Events behind Today’s Commemoration of Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir

The celebration of the feast day of the icon “The Mother of God of Vladimir” takes place in gratitude for saving Moscow from Khan Akhmat’s attack. In 1480 under Grand Duke John III (1462 1505) the Golden Horde Khan, Akhmat and his vast army reached the river Ugra. The river is also called “the girdle of the Mother of God”, which guards the Moscow lands. Both armies were staying in front of each other all day long without taking decisive actions. This event became known as “The Great Standoff on the Ugra river”. All of the residents of Moscow were praying to the Mother of God, the protector of the city. The citizens asked Her to save the orthodox capital.
Metropolitan Gerontiy (1473-1489) and archbishop Vassian of Rostov supported the Russian army with their prayers, advice and blessings. The metropolitan wrote a common message to the Duke, in which he asked to confront the enemy in a brave manner and rely on the Mother of God for help.
The Mother of God stood up for the Russian land. The Duke ordered the army to back down from the river, as he waited for the Tatars to cross it. But the enemies thought the Russians were trying to ambush them and began to back down as well. At first they left their positions slowly, but by nightfall they ran away driven by fear. That is why the celebration of the Mother of God was established – to express people’s gratitude for the liberation of Russia from the Tatars’ oppression.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
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