The Feast of the Mother of God in honour of Her Holy Vladimir Icon
Commemorated on June 23, August 26 and May 21
The Feast of the Mother of God in honour of Her Holy Vladimir Icon is celebrated in thanksgiving for the deliverance of Moscow from an invasion of khan Akhmat. In 1480 during the time of GreatPrince Ivan III Vasil'evich (1462-1505), khan Akhmat of the Golden Horde approached with a vast host up to the River Ugra, which those guarding the Moscow domain called "the Belt (Poyas) of the Mother of God". For an entire day the army of the khan and that of the Moscow prince stood opposite each other, not making the decision to act – "the standing at the Ugra". All Moscow prayed to its Patroness the MostHoly Mother of God for the safety of the Orthodox capital. Metropolitan Gerontii (1473-1489) and the father-confessor of the prince, Archbishop Vassion of Rostov, praying, strengthened the Russian army with blessing and counsel. The metropolitan wrote the prince a cathedral missive, in which he called on him to stand bravely against the enemy, trusting on the help of the Mother of God.
The MostHoly Mother of God interceded for the Russian land. The prince commanded his army to fall back from the Ugra, hoping to await the passing over of the Tatars; the enemy decided, however, that the Russians were luring them into a trap, and they thus began to fall back, at first slowly, but by night they fled, driven by fear. In thanksgiving for the deliverance of Russia from the Tatars, this feast was established in honour of the Mother of God. (The account about the Vladimir Icon is located under 26 August).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.