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Fw: 2002.05.21 OCA: Wonderworking Pochaev Icon To Be Venerated At Pilgrimage

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  • VRev Christopher Calin
    Wonderworking Pochaev Icon To Be Venerated At Pilgrimage Wonderworking Pochaev Icon To Be Venerated At Pilgrimage SOUTH CANAAN, PA -- For the first time in
    Message 1 of 1 , May 22, 2002
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      Wonderworking Pochaev Icon To Be Venerated At Pilgrimage

      Wonderworking Pochaev Icon To Be Venerated At Pilgrimage

      SOUTH CANAAN, PA -- For the first time in history, Orthodox Christian
      faithful from across North America will have an opportunity to
      venerate the wonderworking icon of Our Lady of Pochaev during the
      annual Pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon Monastery here May 24-27, 2002.

      "The Pochaev icon of the Mother of God is one of the most venerated
      by Orthodox Christians, especially in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and
      the Balkans," says the Very Rev. Alexander Golubov, Academic Dean of
      Saint Tikhon Seminary. "Permanently housed in the Pochaev Monastery
      of the Dormition of the Theotokos in southwest Ukraine, the icon is
      widely renown for healings of the sick and other miracles."

      The icon arrived at New York's Kennedy Airport on Monday evening, May
      20, accompanied by Heguman Laurus and Hierodeacon Serapion from the
      Pochaev Monastery. The Very Rev. David Brum, Secretary to His
      Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius and Mr. Alexis Liberovsky,
      Archivist of the Orthodox Church in America, accompanied by the Very
      Revs. Sergei Glagolev and Basil Summer, met the delegation which
      accompanied the icon, which was immediately taken to Saint Sergius
      Chapel at the OCA Chancery in Syosset, NY.

      On Tuesday morning, May 21, Metropolitan Theodosius celebrated a
      Service of Thanksgiving before the icon in Saint Sergius Chapel.
      Members of the Chancery staff and numerous clergy from the area
      venerated the icon after the service.

      On Friday, May 24, at 2:30 p.m., Metropolitan Theodosius and the
      members of the Holy Synod of Bishops will lead the faithful in
      welcoming the icon as it arrives at Saint Tikhon Monastery. The icon
      will then be taken in procession to the monastery church, where the
      Akathistos Hymn will be chanted.

      The icon will be available for veneration throughout the four-day
      pilgrimage, after which it will be returned to its home in Ukraine.

      A related article on the history of the icon of Our Lady of Pochaev,
      written by Father Golubov, may be found on the OCA web site at

      The Pochaev Icon Of The Mother Of God: Historical Notes

      by the Very Rev. Alexander Golubov
      Academic Dean, Saint Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary

      The Pochaev icon of the Mother of God is one of the most venerated by
      Orthodox Christians, especially in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and the
      Balkans. Permanently housed in the Pochaev Monastery of the Dormition
      of the Theotokos in southwest Ukraine, the icon is widely renown for
      healings of the sick and other miracles. The image, written in
      tempera in the Byzantine style and measuring approximately 13 inches
      by 10.5 inches, depicts the Mother of God tenderly inclining her head
      toward her Son, Whom she holds on her right hand. In her left hand,
      she holds a napkin, with which she covers the feet of the divine
      infant. Jesus is depicted imparting a blessing to those for whom He
      is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." On both sides and on the lower
      part of the icon are miniature images of seven saints. On the right,
      the Prophet Elias and, below him, the Martyr Menas, are depicted,
      while the Protomartyr Stephen and the Venerable Avraamius are
      featured on the left. Across the bottom of the icon one finds images
      of the Great Martyr Catherine and the martyrs Parasceve and Irene.

      There are no written records of the establishment and early history
      of the Pochaev Monastery. In accordance with local historical
      tradition, however, the beautiful sub-Carpathian wilderness where the
      monastery is situated was first settled by several disciples of Saint
      Methodius, Enlightener of the Slavs [+855 AD], towards the end of the
      ninth century. Several centuries later, during the Mongol invasion of
      Russia, two monks from the Kiev Caves Monastery settled in the area
      after the Mongols had sacked their city. The monks, it is said, named
      their new abode after the river Pochaina, which flowed near the Kiev

      According to tradition, around the year 1340 AD, one of the monks
      ascended the summit of Mount Pochaev to pray, when suddenly he beheld
      a pillar of fire burning in the wilderness. Calling out to the other
      monk to join him, he stood in prayer. The fire was seen also by some
      shepherds who were tending flocks in the area, among them Ivan Bosoi
      ["the barefoot"], who joined the monks in prayer. They beheld,
      surrounded by the flames and standing on a rock, the Most Holy
      Theotokos, the Mother of God. When the apparition finally
      disappeared, they saw that the place where the Theotokos had been
      standing had melted, leaving the imprint of her right foot embedded
      in the rock. Welling up over the footprint was a spring of clear

