept them unharmed. After being taken from the fire they were beheaded.

The Russian Typikon calls for these saints to be commemorated, but there is latitude for variation. The services for the martyrs can be read on another day when the Icon is commemorated on this day.

Glory to God.

Date: Fri, 5 Aug 1994 List:Orthodox Christianity Rev dcn mark gilstrap http://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9408a&L=orthodox&F=&S=&P=19788

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