OCA-Midwest events in honor of 20th anniversary of return of Tikhvin Icon

Chicago, February 12, 2024

Photo: domoca.org Photo: domoca.org     

For 55 years, the wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God was housed and venerated in the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, where it was safe from the godless Soviet authorities. In 2004, it was returned to its home in the Tikhvin Monastery in Russia

The OCA’s Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest is holding a series of events throughout 2024 to mark the 20th anniversary of the icon’s return.

In particular, the event will be celebrated with the travels of the replica Chicago Tikhvin Icon throughout the country, the diocese reports.

The replica was gifted to the diocese by His Grace Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin in November 2016.

Photo: domoca.org Photo: domoca.org The icon will first travel to the Cleveland Deanery on February 22–23. There will be a large celebration at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago, June 25–26.

The diocese relates the history of the Tikhvin Icon:

According to ancient tradition, the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God is one of several painted by St. 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. 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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