About the Icon
The Appearance of the Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God in the City of Kazan: On 1 October 1552, on the feast day of the Pokrov-Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, at night, tsar Ivan IV in heading the Russian forces made ready for a decisive assault against the Tatar city of Kazan, and suddenly he heard the peeling of the Moscow bells. The tsar realized that this was a sign of the mercy of God: that through the prayers of the mighty commander-in-chief, the Lord deigned that the Kazan people should be converted to Him.
The surrender of Kazan on the feast of the Pokrov-Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God completed a course of events, initiated way back centuries earlier in the year 1164 by holy Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky (+ 1174, Comm. 4 July), against the Moslem Volga Bulgars. With the taking of Kazan, the Volga – the chief waterway route of the land, became finally a Russian river. And from Tatar servitude were liberated 60,000 Russian people. The enlightenment of the Tatars with the light of the Gospel truth was started. There were the first martyrs – Saints Peter and Stephen (Comm. 24 March). The newly established Kazan diocese entered into the complexion of the Russian Church and was soon illustrious in its own archbishops: Sainted Gurii (+ 1563, Comm. 5 December) and Sainted German (+ 1567, Comm. 6 November).
But the advance of Orthodoxy was especially enabled amongst the Volga Mahometans by the appearance, on 8 July 1579, of the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God in the city of Kazan. Preaching the Gospel had been a difficult matter in this conquered kingdom amongst the incorrigible pagans. The Most Holy Mother of God, Mediatrix of preachers of the Word of God, Who even during Her earthly life shared in the evangelic work of the holy Apostles, – in looking down upon the efforts of the Russian missionaries, She did not hesitate to send them Heavenly help, manifest through Her wonderworking Icon.
On 28 June 1579 there occurred a terrible fire which had started around the church of Sainted Nikolai of Tula. This fire destroyed part of the city and turned to ashes half of the Kazan Kremlin. The city, however, began to quickly rise up from its ruins. Together with others who had been burned out, and not far from where the fire had started, – was built the house of the musketeer Daniil Onuchin. The Mother of God appeared in a dream to his nine year old daughter Matrona and commanded her to find Her icon, hidden in the ground by secret confessors of Orthodoxy way back still in the time of Moslem rule. But to the words of a mere girl they paid no attention. Thrice the Mother of God appeared and pointed out the spot, where the wonderworking icon had been concealed. Finally, Matrona with her mother began to dig in the indicated place and they found the sacred icon. To this place of the miraculous discovery there came archbishop Jeremii at the head of his clergy and transported the holy image into a church of Saint Nicholas situated nearby. From there, after a moleben, amidst a church procession they transferred it to the Annunciation cathedral – the first Orthodox temple in the city of Kazan, erected by tsar Ivan the Terrible. During the time of the procession, there occurred the healing of two blind men – Iosif and Nikita.
A copy of the Icon, which had appeared at Kazan, together with an account of the circumstances of its discovery and descriptions of the miracles was dispatched in 1579 to Moscow. Tsar Ivan the Terrible gave orders to build at the place of its appearance a temple in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, to install therein the holy icon, and to found there also a women’s monastery. Matrona and her mother, instrumental in finding the sacred icon, accepted monastic tonsure at this monastery.
At the Nikol’sk (Nicholas) church, where the first moleben had been made before the Kazan Icon, was serving at this time as priest the future Sainted Ermogen, Patriarch of Moscow (+ 1612, Comm. 17 February). Fifteen years later, in 1594, now as Metropolitan of Kazan, he compiled a report of the holy events to which he had been an eyewitness and participant: “Account and Miracles of the Most Pure Mother of God from Her Venerable and Gloriously Manifest Image at Kazan”. In this account are descriptions with great factual precision regarding many an instance of healing, from the wonderworking Icon through the prayers of believers. Here are just few of the miracles of the Kazan Icon:
Protection from invasion
When Russia was occupied by the Poles, one of the imprisoned Russian soldiers managed to send a letter in secret to Novgorod. In that letter he asked to write to metropolitan Efrem, that he should write and send a charter to the boyars and the Cossack cohorts, ordering them to stand up bravely for their faith and help those people who was in need.
The people of Novgorod responded to that appeal. Duke Dmitry Michailovich Pozharsky became the leader of the militia. The Cossack warriors who joined militia took the copy of the wonder-working icon of the Mother of God of Kazan. That was the moment when The Mother of God took them under Her protection.
When the Poles were driven out Tsar Michail Fedorovich set two feasts in honor of the Mother of God of Kazan. The first one is on July 8 (July 21) – the day when the icon was found, and the second one in October 22 (November 4) – the day when the State of Moscow cleared its territory from the enemy.
