July 8, 2020

Synaxis of the Tambov Icon of the Mother of God

Synaxis of the Icon of the Mother of God of Tambov
(Feast Day - July 8)

The Annals of Tambov state that the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was in the Transfiguration Cathedral of Tambov from the first years of the city’s existence (it had been founded in 1636), and it was the main shrine in the region of Tambov. According to the Annals, “on December 6, 1695, during the All Night Vigil in the wooden cathedral church, tears flowed from the eyes of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God.” These tears were so abundant that they moistened the cloth beneath the Icon and the analogion, as well. This was the Icon’s first miracle. Hieromonk Gabriel, the Treasurer of the bishop’s household, recorded this event.

Since then, many who prayed before the Icon began to receive healing, including Saint Pitirim the Bishop of Tambov (+ July 28, 1698) himself. Saint Pitirim had a difficult time when he was first appointed to that See. The moral character of the citizens was very low, and he had to struggle to correct them, especially those who were recent arrivals. Therefore, he placed two Icons on the main gates of the city: one of the Crucifixion, and one of the Kazan Mother of God. This may have happened soon after the appearance of the tears. Many people came to venerate the Icon, entreating the Most Holy Theotokos to help them in their afflictions.

The priests from the Cathedral of the Savior were permitted to bring the Icon from the temple into the private homes of those who were sick so that prayers for their healing could be offered. According to one historian of the nineteenth century, the Icon “visited many houses in the city and outside the city, and dried the tears of many unfortunate people.” (Khitrov, G. Historical and Statistical Description of the Tambov Diocese, Tambov, 1861).

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the icon was placed under glass in a wooden carved frame and it had a silver and gold-plated riza, which was studded with precious stones: turquoise, amethysts, diamonds and topaz. The Cathedral of the Savior was closed in the 1930s, and the shrine was lost.

Since the Icon is of the Kazan type, its date of commemoration is July 8. In the upper church of the cathedral is another Tambov Icon, also known as Utkinskaya, which is an Icon of the Hodēgḗtria type. Its Feast Day is April 16.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ardent intercessor, Mother of the Lord on High, you pray to your Son, Christ our God, for all, and save those who have recourse to your powerful protection. Defend us, O Lady, Queen and holder of sovereign power, when we, burdened with many sins, stand before you in misfortune, sorrow, and sickness, praying to you with tender sensitivity of soul and contrite heart, shedding tears before this, your most pure image, with steadfast hope in you who deliver us from all evils. Grant unto us what is profitable for our souls and save all, O Virgin Theotokos, for you are the divine protection of your servants.