Friday, December 21, 2012

Hope for Deliverance

Russia in the 17th century, much as we are today, was in the midst of a great ‘time of troubles’.  But she was delivered from them by a miracle from God, through the Kazan Icon of Our Lady.  (The story is related briefly below.) 

Seeing, then, what is possible through this wonderworking Icon, we ought to dedicate ourselves to praying before it as well.  These are the hymns the Church sings to Our Lady of Kazan.  Offer them to the Most Holy Mother of God along with your own heartfelt prayers, as often as you think best, that we might receive Her gracious help.  For Our Lady is not hard-hearted toward those who ask for Her intercessions.  ( and the Holy Trinity Monastery offer this Icon if you would like to have a copy in your home.  If you would like to order from the HTM, please read this.  Another option: Holy Transfiguration Monastery.)    

Troparion (Tone 4)

O fervent intercessor, Mother of the Lord Most High,
thou dost pray to thy Son Christ our God and savest all who seek thy protection.
O Sovereign Lady and Queen,
help and defend all of us who in trouble and trials,
in pain and burdened with sins, stand in thy presence before thine icon,
and who pray with compunction, contrition, and tears and with unflagging hope in thee.
Grant what is good for us,
deliverance from evil, and save us all, O Virgin Mother of God,
for thou art a divine protection to thy servants.

Kontakion (Tone 8)

O peoples, let us run to that quiet good haven,
to the speedy helper, the warm salvation, to the Virgin's protection.
Let us speed to prayer and hasten to repentance.
For the Mother of God pours out her mercy, anticipates needs, and averts disasters
for her patient and God-fearing servants.

(Hymns from OrthodoxWiki.)

This Christmas season, let us honor Our Lord by venerating His Most Pure Mother, Our Lady of Kazan, Protectress of the Southland, Our Hope for Deliverance.

--A short account of the Kazan Icon of Our Lady, as found in Vladimir Moss, Autocracy, Despotism and Democracy: Part 2, 2012, pgs. 213, 217, :

“Wonderful is the Providence of God,” writes Protopriest Lev Lebedev, “in bringing him to the summit of ecclesiastical power at this terrible Time of Troubles… In 1579 he had been ordained to the priesthood in the St. Nicholas Gostinodvordsky church in Kazan. And in the same year a great miracle had taken place, the discovery of the Kazan icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. This was linked with a great fall in the faith of Christ in the new land, the mocking of the Orthodox by the Muslims for failures in harvest, fires and other woes. A certain girl, the daughter of a rifleman, through a vision in sleep discovered on the place of their burned-down house an icon of the Mother of God. Nobody knew when or by whom it had been placed in the ground. The icon began to work wonders and manifest many signs of special grace. The whole of Kazan ran to it as to a source of salvation and intercession from woes. The priest Hermogen was a witness of all this. He immediately wrote down everything that had taken place in connection with the wonderworking icon and with great fervour composed a narrative about it. The glory of the Kazan icon quickly spread through Russia, many copies were made from it, and some of these also became wonderworking. The Theotokos was called “the fervent defender of the Christian race” in this icon of Kazan. It was precisely this icon and Hermogen who had come to love it that the Lord decreed should deliver Moscow and Russia from the chaos of the Time of Troubles and the hands of the enemies. . . .

“On the advice of Patriarch Hermogen, the holy Kazan icon of the Mother of God was taken into the levy of Minin and Pozharsky.

“In the autumn of 1612 the second levy was already near Moscow. But it did not succeed in striking through to the capital. Their strength was ebbing away. Then the levies laid upon themselves a strict three-day fast and began earnestly to pray to the Heavenly Queen before her Kazan icon. At this time Bishop Arsenius, a Greek by birth, who was living in a monastery in the Kremlin, and who had come to us in 1588 with Patriarch Jeremiah, after fervent prayer saw in a subtle sleep St. Sergius. The abbot of the Russian Land told Arsenius that ‘by the prayers of the Theotokos judgement on our Fatherland has been turned to mercy, and that tomorrow Moscow will be in the hands of the levy and Russia will be saved!’ News of this vision of Arsenius was immediately passed to the army of Pozharsky, which enormously encouraged them. They advanced to a decisive attack and on October 22, 1612 took control of a part of Moscow and Chinatown. Street fighting in which the inhabitants took part began. In the fire and smoke it was difficult to distinguish friend from foe. On October 27 the smoke began to disperse. The Poles surrendered….

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