The healing of the blind infant
One day a sad woman entered the church. She had a little child who was blind and could see absolutely nothing. She was holding him and praying in front of the wonder working image of the Mother of God of Kazan and prayed that her child could see the light.
Suddenly the child begun to touch his mother’s face with his hands. All the people who were there saw that. Then the archbishop asked to bring the child an apple. When the child tried to catch it, they understood that he could see now, and so that they all started to praise the Lord and the Mother of God.
The blind monk
There was a blind monk called Joseph in the Troetsky monastery in Kazan. When he found out about the wonder working icon of Kazan he came to the cathedral church of the Mother of God and had a moleben served in front of the icon. But that did not help him, so he returned home in sad and depressed mood.
At home he decided to rest for a while. When he nodded, he saw the image of the Mother of God and heard the voice, which ordered him to go back, to serve a molebenthere and to wash his face with a pall. Thus, She said, the monk would be cured. When Joseph did so, he was able to see again.
The healing of the weak one
Isaac, the son of widow Iulita, was suffering from paralysis almost for three years. His body was so weak that he could not even put his legs on the floor. When he found out about the wonder-working icon he asked his mother to pray in front of it. He could not go with her, and that is why he was praying to the Mother of God at home. He asked the Holy Theotokos that he could see the icon with his own eyes.
At one point Isaac felt a relief and with the help of the Mother of God he managed to stand up. He took two sticks and went to the monastery to see the wonder-working icon. When the mother saw him, she was shocked and could not believe her eyes. When she got over it, she realized what a marvelous miracle had happened by the will of the Mother of God. She fell on the floor in front of the image and began to glorify the Lord and the Mother of God.
The woman with illness in her legs
The wife of the boyar’s son Ivashka suffered from a strange disease, which no one could cure. Her legs hurt so much that she could not even move them. When she heard of the wonder-working icon the Mother of God of Kazan, she asked to bring her to it.
When the woman saw the icon she began to pray wholeheartedly, asking the Mother of God to have mercy and cure her legs. Right in the middle of the service, she was cured and could go home on her own without any help. She was full of joy and glorified the Mother of God for that miracle.
The curing of amentia
In the city of Laishev there was a man called Kozma who suffered from amentia. One day his relatives offered him to visit the Kazan Monastery and ask the Mother of God to cure his disease. When Kozma recovered a bit he began to pray to the Mother of God to be healed. Thus, by God’s will and grace of the Mother of God he was cured. He served a moleben and then recovered completely. On his way home he was glorifying the Lord and the Mother of God with all his heart.
Casting out the evil spirit
John, who was a priest in the St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Church, and his wife Domna lived in the city of Sviyazhisk. There was a neighbor who once, being tempted by devil made Domna so drunk that she got insane. She got wild and disgraced herself and her husband. Those who saw this were frightened while some mocked him.
At that moment John was away from the city, but soon relatives told him what had happened with his wife. By that moment she had given herself up to despair and fallen ill from shame and fear. Then the evil spirit possessed her and worsened her illness. More than 10 times a day she became mad – she behaved as a wild animal, grinded the teeth and frothed at the mouth. Her sufferings lasted for 35 weeks.
John prayed to God and the Mother of God for his wife’s healing all day, and asked the Saints for help as well. He brought his wife to Kazan to the wonder-working Icon, but Domna did not recover. Then, on February 11, 1583, Mary, the mother superior of the convent, was told in her sleep that they should bring Domna to the Icon when the demon was torturing her.
Next time when the demon started to torture Domna, she was brought to the Icon of the Mother of God and the demon was cast out and she recovered at once. Giving thanks and praising God and the Mother of God, she returned home with her husband.
Healing of a dying soldier
One of hospital nurses told this story during her service in World War II. A wounded soldier Nikifor Rudin who had got an bullet lodged into his stomach spent quite a long time in the hospital. He was brought to the hospital in critical condition. The temperature of his body was as high as 40°C and higher and the soldier suffered from terrible pain where the wound was.
From day to day Nikifor’s condition got even worse and it was decided to operate on him. Before the operation, an all-night vigil with the wonder-working Icon was served in the hospital and Nikifor who believed in God asked the nurse to light a candle and pray for him heartily. The nurse did as he asked and onthat night a real miracle happened. The pus of Nikifor’s wounds began to exude. The temperature fell, pain calmed down, and the soldier started to recover significantly. Soon, after a simple operation was executed, Nikifor recovered completely.
May the Holy Mother of God, the true Theotokos, have mercy on me, a poor sinner, and bring me to a deeper faith in Her wonderworking ministry and deeper obedience and love for Her Son, our God.
Oh, most holy Mother of God, please save my children and grandchildren by your all-holy prayers.