Homily on the Feast of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

Dear brothers and sisters! The Vladimir icon of the Mother of God was, according to Church Tradition, painted by the evangelist Luke on a board from the table at which the Savior ate together with His Most Pure Mother and Righteous Joseph. When the Mother of God saw this image she pronounced the words: “From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. May the grace of Him Who was born from me, and mine, be with this icon.”

In 1131 the icon was sent to Rus’ from Constantinople, to the holy Prince Mstislav, and was placed in the convent in Vyshgorod—an ancient town under the rule of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Grand Princess Olga.

Prince Yuri Dolgoruki’s1 son, Andrei Bogoliubsky, brought the icon in 1155 to the city of Vladimir and placed it in the famous Dormition Cathedral, which he had built. From that time on, the icon received the name, “Vladimir icon”.

In 1395, the icon was first brought to Moscow. Thus, through the blessing of the Mother of God were the spiritual ties strengthened between Byzantium and Rus’—through Kiev, Vladimir, and Moscow.

The Vladimir icon is is celebrated several times a year (May 21/June 3, June 23/July 6, and August 26/September 8). The main celebration is on August 26/September 8, which was established in honor of the meeting of the Vladimir icon, when it was brought to Moscow. In 1395, the terrible warrior Khan Tamerlane had reached the boundaries of Ryazan, taken the town of Elets, and was headed for Moscow, approaching the banks of the Don River. Grand Prince Vasily Dmitrievch came out with his forces to Kolomna and stopped at the banks of the Oka River. He prayed fervently to the holy hierarchs of Moscow Peter and Alexis, and to St. Sergius of Radonezh that his fatherland be saved, and he wrote to the holy Metropolitan Cyprian of Moscow asking that the Dormition fast be dedicated to fervent prayers for mercy and repentance. Clergy were sent to Vladimir, where the glorious and miraculous icon was kept. After the Liturgy and a moleben on the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, the clergy received the icon and processed with it to Moscow. A numberless multitude of people stood on their knees on either side of the road, praying, “Mother of God, save the Russian land.” In that same hour, when the people of Moscow met the icon on Kuchkovo Field, Tamerlane was sleeping in his tent. Suddenly he saw in a dream a great mountain, and from its peak two holy hierarchs with golden staffs came down to him; above them in a radiant light appeared a magnificent Lady. She commanded him to depart from the borders of Russia. When Tamerlane awoke trembling from his dream, he asked about the meaning of this vision. Those who knew answered that the radiant Lady is the Mother of God, the great Protectress of Christians. Then Tamerlane ordered his troops to turn back. In memory of this miraculous deliverance of the Russian land from Tamerlane, the Sretensky (“Meeting”) Monastery was built on Kuchkovo Field, where the icon had been met, and August 26 was established as an all-Russian feast day in honor of the meeting of the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God. The most important events in the history of the Russian Church took place before the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God: the election and enthronement of St. Jonah, primate of the autocephalous Russian Church, St. Job, first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; as well as His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon (Belavin). On the day of the celebration in honor of the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God, His Holiness Patriarch Pimen was enthroned—June 3, 1971.

Dear brothers and sisters, in glorifying the Heavenly Queen for this great holy icon given to us—the miracle-working Vladimir icon, let us be faithful children of the Holy Orthodox Church; let us fervently honor her holy icon and pray to her. Then no sorrow of this world can destroy the peace and calm of our souls, and no sadness will be able to deprive us of heavenly joy. Amen.

From: Archimandrite Ilya (Reizmir), Sermons. 2nd edition, 2016.

Archimandrite Ilya (Reyzmir)
Translation by OrthoChristian.com

Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra


1 Prince Dolgoruki of Kievan Rus’ is considered the founder of Moscow.—OC.

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