Arkhangelsk, August 4, 2015
Arkhangelsk has commemorated the appearance of the Mother of God that occurred in 1919 above the city. A prayer service at the intersection of Novgorod Avenue and Svobody Street was performed by Metropolitan Daniel of Arkhangelsk and Kholmogory with the city clergy concelebrating, reports the diocese’s press service.
Acting governor Igor Orlov, representatives of the regional government, deputy mayor of Arkhangelsk Vladimir Garmashov and other representatives of authority, public, business figures prayed at the service.
“Exactly 96 years ago on this site, children – the purest creatures – saw the Mother of God in the sky. Her apparition marked the protection of the Heavenly Queen over Arkhangelsk in the difficult times that followed. The Red army troops that occupied the city soon after this miracle started destroying the soul of the nation, its faith, culture, tradition. Arkhangelsk was plunged into chaos and darkness and became known as “the city of death”. Everybody was executed by shooting; even teenagers were lined up in ranks and massacred. A street in our city is named after commissar Kedrov. Streets could be named after Hitler and other criminals as well. I believe the time will come when all the streets named in honor of these butchers will be finally renamed,” said the hierarch after the prayer.
As he said, believers often forget the words of Apostle Paul that people have received two gifts: to believe in Christ and to suffer for Him. “Like the Lord, Who came to glory through passions, we should reach the Heavenly Kingdom only through bearing of our cross. After the period of tribulations some time should pass until new, spiritually strong generations come, who will keep Russia, our tradition, culture, faith, our state,” the Metropolitan went on.
It rained during the service. “The people whose bones are here, within the city and outside it, wept through this rain. There are no crosses above their graves, we do not know the exact site of their burial and what they were executed for. They suffered for their faith, their motherland – this is the main thing. Let the installed cross indicate that a church will be built here, and those who lived in Arkhangelsk and beautified the land of the Russian north will be commemorated in it,” Metropolitan Daniel said in conclusion.
The appearance of the Holy Theotokos above Arkhangelsk occurred on Sunday, August 3, 1919, right before the evacuation of the Entente volunteer troops from Arkhangelsk. Seven children aged 10-14 who then were near 135 Novgorod Avenue: Galina and Olga Zelenina, Emilia, Valentina and Viktor Pereshnev, Sergei Popov, Yulia Kiseleva – saw the Holy Virgin in the sky.
The vision of the Theotokos lasted for around half an hour, then the Infant Christ made the sign of the cross over the city and its people and the vision disappeared. The startled children related the miracle to their parents and then to rector of the Church of the Resurrection Archpriest Michael Popov. Fr. Michael informed Bishop Pavel (Pavlovsky) about that miracle. The bishop wrote down: “May the grace of God and intercession of the Holy Theotokos be with us and with our city”. That event was thoroughly investigated, on September 4 a joint meeting of the diocesan and missionary councils was held, and, “The act of appearance of the Mother of God with Christ Child in the sky above Arkhangelsk on August 3, 1919” with a detailed description of the miracle was written. The account of this miraculous event was published in the Arkhangelsk Diocesan Gazette as well.
On February 21, 1920, Arkhangelsk was occupied by the Red army units, and in July of the same year a legal proceeding was brought against Archpriest Michael Popov and the children who had been witnesses of the appearance of the Mother of God. On January 31, 1921, Fr. Michael was sentenced to three years of imprisonment.
Around half a century later, resident of Arkhangelsk Yekaterina Mikhailovna Sintsova-Rozanova, daughter of the priest of the Holy Trinity Cathedral Fr. Michael Sintsov, composed “The Akathist to Our Lady in honor of Her apparition in the city of Arkhangelsk”. In February 1996 she submitted the akathist to abbot of the Holy Trinity-Anthony of Siya Monastery, Archimandrite Tryphon (Plotnikov).
On May 21, 2014, the feast of Ascension of the Lord, Metropolitan Daniel of Arkhangelsk and Kholmogory after the Divine Liturgy at the Arkhangelsk Dormition Church blessed the icon, “The Apparition of the Mother of God in the city of Arkhangelsk in 1919”. The icon was painted by Sergei Kudryavtsev, painter of the iconography studio of Siya. The icon was designed by the Siya masters.
At the present time a plot of land at the intersection of the Novgorod Avenue and Pobedy Street is being registered for construction of the Church in honor of the Appearance of the Mother of God in Arkhangelsk in 1919 on it.