Icon of the Mother of God “Albazinskaya” Word flesh byst

Icon of the Mother of God “Albazinskaya” Word flesh byst

Celebration: March 22
The Albaza icon of the Mother of God “The Word of Flesh was” is a precious shrine, especially valuable for the Amur region. Its name comes from the city of Albazin, which is located on the Amur River and was founded in 1650 by the famous Russian traveler ataman Yerofey Khabarov on the site of the settlement of the Dagur Prince Albaza. Albazinsky prison, towering high above the Amur River, became the object of aggression of the Chinese Bogdykhan and his troops, who even then sought to expand their power to the whole of Siberia. On March 24, 1652, on the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation, the first military skirmish between the Russians and the Chinese took place on the Amur River. Thanks to the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos, the pagan troops were defeated and pushed back to their possessions. This victory foreshadowed a prosperous future for the Russians. However, the difficult tests were just beginning. Many sons of Russia had to go through fire and water, defending the Amur land and the triumph of Orthodoxy in the Far East. In June 1658, the Albaza detachment under the command of Onufriy Stepanov, consisting of 270 Cossacks, was ambushed and heroically died in a battle with the Chinese. The enemy burned Albazin, ravaged Russian lands and sent the local population to China with the hope of turning the fertile land into a desert. In these difficult times, the Most Holy Mother of God performed a special miracle of mercy for the Amur land. In 1665, when the Russians restored Albazin, Elder Hermogenes from the Holy Trinity Monastery in Kirensk brought to the Amur the miraculous icon of the Mother of God “The Word of Flesh was”, which has since been called Albazinsky. In 1671, this blessed elder founded a monastery in the Brusyan Kamen tract, just one and a half kilometers from Albazin on the Amur, and the holy icon stayed in it in subsequent years. Albazin was restored, and two churches, the Ascension of the Lord and St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, raised prayers on the altars of the city. The Spassky Monastery was also founded not far from the city, up the Amur River. The fertile land provided crops for the whole of Eastern Siberia, and the local population peacefully integrated into Russian Orthodox culture, becoming part of the multinational Russian state and finding protection from aggressive Chinese feudal lords. In Moscow, they did not forget about the distant Amur lands, strengthened military defenses and improved the management of this region. In 1682, the Albaza Voivodeship was created. The spiritual pastoral care of local tribes was also provided. In 1681, the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to send “spiritual people, such as archimandrites, hegumens or priests, who are good and educated, to enlighten pagans in the Christian faith” to distant cities, to the Lena and Amur Rivers. The Daurians and Tunguses were baptized en masse, and the conversion of the Daurian Prince Gantimur to Orthodoxy, as well as the baptism of his sons Peter and Paul, played a significant role. At this time, Bogdychan’s servants were preparing for a new aggression. After several unsuccessful raid attempts, on July 10, 1685, they approached Albazin with an army of 15,000 men and surrounded the fortress. There were only 450 Russian soldiers and 3 cannons in the fortress. The first Chinese attack was repulsed. However, they then surrounded the wooden walls of the prison with brushwood and firewood, and set them on fire. This made it impossible for the Russians to continue their defense. With icons and shrines, including the miraculous Albaza icon, the garrison led by soldiers left the fortress in battle order. This miraculous icon, along with other shrines, was in the middle of a live bonfire. The flames didn’t damage it or burn it. Instead, it shone with light and filled the army with hope for the future. Albazin Cossacks and monks believed that this was a miraculous sign from the Most Holy Theotokos. After the surrender of the fortress of Albazin, the Russians were forced to leave this place. They continued their journey to the east, defending their faith and culture. The Albaza icon, as a symbol of hope and faith, remained with them, despite all the difficulties and trials. Today, the Albaza icon of the Mother of God “The Word of Flesh was” represents the spiritual heritage and faith of the Amur people. It reminds us of past trials and how faith in miracles and God’s mercy can overcome the most difficult times. The shrine remains a symbol of hope and blessing for all who venerate it, and inspires to continue the spiritual path, despite any obstacles. However, the Virgin did not leave her chosen city. Soon the scouts brought the news that the Chinese had suddenly and hastily begun to retreat from Albazin, not having had time to implement Bogdykhan’s orders to destroy the Russian fields. This extraordinary display of power occurred on September 8, 1685. The divine intervention of the Heavenly Mother not only drove the enemies from the Russian lands, but also protected the crops that supported the city’s restoration during several harsh winters. On August 20, 1685, the Russians were again seated in Albazin, and the continuation of the defense of this fortress was a necessity. A year later, the long siege of Albazin began, which was called the “Albazin seat”. This event became a heroic page in the history of Russian military valor. Over the course of five months, from July to October, Chinese troops attacked the wooden walls of the Albazin fortifications three times. Arrows and fireballs flew like rain, hiding the city and its defenders in fire and smoke. However, in each of the three battles, the Heavenly Patroness protected the Albazins from deadly blows. By