Odessa, Odessa Province, Ukraine, July 24, 2023
Hundreds of Orthodox faithful prayed before the wonderworking Kasperov Icon of the Mother of God yesterday, after the icon was pulled from the rubble of the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Odessa, which was badly damaged in an early morning attack on the city.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church published a video showing a group of parishioners clearing the rubble away from the wonderworking icon:
Later, hundreds of Odessans came to pray before the icon and clean up the cathedral. A moleben was celebrated before the icon by His Eminence Archbishop Diodore of Yuzhne.
According to the UOC, the central altar and office space of the cathedral were completely destroyed during a Russian missile attack on the seaport infrastructure in the city on the Black Sea. The interior decorations and iconography and much of the building were severely damaged. A security guard of the cathedral was injured and had to be hospitalized.
The Holy Transfiguration Cathedral is the largest Orthodox church in Odessa. It was built in the late-18th – early-19th centuries but was destroyed in 1936. The cathedral was rebuilt in the early 2000s.
The Russian Defense Ministry says it’s more likely that the cathedral was hit by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft guided missile, “as a result of incompetent actions of the operators of air defense systems, which the Ukrainian forces deliberately placed in residential areas, including in the city of Odessa,” reports TASS. The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly stated that the Russian armed forces are not attacking civilian targets.
In his condolences, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine calls on the faithful “to be patient and pray,” and not allow their anger to turn into hatred. “Let’s not forget that, no matter how terrible this age may be, in the end, Divine Love will prevail, which neither lies nor violence can destroy,” the Ukrainian primate said.
Photo: pravoslavie.ru The Kasperov Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Tradition says that this holy icon had been brought to Kherson from Transylvania by a Serb at the end of the sixteenth century. Passing down from parent and child, the icon had come to a certain Mrs. Kasperova of Kherson in 1809.
One night in February of 1840 she was praying, seeking consolation in her many sorrows. Looking at the icon of the Virgin, she noticed that the features of the icon, darkened by age, had suddenly become bright. Soon the icon was glorified by many miracles, and people regarded it as wonder-working.
During the Crimean War (1853-1856), the icon was carried in procession through the city of Odessa, which was besieged by enemy forces. On Great and Holy Friday, the city was spared. Since that time, an Akathist has been served before the icon in the Dormition Cathedral of Odessa every Friday.
The icon is painted with oils on a canvas mounted on wood. The Mother of God holds Her Son on her left arm. The Child is holding a scroll. St. John the Baptist (Janurary 7) is depicted on one side of the icon, and St. Tatiana (January 12) on the other. These were probably the patron saints of the original owners of the icon.
The Kasperov Icon is commemorated on October 1, June 29, and Bright Wednesday.