Tikhvin, Russia, July 10, 2018
His Eminence Metropolitan Barsanuphius of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, the Chancellor of the Russian Orthodox Church, celebrated a festive Divine Liturgy at the Holy Dormition-Tikhvin Monastery yesterday in honor of the 635th anniversary of the appearance of the miraculous Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God.
The Liturgy was served on a special dais under a canopy in front of the monastery’s Dormition Cathedral, reports the site of the Synodal Department for Monasteries and Monasticism.
His Eminence was concelebrated by His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Markell of Tsarskoe Selo, Nazary of Kronstadt, Mitrophan of Gatchina, Ignaty of Armavir and Labinsk, the abbot of the monastery Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin and Lodeinoe Pole with the brethren, and clergy of the St. Petersburg and Tikhvin Dioceses.
The abbesses and nuns of the monasteries of the metropolitanate were also present, worshiping at the service.
The wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God was carried out from the cathedral and installed in the canopy, and a moleben was also celebrated before it.
Metropolitan Barsanuphius conveyed the congratulations with the feast of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to the gathered faithful and delivered a homily.
The monastery was presented with a Gospel book and Bp. Mstislav was given an episcopal Panagia. The head of the monastery then thanked Met. Barsanuphius for the joint prayer and noted that participants in the 125-mile “Way of the Theotokos” cross procession, including Americans, from where the Tikhvin Icon had returned to Russia 14 years ago, had joined in the Divine service that day.
“The Way of the Theotokos” procession made its way to the various places of the appearance of the Tikhvin Icon from June 30 to July 9.
A congratulatory address from Governor of the Leningrad Governorate Alexander Drozdenko was read out at the end of the service.
According to ancient tradition, the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God is one of several painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. In the fifth century, the icon was taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople, where it was enshrined in the Church of Blachernae, which was built especially for this purpose. In 1383, seventy years before the fall of Constantinople, fishermen on Lake Ladoga in the principality of Novgorod in northern Russia witnessed the icon miraculously hovering over the lake’s waters amidst a radiant light. Shortly thereafter, the icon appeared in several neighboring towns, including the village of Motchenitsy on the bank of the Tikhvinka River, before it finally appeared near the town of Tikhvin. A wooden church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God was built on the site. In 1560, by order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, a men’s monastery was established near the church. Over the centuries, the icon’s fame spread far and wide, with copies of the original adorning countless churches throughout Russia and beyond.
During the World War II German occupation, the Nazis removed the icon from the Tikhvin Monastery, from whence it was taken to Pskov and subsequently to Riga, Latvia. When Riga was evacuated, His Grace, Bishop John [Garklavs] of Riga—later Archbishop of Chicago and Minneapolis—in whose care the icon was placed, took the icon to Bavaria, where it was venerated by Orthodox faithful who had been displaced because of the war. While Soviet agents had spotted the icon, Bishop John was permitted to take the icon to the US in 1949, where it was venerated for many years at Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. After Archbishop John’s repose in 1982, Archpriest Sergei Garklavs, his adopted son and Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, became the icon’s guardian. In July 2004, the icon was returned to Russia and once again enshrined in the Tikhvin Monastery.
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