A Homily Delivered at Alexeyevsky Village on the Day of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God

Metropolitan Tryphon (Turkestanov) (November 29, 1861–June 14, 1934), noble-born in Moscow, was a highly respected hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. His carried out his episcopal service in Moscow and the Moscow region. It is notable that this Alexeyevsky “village” is now a densely inhabited region of the city of Moscow, and the church dedicated to the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, where he delivered this sermon, is one of the few Moscow churches that was never closed, even during the time of fierce persecutions against the Church.

The Church of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, Alexeyevsky district, Moscow. Photo: wikipedia.org The Church of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, Alexeyevsky district, Moscow. Photo: wikipedia.org     

I warmly greet you, beloved brothers and sisters, and I am sincerely glad that the Lord has brought me to pray with you on this joyous day of our common feast and to offer the Bloodless Sacrifice for all of you.

Today we celebrate a miracle that was wrought through the prayers the Mother of God several centuries ago. But perhaps some of you might say in your hearts: Yes, indeed, it was a great miracle, but it happened a very long time ago. We would like to hear about such a miracle from the Mother of God that would happen in our days, so that we could say: It happened before our eyes. Because such a miracle would strengthen our faith, and we could say that the Queen of Heaven is with us also...

Dear brothers and sisters, let me briefly tell you about a recent miracle that took place with the “Tenderness” icon of the Mother of God in Rostov. This miracle happened to a poor girl named Elizabeth. It was witnessed and testified to by the local bishop, the highly respected Bishop Joseph. He clearly confirmed that he witnessed and observed it; and finally, it is confirmed by those who saw this girl upon whom the miracle happened.

In Rostov lived a very poor but very devout family. They had an only daughter, a little ten-year-old girl named Elizabeth, whose father was a driver. This girl was very gifted, had excellent abilities, and studied well, which made her parents very happy, as she was their only daughter, their joy. And then, in 1910, just before the Annunciation, something happened to the girl—she came home from the all-night vigil with a fever; it seemed she had caught a cold. Then the pain grew more and more intense, leading to convulsions; the girl was contorted with pain, but had such great strength that several people could not restrain her. She began to foam at the mouth, her eyes became lifeless; in a word, her appearance was terrifying.

You can imagine the grief of her devoted parents upon seeing this misfortune. She stopped studying... And her parents could do nothing but lament, for medical help was ineffective, though she was taken to very experienced doctors in Rostov. Finally, during one of her fits, her father gazed at the icon of the Queen of Heaven, then cried out in desperation, “O Mother of God, our Heavenly Lady! Either take her into Your hands or heal her and give her back to us!”

After these words the girl calmed down, and her parents heard a voice, as if someone else was speaking through her, say, "Pray before the ‘Tenderness’ icon of the Mother of God.”

Her parents were simple people and decided they needed to hold a prayer service before the icon of the Mother of God in the St. James Monastery.

They held the prayer service, sprinkled the girl with holy water, hoping for her healing. But instead she became much worse. She again contorted, her convulsions intensified, she turned black—and again, during one of these fits, a voice said through her lips, “You prayed to the wrong icon; pray to the ‘Tenderness’ icon. This icon is opposite you, in the church.” After this, the girl was carried to her bed. She slept for a long time, and in the evening she suddenly woke up and said, “Stay awake, don't sleep! I will be with you at nine o’clock.” Her parents clearly heard these words. Around nine o’clock, they saw the girl begin to pray, then suddenly look aside, as if following someone leaving, then turn back to the icon and continue praying. She then kissed the floor and exclaimed, “Mother!.. She has left!”

Her parents asked her, “What happened to you?” “Didn't you see how the Queen of Heaven came out of that corner?” the girl replied. “She was in a fiery dress and had a blue veil on her head. When she passed by me, she blessed me but said nothing. Yet I was honored to kiss Her foot. Then the priest, whom the parents had approached two days earlier, knowing that the icon of the Mother of God was behind the altar, advised serving a moleben before this icon. And after the prayer service and sprinkling the girl with holy water, a voice said, “Here is My icon...” When the Gospel was read, the fits began to subside—and from that time on the girl has been completely healthy, joyful, and diligent.

Bishop Joseph says that many seek miracles and cannot find or see them, but this girl did not seek miracles and was honored to witness one.

So, dear brothers, you see that even in our days the Queen of Heaven never forgets us. On the contrary, the more faith, prayer, and love we have for Her, the more often She appears to us in Her miraculous image. Let us not forget the one condition under which we can hope for Her help: She told the apostles, and through them, all of us, that She would help those who believe in Her Son. And She, the Humble One, seeks our virtues; She does not need nobility or wealth, but a gentle, humble, loving heart. She will accept the prayers of all who turns to Her with a pure heart. And be assured, they will surely receive Her help; for She is called our Intercessor, Comforter, and Helper. Help us, O Queen of Heaven, and intercede for us before Your Son, our Lord God!

Metropolitan Tryphon (Turkestanov)
Translation by OrthoChristian.com



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