The Svyatogorsk Icon of the Mother of God:

Commemorated on July 17

      The Svyatogorsk Icon of the Mother of God: In the year 1563, during the times of Ivan the Terrible, in the environs of Pskov to a native of Voronicha a fifteen year old shepherd and fool named Timothy, not far from the stream Lugovitsa, there appeared with a miraculous shining in the air an "Umilenie" ("Tenderness") icon of the Mother of God. This icon was thereafter situated in the Voronicha parish church of Saint George. The voice from the icon announced, that after six years upon this hill would shine forth the grace of God.
      In 1569 to this same youth upon the Sinicha hill, there appeared an Hodegetria icon of the Mother of God upon a pine-tree. Timothy spent forty days at this place in fasting and prayer. The miraculous voice from the icon commanded, that the clergy and the people should come to the Sinicha heights with the Umilenie-Tenderness icon on the Friday, following the Sunday of All Saints. When the church procession, made at the command of the Mother of God, reached the hill and began the molieben, at the time of the reading of the Gospel there suddenly shone a light, the air was filled with fragrance and everyone saw upon the pine-tree the Hodegetria icon. Both holy icons, the Hodegetria and the Umilenie, were put into the church of the GreatMartyr George. From them began many miraculous signs and healings, about which reports were made to tsar Ivan IV. Through his ukaz-decree, upon the Sinicha Hill called from that time the "Svyata" ("Holy"), there was built a chapel, into which were transferred the wonderworking icons. But soon, on the feastday of the Pokrov-Protection of the MostHoly Mother of God, when a church procession with icons was made to Holy Hill, the chapel that night suddenly burned. The fire destroyed everything else inside, but the holy things remained unharmed.
      On this sacred spot they erected a stone church in honour of the Uspenie-Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God, the altar of which was situated on the place where the Hodegetria icon had appeared. Both glorified icons were placed into the lower tier of the iconostas: the Hodegetria on the right side (a chapel in honour of which was built in 1770), and the Umilenie on the left (a chapel was built in 1776).
      In that same year of 1569 on Svyata-Holy Hill was founded the Svyatogorsk ("Holy-Hill") Uspenie monastery.
      Annually on the 1st Friday of the Peter and Paul Lent, the icons are conveyed to the Trinity cathedral of the city of Pskov, and on the following Sunday there is made a procession with them along the inner walls of the city.
      The celebration in honour of the Umilenie icon is made on 19 March and on the 9th Friday after Pascha, and in honour of the Hodegetria on 17 July and on the day of the Pokrov-Protection of the MostHoly Mother of God (i.e. 1 October).

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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