Is there anyway,we could find out where the icon will visit before it goes back to Russia?
Tikhvin Virgin To Return to Russia Next Summer
By Irina Titova FOR SPT
One of the most important Russian Orthodox icons, the Virgin of
Tikhvin, is to be returned to Russia from the United States next
"I hope the return of the icon will become an unforgettable event for
Russia's Orthodox people," Interfax quoted Father Yevfimy, a senior
priest at the Tikhvin Assumption Monastery, located 218 kilometers
east of St. Petersburg and to where the icon will be returned, as
saying at a news conference Tuesday.
In spring of 2003, the U.S. Orthodox church made a landmark decision
to return the icon, taken from Russia during the Second World War,
back to Russia by June 26, the day of national celebration of the
The icon is to be taken on a special flight from Chicago to Moscow,
from where "it will come back to the town of Tikhvin through the
cities of Yaroslavl, Vologda, and St. Petersburg," Father Yevfimy
Sergei Garklavs, church assistant of the American Autocephalous
Church in Chicago, is in charge of the icon and will accompany it on
According to legend, the Tikhvin Virgin was painted by the Apostle
Luke, whose icons are considered the most valuable. It is one of very
few icons believers consider capable of performing miracles.
But in 1383, 70 years before the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the
icon miraculously disappeared from Constantinopole. The legend states
that angels carried it through the sky and it suddenly appeared over
the waters of Lake Ladoga, not far from the Valaam Islands in today's
The Tikhvin icon was one of the most worshipped Russian Orthodox
icons along with the icons of the Virgins of Vladimir, Smolensk,
Iversk and Kazan. It was considered a defender of Russia's northwest
Its reputed miracles are numerous and include healing the sick, and
helping to get rid of troubles.
On several occasions in the 14th century the icon is said to have
transported itself around the Tikhvin area, hanging in the air and
attracting many believers to pray in front of it. Churches were later
built at the places where it was said to have appeared.
On July 9, 1383 the icon is said to have appeared above the River
Tikhvinka. Many people and priests went there to see it and to pray.
As they prayed the icon descended into the hands of the priests.
Since people thought it was a sign from the Virgin Mary that she
wanted to have the icon kept at that place, they started builiding
the church there.
However, the next day the icon was found on the other side of the
river, and this became what would have been the final resting place
for the icon and is today the site of the Tikhvin Virgin Assumption
The monastery played a key role in developing the spot into a city
because many traders and craftsmen were attracted to it by the
The icon was so famous that in 1547 Tsar Ivan the Terrible came to
pay his respects to the sacred object, and in 1560 he gave permission
for the construction of the Tikhvin Assumption monastery.
During World War II, Tikhvin was occupied by German troops for a
month. The icon was found in the Assumption Cathedral, where services
had ceased under Communist rule, and was taken to Pskov. In 1944,
monks took the icon to Riga.
They gave the icon to Bishop John Garklavs, who headed the diocese at
that time. After the war John fled the return of the Soviets and went
to the United States, taking the icon with him. Later he received the
title of Archbishop.
Archbishop John adopted Sergei Garklavs, who is now aged 75, and
asked him in his will to return the icon to the Tikhvin monastery if
The monastery has been revived, so the icon is to come back. In the
monastery it is to be placed in a specially reinforced case, and it
will be protected by guards.
"The return of the Tikhvin Virgin icon will be a very big event for
the Russian Orthodox church and its believers," said Gennady Bartov,
spokesman for the St. Petersburg Diocese Board.
Father Serafim, representative of Russian Orthodox Church in New
York, said in a telephone intervew from the United States that the
Russian Orthodox Church Overseas applauded the decision of taking the
icon back to Russia.
"The main purpose of Russian immigration here is not just to keep the
language, culture and belief but also to take part in the revival of
church and belief in Russia, and do what we can," Father Serafim said.
Before the icon leaves for Russia, it will visit various Orthodox
cathedrals in the United States.
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