Icon of the Mother of God “Czestochowa”

Icon of the Mother of God “Czestochowa”

Days of celebration: February 3
The icon of the Mother of God, known as “Vatopedi”, is located in the ancient Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, in the Church of the Annunciation. The name “Vatopedi” comes from a story related to the fact that the young Tsarevich Arkady landed in the sea from a ship near the monastery, and thanks to the miracle of the Mother of God, he was saved and transferred to the shore unharmed. He was found standing under a bush not far from the monastery. This event was the reason for the name of the monastery “Vatopedi”, which can be translated as “bush of the boy”. The Holy King Theodosius the Great, in gratitude for the salvation of his son, decorated and richly endowed the Vatopedi Monastery. The Vatopedi icon of the Mother of God depicts the Mother of God with her face turned to the right, which recalls the moment when in 807, on January 21, the Mother of God turned her face to the abbot of the monastery, who was praying in front of the holy icon, and warned him about the robbers ‘ plans to rob the monastery. Initially, the icon was part of a mural known as” Otrada “or”Consolation”. Later, the image was removed from the wall along with the plaster and placed in a kiosk. Over time, the icon was covered with a silver robe with rich coinage, and only the faces of the Mother of God and the Baby are visible. Not many people had the opportunity to see the icon without a cover. The robbers who were going to rob the Vatopedi monastery arrived at night on the shore and disappeared in the vicinity of the monastery, waiting for the gates to open. While the robbers were waiting, the brethren of the monastery went to their cells to rest after the morning service, and only the rector remained in the church. Suddenly, he heard a woman’s voice warning him of the imminent danger to the monastery. Looking back at the icon of the Mother of God, he noticed that the faces of the Virgin and Child had changed. The Vatopedi icon has become similar to the “Joy”, where the Baby is always depicted with a raised hand expressing a blessing. The abbot noticed how Jesus raised his hand, as if guarding the mouth of the Virgin, and said: “No, My Mother, don’t tell them that. Let them be punished for their sins.” But the Mother of God, as She left His hand, repeated the warning twice:”Do not open the gates today, but stand on the walls of the monastery and disperse the robbers.” The abbot was struck by this phenomenon and immediately gathered the brethren. Everyone was amazed by the changes on the icon. After prayers in front of the holy image, the monks gathered and successfully repelled the attack of robbers. Since then, the Vatopedi icon has been called “Joy” or “Consolation”, as the face of the Virgin on the icon expresses compassionate love, and her gaze is filled with mercy and meekness. This icon is a reminder of the moment when it is important to show compassion. The Baby’s face remained stern. In memory of this wonderful event, an indelible lamp is lit in front of the miraculous icon. The list of icons from this image was kept in the cell of St. Demetrius of Rostov and is now located next to his relics in the Saviour-Yakovlevsky Dimitrievsky Monastery.

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    The troparion is a short church song that, along with theosophical hymns, stood at the origins of the Church.
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