April 18, 2018

Synaxis of the Maximov Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Maximov Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day - April 18)

The Maximov Icon of the Mother of God was painted in the year 1299 following her appearance to Saint Maximus, Metropolitan of Vladimir (Dec. 6). A description of this vision was inscribed on the left side of his crypt. The icon shows the Mother of God in full stature with the Christ Child in her left hand. With her right hand, she offers Metropolitan Maximus (depicted on his knees, or sometimes standing) a bishop’s omophorion.

The Mother of God appeared to Saint Maximus, a Greek, when he arrived in Vladimir from Kiev. In the vision, she gave the omophorion to him saying, “My servant Maximus, it is good that you have come to visit my city. Take this omophorion and feed with words the sheep in my city.” When the Saint awoke, the omophorion lay in his hands. He then ordered for the image to be painted as he saw it.

The appearance of the Mother of God was a sign of approval for the transfer of the Metropolitan See from Kiev to Vladimir. Thus he became known as the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia. The icon itself became a source of many miracles.

One of the most striking miracles was as follows. The son of an official in Vladimir fell seriously ill. His parents first sought medical aid to help their son, but when this failed and his health was decreasing they turned to the Mother of God. They set up the Maximov Icon in their house and a public prayer service to take place there. At the completion of the service, the icon was brought to the boy to venerate it. Immediately the boy felt better and recovered.

The omophorion given by the Mother of God was preserved at the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir for 112 years. In 1412, during an incursion of the Tatars, the omophorion was hidden by the cathedral’s sacristan Patrick. Tortured to reveal the hiding place of the treasures, the sacristan refused, and was killed. Unfortunately the secret of its location died with him.

The Maximov Icon today is kept in the Vladimir-Suzdal Historical, Artistic and Architectural Museum-Reserve in Vladimir, Russia.