Thursday, July 23, 2009

Icons of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow"


The Mother of God of Pochaev (Feast Day - July 23)

Metropolitan Neophytus, a bishop belonging to the see of Constantinople, was traveling through Volhynia in Ukraine where he was given hospitality by a pious woman, Anna Goyskaya. The bishop gave this woman an icon of the holy Theotokos, which began to work miracles, including the healing of her blind brother. In 1597 the icon was given to the monks residing in Pochaev near the border of Galicia, where the Mother of God had appeared in 1340, leaving an imprint of her footprint in the rock, from which a stream gushed forth. In 1675 when the Lavra of Pochaev was besieged by the Moslem Turks, it was saved by the miraculous intervention of the Mother of God through her wonderworking icon. Even though the Lavra of Pochaev came into Uniate hands for over a century, miracles continued to be worked through the holy icon. Since its return to the Orthodox Catholic Church in 1831, the icon has been a grace-bestowing support for Orthodox Christians, especially those in western Ukraine and the Carpathian region.

As with so many other icons of the Theotokos, wonderworking copies of this icon have been found throughout Orthodox Russia, each with its own history and moving collection of miracles. In this icon, the most holy Mother of God is depicted standing full stature sometimes with, sometimes without the Divine Child in her arms; she is surrounded by all manner of the sick and the suffering, to whom Angels of the Lord bear gifts of mercy, consolation, and suitable aid from the most holy Theotokos. The icon "Joy of All That Sorrow" was inspired by the hymn of the same name. Through one copy of this icon, the sister of Patriarch Joachim was healed at the end of the seventeenth century in Moscow, from which time the feast was established. Another copy of the icon was found in Saint Petersburg; on July 23, 1888, during the severe thunderstorm, lightning struck a chapel at a glass factory, burning the interior walls of the church, but leaving the icon unsinged. From the violent disturbance of the air, the icon was knocked to the floor, the poor-box broke open, and twelve copper coins adhered to the icon in various places; afterwards many miracles were worked by the grace of the holy icon.


Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
They that pray before thy holy icon, O sovereign Lady, are made worthy of healing, receive the gift of understanding of the true Faith, and repel the attacks of the Hagarenes; likewise for us who fall down before thee, do thou ask for forgiveness of our sins. Enlighten our hearts with devout purpose and raise thy prayer to thy Son for the salvation of our souls.

Kontakion in the First Tone
Thine icon of Pochaev, O Theotokos, hath been shown to be a source of healing and a confirmation of the Orthodox Faith. Therefore deliver us who flee to it from danger and temptation; preserve thy Lavra unharmed; strengthen Orthodoxy in the neighbouring lands; and loose thy suppliants from sins; for thou canst do whatsoever thou dost will.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
To God's Birthgiver let us run now most earnestly, we sinners all and wretched ones, and fall prostrate in repentance, calling from the depths of our souls: Lady, come unto our aid, have compassion upon us; hasten thou, for we are lost in a throng of transgressions; turn not thy servants away with empty hands, for thee alone do we have as our only hope.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
We have no other help, we have no other hope, but thee, O sovereign Lady; do thou help us. In thee do we hope, and of thee do we boast, for we are thy servants. Let us not be put to shame.

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