Commemorated on February 5
Divnogorsk-Sicilian Icon of the Mother of God received the first part of
its title from its original dwelling place when glorified – the Uspensk
Divnogorsk monastery, in the former Ostrogozhsk district in Voronezh
governance. Its title of "Sicilian" is from its place of origin,
since by tradition this icon at Diva (i.e. "Wondrous Heights") was
brought from Sicily by the pious monastic elders Xenophont and Joasaph. They
suggest, that these saints were by birth Orthodox Greeks by descent, and that
they had arrived hither, actually no earlier than the end of the XV Century.
Xenophont and Joasaph founded a monastery at a scenic spot above the River Don,
nigh to the confluence into it of the River Tikha Sosna [i.e. Quiet-Pine
River]. The Wild-Wondrous Heights of the locale were called such by those
struck by the form of the chalk columns, dispersed throughout the hills.
It has been
suggested, that Xenophont and Joasaph made their habitation in a cave (where
later was made the church of Saint John the Forerunner), and that the first
church in a chalk column was carved out by them, into which also they put the
Sicilian Icon of the Mother of God which they had brought with them. Herein
moreover they found their eternal repose.
Divnogorsk-Sicilian Icon of the Mother of God, the Mother of God is depicted
sitting in the clouds. In Her right hand is a white lily blossom, and with Her
left arm She supports the Divine Infant, Who sits upright upon Her knees. The
Saviour in His left hand holds a lily blossom, and with His right hand He
blesses. Around the face of the Mother of God are depicted eight angels, of
which the two beneathe are depicted on bended knee and with upraised hands in
prayer. Over the head of the Mother of God – is the Holy Spirit in the form of
a dove. The especial glorification of the icon began with the year 1831, when
cholera was raging. At Korotoyak, located 7-8 versts from the monastery, there
appeared in sleep to a certain elderly woman, Ekaterina Kolomenska, the
Most-Blessed Virgin (in the form She is depicted in the Divnogorsk Icon), and
She commanded that Her icon be brought and a molieben be made before it. The
wonderworking icon was brought to Korotoyak, and after a fervent general
molieben before the holy icon, the cholera ceased. By the intercession of the
Mother of God the city of Ostrogozhsk also was saved from cholera. The people
of Korotoyak and Ostrogozhsk likewise in 1847 and 1848 were saved from cholera
through the miraculous intercession of the Mother of God, which occurred after
a church procession with the holy icon around these towns.
tradition, the feastday of the wonderworking icon on 5 February was established
already at its original habitation – by Xenophont and Joasaph.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.