This shrine with an incredible history of finding, unfortunately, was lost in 1903. It was stolen when sent to St. Petersburg for restoration. Today, of course, we can kiss the duplication of the Akhtyr Mother of God, but nevertheless we believe that one day we will find it again…
The image was first found in 1739. This happened in Akhtyrka, Ukrainian town, when a pious priest Vasily Danilov was mowing grass. That was how a miraculous icon was discovered – right in the thick grass. Seeing the light emanating from the image, the priest prayed with reverence and took the shrine home.
For three years, the Akhtyr icon was at Father Vasily’s place. He even expressed a desire to renew it, but the icon painter, who was entrusted with this responsible work, heard a voice telling him to return the image.
And three years later, a misfortune happened in Father’s house – his beloved daughter fell ill with a fever. But the Most Holy Theotokos did not leave the Danilovs without Her protection: appearing in a dream to Father Vasily, She ordered to wash the icon, and use the water as healing. After drinking this water, Father’s daughter received healing in deed. Later, other sick people recovered after drinking this water as well.
The news of the new miraculous icon quickly spread, and in 1743 a number of investigations into miraculous healings were carried out. Written confirmation of eyewitnesses was presented to the Synod. In 1751, the Holy Synod decided to honor the image as miraculous.
Saint Joasaph of Belgorod built a cathedral in Akhtyrka in honor of the Protection of the Mother of God, which was consecrated in 1768. It was here that the shrine rested before it disappeared …
The iconography of the Akhtyr image goes back to the examples of Italian-Greek art. We see the Mother of God pictured with praying arms on her chest. Nearby there is the Lord crucified on the Cross.
Duplications of this icon are widespread today. Each of us can turn to the Virgin and get help.