Arsaki, Vladimir Province, September 11, 2020
On August 21, a beautiful icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, lost during Soviet times, finally returned to its home at the Smolensk Zosima Hermitage in the Vladimir Metropolia.
The icon was initially given for preservation to the monastery in 1911 before its closure during Soviet times. Wishing to preserve its sacred items from desecration, the monks of the monastery distributed the icons in their cells to pious laypeople in the surrounding villages. Presumably, this fate also befell the Queen of Heaven icon, now returned to the monastery, reports the monastery website.
“For us, the return of every sacred treasure like this is very joyful, and we feel a living continuity with those who founded and adorned Zosima Hermitage by their labors and prayers,” the brethren write.
The inhabitants of the Zosima Hermitage are currently working to expand the monastery museum, which houses numerous sacred objects, ancient printed books, coins, and other artifacts. The brothers are also working on an exhibition dedicated to the revival and modern life of the monastery, which was built in the 18th century and experienced a spiritual flourishing in the early 20th century.
The Zosima Hermitage was visited many times by Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna and other ascetics of that time. St. Zosima and St. German (Gomzin) labored in the hermitage, which is also home to the incorruptible relics of three saints and a large number of particles of holy relics of various saints.
The monastery was also recently blessed to receive a piece of rock from Golgotha, where our Lord was crucified, and a piece of the Oak of Mamre, where the Lord appeared to the Patriarch Abraham.