The Eletsk-Chernigov (Chernigov Spruce Tree) Icon of the Mother of God

Commemorated on February 5

      The Eletsk-Chernigov (Chernigov Spruce Tree) Icon of the Mother of God appeared on a spruce-fir tree near Chernigov in the year 1060, during the time of the Chernigov prince Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, as was recorded in the Synodikon of the Chernigov bishop Zosima Prokopovich (1655-1657). The icon was placed in a church, built in honour of the Eletsk-Spruce Icon of the Mother of God. The Monk Antonii (Anthony; + 1073, Comm. 10 July), while asceticising on the Boldina Heights in the years 1068-1069), had given his blessing to found a monastery at this place. In 1238 the monastery was pillaged by the Tatars (Mongols), but the icon was hidden inside the monastery walls. In the year 1470 the Kiev prince Simeon Olel'kovich restored the monastery, and they again placed the icon in church. The ultimate fate of the icon is unclear. According to one tradition, a descendant of the Chernigov princes, Baryatinsky, carried off the icon to Moscow in the year 1579, when Chernigov fell into the hands of the Polish king Stefan Bathory. In 1687 a somehow-related prince Daniil Baryatinsky was returning from a campaign in the Crimea. At Kharkov he fell seriously ill and before his death he bestowed the Eletsk Icon to the Kharkov Uspenie (Dormition), being nearby it while on campaign. According to another tradition, the icon vanished from the monastery during its sacking in the XVII Century by the forces of Sigismund III. In 1676 prince Konstantin Ostrozhsky presented the Eletsk monastery a copy of the Eletsk Icon of the Mother of God, brought from Vladimir by the Kozel brothers. Archimandrite Ioannikii (Golyatovsky) was at this time restoring the monastery and he described numerous miracles from this icon in his book, "Skorbnitsa" (or "Sokrovischnitsa", i.e. "Consoler" or "Treasury"), published in 1676 in Northern Novgorod. There is still another Eletsk Icon of the Mother of God that is known of, likewise appearing in the year 1060. It received its name in that it appeared in the city of Elets, in a cathedral church in honour of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. The feastday of this icon was set under 11 January.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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Eletsk-Chernigov (Chernigov Spruce Tree) Icon of the Mother of God

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