|Q: Who is Our Lady of
A: The history of Our Lady of Pochaev beings in
1198, only about two centuries after Christianity became
institutionalized following the conversion of St. Vladimir. In this
year a monk ascended Mount Pochaev in order to pray. After beginning
his prayers, a pillar of fire appeared to him and to some shepherds
that happened to be nearby. The flames withdrew to reveal the
Blessed Virgin. The apparition of the Virgin Mary left behind a
footprint, from which a spring of water flowed. This first event
would lead to many other supernatural events through the special
dedication of the Blessed Virgin to this region.
Many of these miracles are the result of the veneration of the
icon of our Lady of Pochaev [see right]. It first arrived in the
region as a gift of Metropolitan Neophit to Anna Hoyska, an important
patron of the Church, in 1559. The icon shows our Lady, wearing a
crown, and holding the infant Jesus. In her other hand “she holds
the end of her veil.” This being a 'tenderness' icon, Jesus and
Mary’s face touch, while Jesus gives a blessing with his hand. To
Mary’s right are the prophet Elijah and Saint Myrna, while to her
left are St. Stephen and the Reverend Abraymey. Mary’s face is
described as being “beautiful but sad.” The icon itself is 29 x 23
cm, and made out of red pitched cypress. The origin of the icon
remains a mystery.
The miraculous character of the icon presented
itself almost immediately, as only a short time later Anna Hoyska’s
blind brother regained his sight. After Anna’s death in 1644 much of
her property was donated, including the icon, to a nearby Basilian
Monastery. After some legal obstacles were resolved, the icon was
finally placed in the brother’s Church of the Dormition of the
Blessed Mother. The monastery’s chronicles record numerous miracles
during the icon's stay at their Church. Two of these miracles are
Original icon of Our Lady of Pochaev
The following is a special prayer to be said at the installation of a
"pilgrimage icon" of the Blessed Mother of Pochaev in a home. During the week
the blessed icon is in one's home, try to recite five 'Our Fathers' and five
'Hail Marys' each day.
Our Lady of Pochaev
icon by William Hart McNichols
The first took place
during the invasion of the Turks in 1675. The populace of Pochaev
gathered at the monastery in order to weather the attack. Gathered
together and facing certain death at the hands of the invaders, they
“turned to Mary for protection and help.” The Blessed Virgin
appeared along with Venerable Job of Pochaev and a host of angels.
Her white mantle spread over the monastery and the arrows of the
Turks were deflected. This caused enough confusion among the
invaders that they scattered, allowing the Ukrainian military to turn
their enemies back.
The second notable miracle came during the
construction of a large church in Pochaev in the 1780’s. A monk ran
into the church demanding that everybody leave. After the
approximately two hundred workers had left the church, the roof
collapsed. In total, 539 miracles have been
recorded in the monastery chronicles.
After an investigation, the icon was crowned by
Pope Clement in 1773. However, in 1831 Tsar Mykola gave the
monastery to Orthodox monks, and expelled the Basilians. In 2001,
the icon was temporarily moved from Pochaev to The Cathedra of the
Trinity (Saint Daniel's Monastery) in Moscow.
More recently, Fr. William McNichols wrote a
copy of the famous icon [see left]. This work was commissioned by
the Archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska, to be given as a gift to the
Russian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Sergius of Rodonezh Lavra in
Magadan, Far East, Russia. For more information on Fr. McNichols and
his icons click into: http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/andre/
Rejoice, O Glory of the universe.
Rejoice, O Temple of the Lord.
Rejoice, O Mountain overshadowed by the Holy Ghost.
Rejoice, O Refuge of all.
Rejoice, O Golden Candelabrum.
Rejoice, O Honorable Glory of all Christians.
Rejoice, O Mary, Mother of Christ God.
Rejoice, O Paradise.
Rejoice, O Divine Altar.
Rejoice, O Cloud.
Rejoice, O Golden Urn.
Rejoice, O Hope of All.
All Holy, most blessed and glorious Mary, Mother of God and our Mother!
We come to you today. We turn ourselves to you and petition you. Hear us!
We believe and acknowledge that you are the wondrous Guardian of all
persecuted and unfortunate. That is why we place our hope in you. More than
once have you showed us your kindness. Please show us once again.
Open the most sweetest Heart of your Son and our God. Intercede for
forgiveness of our sins. Help us in spiritual and material needs, and, for
the families who so graciously welcome your icon, give them your graces.
Mother most good, cover our Church and our Ukrainian people with your
mantle. Help our brothers in Ukraine in their suffering. Give them strength
in their fight with their atheist enemies, be consoling and unfailingly firm
in their harassment and shield them in their misery.
Be for them and us All-Merciful Guardian and let us praise you openly and
freely together with them, Oh Virgin, among all virgins, and your Son, our
God, Jesus. Let there be glory, honor and adoration now, always, and
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