Commemorated on July 17
Icon of the Mother of God: In the year 1563, during the times of Ivan the
Terrible, in the environs of Pskov to a native of Voronicha – a fifteen year
old shepherd and fool named Timothy, not far from the stream Lugovitsa, there
appeared with a miraculous shining in the air an "Umilenie"
("Tenderness") icon of the Mother of God. This icon was thereafter
situated in the Voronicha parish church of Saint George. The voice from the
icon announced, that after six years upon this hill would shine forth the grace
In 1569 to this same
youth upon the Sinicha hill, there appeared an Hodegetria icon of the Mother of
God upon a pine-tree. Timothy spent forty days at this place in fasting and
prayer. The miraculous voice from the icon commanded, that the clergy and the
people should come to the Sinicha heights with the Umilenie-Tenderness icon on
the Friday, following the Sunday of All Saints. When the church procession,
made at the command of the Mother of God, reached the hill and began the
molieben, at the time of the reading of the Gospel there suddenly shone a
light, the air was filled with fragrance and everyone saw upon the pine-tree
the Hodegetria icon. Both holy icons, the Hodegetria and the Umilenie, were put
into the church of the GreatMartyr George. From them began many miraculous
signs and healings, about which reports were made to tsar Ivan IV. Through his
ukaz-decree, upon the Sinicha Hill – called from that time the
"Svyata" ("Holy"), there was built a chapel, into which
were transferred the wonderworking icons. But soon, on the feastday of the
Pokrov-Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, when a church procession with
icons was made to Holy Hill, the chapel that night suddenly burned. The fire
destroyed everything else inside, but the holy things remained unharmed.
On this sacred spot
they erected a stone church in honour of the Uspenie-Dormition of the Most Holy
Mother of God, the altar of which was situated on the place where the
Hodegetria icon had appeared. Both glorified icons were placed into the lower
tier of the iconostas: the Hodegetria – on the right side (a chapel in honour
of which was built in 1770), and the Umilenie – on the left (a chapel was
built in 1776).
In that same year of
1569 on Svyata-Holy Hill was founded the Svyatogorsk ("Holy-Hill")
Annually on the 1st
Friday of the Peter and Paul Lent, the icons are conveyed to the Trinity
cathedral of the city of Pskov, and on the following Sunday there is made a
procession with them along the inner walls of the city.
The celebration in
honour of the Umilenie icon is made on 19 March and on the 9th Friday after
Pascha, and in honour of the Hodegetria – on 17 July and on the day of the
Pokrov-Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God (i.e. 1 October).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.