September 11, 2019

Synaxis of the Kaplunovka Icon of the Kazan Mother of God

Synaxis of the Kaplunovka Icon of the Kazan Mother of God
(Feast Day - September 11)

In 1688, Colonel Ivan Ivanovich Perekrest built a church in Kaplunovka in honor of the Nativity of the Theotokos, and the first priest in it was John Ilyich Umanov († 1713), a native of Poland. One night, during a wondrous appearance in a dream of the Mother of God to the priest John Umanov, she told him: "Three days from now, three icon painters will come to you from Moscow, one 60 years old, another 80 years old, and the third 90 years old; remove the seven icons from the eldest of them and take the eighth - the Kazan icon of the Mother of God, and behold the grace." According to legend, this happened on September 8, 1689, the feast day of the church - the Nativity of the Theotokos.

Indeed, on the third day, the priest, returning home from the church, met three wanderers, whom he invited to his place. Seeing a bunch of icons, the priest urged the old man to give him the eighth icon, which turned out to be a copy of the Kazan Mother of God, as was foreshadowed to him in the dream. The elder gave the icon without taking the 15 kopecks offered for it. This icon remained in the priest’s house for two weeks, and in the third week, on the night of Saturday to Sunday, the priest had a second dream: the Mother of God with extraordinary beauty appeared to him, telling him: “Priest John, do not keep me in your temple, take me to the temple of God." The priest did so.

The newly appeared icon began to attract numerous pilgrims to Kaplunovka. The news of her reached Moscow, too, and Peter the Great found out about her. As a sign of reverence for this shrine, the temple was presented with the holy Gospel of 1699, in a silver frame.

When Charles XII was approaching Sloboda Ukraine (a region of Ukraine that was part of the Russian state), the diocesan authorities ordered the miraculous icon of Kaplunovka to be transferred to Kharkov as a safer place. The Swedish king Charles XII, entering Kaplunovka, stopped at the house of the priest John Umanov, who at that time was in Kharkov with the miraculous icon. The warriors of Charles ravaged the village and wanted to burn the church, but all their efforts were in vain. Three times they tried to burn the temple, but could not do anything. This really surprised Charles, who asked Mazepa, who was with him, about the reason for this strange phenomenon. To this, Mazepa replied: "The temple here is famous for the miracles of the icon of the Mother of God." King Charles XII ordered to find someone to question about this icon, and find out where Tsar Peter is. Near the village they found a shepherd Grigory Zhuravlya and was led to the Swedish king.

“Where is Tsar Peter?” Charles XII asked him. The shepherd replied: "According to rumors, in Kharkov."

"And where is your icon?" Charles XII asked him. The shepherd replied: "By order of the authorities, taken by the priest to Kharkov."

Then Charles, turning to Mazepa, said: “Look, if we could not burn churches without an icon, then where the icon itself will be present, we have little hope of success.” All this information is contained in the description of the phenomenon and miracles of the holy icon of Kaplunovka, compiled in 1744 at the Kharkov Academy (at the Kharkov College) among many other miracles associated with this wonderful image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This sign, revealed by the Kaplunovka icon, quickly spread among the Russian soldiers, which is why Peter the Great decided to take the icon to the troops. This shrine would cause special enthusiasm in the Russian troops and strengthen their courage in the battle for the honor of the Fatherland. On the eve of the Poltava battle, the icon was venerated by the army and blessed the kneeling soldiers. It is known that Peter repeatedly prayed before this miraculous icon on the eve of the Poltava battle, asking for blessings and victories. The priest John Umanov was with the icon all this time, he was also near Poltava during the battle, and later he was invited to Moscow, where he lived for some time until his return to Kaplunovka with rich gifts for the icon and the church. Peter the Great brought as a gift to the temple in Kaplunovka a silver gilded robe of artwork and an ark for the icon. The following inscription was carved on the bottom plank of the ark: "In this ark, Emperor Peter I, after the end of 1709 battle with Charles XII near Poltava, sent back the miraculous image of the Mother of God to Kaplunovka." The son, grandson and great-grandson of the priest John Umanov were also priests at this church, and his more distant descendant, Vladimir Vasilievich Umanov-Kaplunovsky, born in 1865, was a writer.

The Kaplunovka icon of the Mother of God as a partner in the Battle of Poltava was especially honored on the day of this great victory - June 27, which in past centuries was solemnly celebrated with religious processions, solemn services and funeral services for heroic soldiers who laid down their lives for the Fatherland. The celebration of the Theotokos in honor of her wonderworking Kaplunovka Icon was established in the year 1766.

In Soviet times, in 1929 the temple was closed and, unfortunately, after the Great Patriotic War it was dismantled. Now the temple has been restored through the efforts of an amazing woman - librarian Alexandra Ivanovna Guk. For many years she collected evidence of the icon and sought permission to restore the church. On December 29, 1999, a former church gatehouse converted into a temple opened its doors to believers. The church was painted by the daughter of Alexandra Guk - artist Valentina Vasilenko. Priest Vasily Ivanovich Gromov has been serving in it from the day of its opening.