      First written traces of monastic life on Mount Pochaev are found in
      unofficial 16th century documents of Polish kings Sigismund I and
      Sigismund II Augustus, which refer to "a monastery of the Greek Rite
      at the Pochaev mount," already "very old and famous." From the
      so-called "Fundushnaia Gramota" ["Writ of Endowment"] given to the
      monastery in 1597 AD by the Orthodox noblewoman Anna Goiskaya, the
      widow of a local public justice, Basil Goisky, as well as from the
      vita of the venerable Saint Job of Pochaev [born 1571?], Abbot of the
      Pochaev Monastery from 1596 until 1651, we learn other important
      details. In 1559, when on the behest of the Patriarch the Greek
      Metropolitan Neophyte came to Russia in search of financial support
      for the Church of Constantinople, he brought with him an ancient
      Byzantine icon of the Mother of God. On his way home from Moscow,
      Metropolitan Neophyte traveled to Volhyn, where he accepted the
      invitation of Anna Goiskaya to enjoy her hospitality in her castle in
      Orel, not far from Pochaev. In gratitude for her generosity, as a
      blessing to Anna, Metropolitan Neophyte left with her the icon that
      he had brought from Constantinople.

      Anna first placed the icon in her private chapel, where it remained
      for thirty-odd years. Over those years, however, the servants began
      to notice that at times the icon shone with a mysterious light, and
      had started to manifest miracles. Anna herself was prone to
      disbelieve the stories of her servants until she saw the icon
      emanating a bright radiant light. Among those who received healing
      from the icon was Anna's own brother, Philip, who had been blind from
      birth. After praying before the icon on the advice of his sister, he
      miraculously recovered his sight.

      In 1597, Anna Goiskaya gave the miraculous icon as a gift to the
      Pochaev Monastery, now headed by the venerable Saint Job as Abbot,
      and richly endowed the monastery with lands and substantial material
      support. To house the holy icon, under Saint Job's guidance a stone
      church in honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos was specially
      erected, which Goiskaya herself lavishly furnished with all necessary
      materials and appointments. After the death of Anna Goiskaya, her
      heir, a nephew who in the Reformation had converted to Lutheranism,
      plundered the Pochaev Monastery and took the icon home. Expressing
      his disdain for the holy image, he engaged in travesties of Orthodox
      services, during which he dressed his wife in priestly vestments
      while she shrieked insults at the icon. For this she was severely
      chastised by demonic torment. The poor woman's sufferings stopped
      only when she finally returned the sacred image to its rightful place
      in the monastery.

      In 1675, Moslem Turks invaded the area and laid siege to the
      monastery. In response, the monks, together with the people who
      sought shelter in the monastery, began to sing the Akathistos Hymn
      before the Pochaev icon, supplicating the assistance and protection
      of the Mother of God. To the astonishment of the Turks, a vision
      appeared above Pochaev, in which they beheld the Most Holy Virgin, in
      brilliant and shining radiance, accompanied by Saint Job. The radiant
      Virgin was holding her protective veil over the monastery and was
      surrounded by a host of angels dressed for battle, with drawn swords.
      The invaders tried to repel the angelic host by shooting thousands of
      arrows into the air, but the arrows fell back, killing the men who
      had shot them. The Turks lifted the siege and fled in terror.

      For almost 100 years in the 18th century and early 19th centuries
      [1721-1831], the Pochaev Monastery was in the hands of the Greek
      Catholics. During that time, the majestic three-altar Cathedral of
      the Dormition was built [1771-1783] by count Nicholas Potocki, and
      the icon was transferred there in 1791. In 1831, the Pochaev
      Monastery was once again returned to the Orthodox Christians. Two
      years later, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church elevated
      the monastery to the rank of a "Lavra," equating it in religious
      stature with the Kievan Caves Lavra in Kiev, the Holy Trinity-Saint
      Sergius Lavra near Moscow, and notably, the Saint Alexander Nevsky
      Lavra in St. Petersburg, whose particular singing and reading
      traditions were adopted in Pochaev. In 1869, the icon was covered
      with a metallic gilded "riza" studded with precious stones and
      encased in a star-shaped frame, the rays of which are inlaid with
      pearls and diamonds.

      The flow of miracles from the icon continues to our own day. To
      accommodate the many thousands of pilgrims who arrive in Pochaev to
      pray to the Mother of God before her miracle-working image, the
      Pochaev icon is carried in festive processions for the feasts of the
      Dormition and the Nativity of the Mother of God, as well as in
      commemoration of the Most Holy Virgin's protection of the monastery
      from the Turks in 1675. There are approximately 300 extant
      miracle-working copies of the icon of the Pochaev Mother of God.

      © 2002 Orthodox Church in America
      Office of Communication - info@...

      Archpriest Victor Sokolov <rector@...>
      Rector, Holy Trinity Cathedral <http://www.holy-trinity.org>
      San Francisco, CA <http://www.schmemann.org>
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