The Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God

Commemorated on September 1

      The Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God is a copy from the famed Chernigov-Il'insk Icon of the Mother of God, which was to be found at the Trinity Il'insk monastery near Chernigov on Mount Boldina, and where in the XI Century for a certain while the Monk Antonii of Pechersk pursued asceticism. To the description of the miracles from this icon, beginning with 16-24 April 1662, Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov in his book "The Bedewed Fleece" (Oroshennoe Runo) wrote in conclusion: "The end of the booklet, but not of the miracles of the MostHoly Mother of God, since who is it that can count them". The grace-bearing power of this icon is manifest also in its copies.
      The Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God was written in the mid XVIII Century and passed on in 1852 to the Trinity Sergiev Lavra by Alexandra Grigor'evna Philippova, piously having had it for a quarter century. (This icon was passed on to her by the priest Ioann Alekseev, to whom in turn it came from one of the monks of the Trinity Sergiev Lavra.) On the advice of the head of the Lavra, Archimandrite Antonii (+ 1 May 1877), the icon was placed in the newly-consecrated cave church named for the Holy Archistratigos [Leader of the Heavenly Hosts] Michael, which was consecrated on 27 October 1851 by the Metropolitan of Moscow Philaret (+ 19 November 1867), who assumed an active role in the building of the Gethsemane skete-monastery. In such manner, the icon took in the currents of grace of all the history of the Russian Church, it acquired the blessing of the Monk Antonii of Pechersk, of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh and of his parents the schema-monastics Kirill and Maria (+ 1337, a votive liturgy for them with the reading of a special prayer is made on 28 September and on Thursday of the Week of the Publican and Pharisee), and finally, of the ascetics of the XIX Century. These spiritual connections providentially come forth through the Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God.
      It is remarkable, that the first miracle from this icon was witnessed on the day of the Church New Year 1 September 1869, when the 28 year old peasant of Tula governance, Thekla Adrianova, was healed, having been completely crippled constantly for 9 years. Living at the hostel by the caves, and then at the Lavra during the celebration of the Repose of the Monk Sergei (25 September), Thekla recovered completely. Sainted Innocent (Innokentii) the Metropolitan of Moscow (1797-1879, Comm. 23 September and 31 March), learned of the miracle from his daughter the Nun Poliksenia, treasurer of the Borisovsk wilderness monastery. On the feast of the Monk Sergei, he himself met with Thekla and asked her about all the details of the healing. On 26 September 1869 Sainted Innocent arrived at the Gethsemane skete and gave the blessing to make molieben before the glorified icon while he himself prayed with tears.
      By 26 September there had occurred already three graced healings and a whole series of miracles in November of that same year. The fame of the icon of the Mother of God spread with unusual swiftness. Exhausted by suffering and sickness, thirsting for bodily and spiritual healing, people from every class of society came with firm faith to the wonderworking icon, and the mercy of God did not forsake them. Towards the beginning of the XX Century more than 100 miracles were witnessed. By its great esteem the icon benefited the ascetics of the Gethsemane skete: the schema-monk Philip (+ 18 May 1868), the founder of the cave-monastery, and his three sons the priest-schemamonks Ignatii (+ 1900), Porphyrii (+ 1905 ?) and Vasilii (+ 1 April 1915). They preserved accounts about the deep love, which the priestmonk starets (monastic elder) Isidor (+ 3 February 1908) displayed for the Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon.
      The initial celebration of the icon was established on 16 April, on the day when also was the celebration of the Cherigov-Il'insk icon. Afterwards it was transferred to the day of glorification 1 September. At the present time at Trinity-Sergiev Lavra there are venerable copies of the Chernigov-Gethsemane icon within the temple in honour of the Monk Sergei, in the monastery refectory, and in the portico of the Trinity cathedral, written by elders of the Gethsemane skete and the Zosimov wilderness-monastery.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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Chernigov-Gethsemane Icon of the Mother of God

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