December 1686, recognizing their impotence, the Chinese lifted the siege. Only 150 people remained from 826 defenders. Despite the heroic defense, the Russian forces were not enough to continue the war with Bogdykhan. In August 1690, the last Cossacks, under the command of Vasily Smirennikov, left Albazin. Neither the fortress nor its shrine was handed over to the enemy: the fortifications were destroyed by the Cossacks, and the Albaza icon of the Mother of God was moved to Sretensk, a city on the banks of the Shilka River, a tributary of the Amur. Despite the fall of Albazin, the inhabitants of this city continued their career. The cessation of hostilities helped spread Orthodoxy in the Far East. Many Russian Cossacks and peasants from Albazin and its environs were captured and sent to Beijing. Bogdychan even gave away one of the Buddhist shrines to create an Orthodox church in Sofia, the capital of China. Metropolitan Ignatius of Tobolsk sent antiminsa, myrrh, liturgical books and church vessels to St. Sophia’s Church. In his epistle to the captive priest Maxim, “a preacher of the Holy Gospel in the Kingdom of China,” Metropolitan Ignatius wrote :” Do not be discouraged, for the will of God is certain. Your captivity was not in vain and helped to enlighten China with the light of Orthodoxy.” Soon after the preaching of the Gospel, the first baptized Chinese appeared in the Chinese Empire, and the Russian Church continued to take care of new parishioners. Metropolitan Philotheos of Tobolsk, Apostle of Siberia (+1727), sent messages to the Beijing clergy and faithful. In 1715, the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission arrived in Beijing, beginning its work of educating pagans, and continuing to this day. Decades have passed, and a new era of Russian colonization of the Amur region has begun. In 1850, on the feast of the All-merciful Saviour on August 1, under the command of Captain G. I. Nevelsky, the Russian St. Andrew’s flag was raised at the mouth of the Amur River, and the city of Nikolaevsk-on-Amur was founded there. The Governor-General of Eastern Siberia, N. N. Muravyov-Amursky (+1881), and the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Innocent, Archbishop of Kamchatka (+1879, comm. March 31), in whose spiritual care the Amur Region and Primorye were located, jointly managed to populate the left bank of the Amur River with Russian cities, villages and Cossack villages in a few years. Each year brought a new step in the development of this region, in its spiritual enlightenment and improvement. So, in just one summer of 1857, fifteen villages and settlements were created on the banks of the Amur River, including such important settlements as Albazinskaya, built on the site of an ancient fortress, and Innokentievskaya, named after St. Innocent. The same thing happened again in the summer of 1858, when more than thirty new settlements were founded, including the cities of Khabarovsk, Blagoveshchensk and Sofiysk. In May 1858, on the day of St. Nicholas the Saint, Governor-General N. N. Muravyov-Amursky and Archbishop Innokenty of Kamchatka arrived at the Ust-Zeysky Cossack post. It was here, under the supervision of St. Innocent, that the first church in honor of the Annunciation of the Mother of God was erected, and the new city was named Blagoveshchensk in honor of the first victory over the Chinese, which occurred on the feast of the Annunciation in 1652. Also, the name Blagoveshchensk was given in memory of the Church of the Annunciation in Irkutsk, where St. Innocent began his ministry, and also in the hope of the arrival of the” good news ” about the reunification of the Amur Region with the Russian possessions. During their travels to the Amur River, new settlers passing through Sretensk undoubtedly prayed in front of the miraculous Albaza icon, which prays to the Mother of God for the gift of grace and help in the lives of mothers and women in labor. In the summer of 1900, during the” Boxer ” uprising in China, a wave of violence reached the Russian borders, and Chinese troops unexpectedly appeared on the banks of the Amur River in front of the peaceful Blagoveshchensk. For nineteen long days the enemy stood in front of the helpless city, the artillery bombardment did not stop, and the threat of an invasion of the Russian coast was inevitable. Then the habitable Amur, at that time dilapidated, made it easier for the enemy to cross. But at that moment, when the Annunciation Church was filled with divine services, and akathists before the miraculous Albaza icon were constantly rushing, the Protection of the Mother of God again stretched over the city, and thanks to this, the enemy did not dare to cross the Amur. Witnesses of those days even claimed to have seen the Fair Lady walking along the shore, terrifying the enemy and depriving them of the power of destructive attacks. For more than three centuries, the wonderworking Albaza Icon of the Mother of God has guarded the borders of Russia on the Amur River. Orthodox believers honor her as the Patroness of Russian soldiers and the guardian of mothers. Many people pray before the icon, ask for a blessing for pregnant women and during childbirth, hoping for the generous gifts of the Mother of God, which she, in Her infinite mercy, bestows from the source of Her inexhaustible grace. Over the years, the veneration of the Albaza Icon of the Mother of God continued to strengthen. In 1885, Bishop Guriy of Kamchatka made important changes, establishing an annual celebration of the icon on March 9 and a weekly reading of the akathist with prayer singing in its honor. History testifies to the repeated supernatural protection of the Amur region and Russia as a whole since its appearance. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion in China, the icon again played a crucial role in saving the Russian land from the enemy threat.

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