KINOVIA

Monastery, Moscow patriarchate, eparchy of Kaluga region, Russia

THE “LOMOVSKAYA” ICON OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

Posted by kinovia on August 17, 2007

Lomovskaya icon of the Mother of God

Lomovskaya icon of the Mother of God

(the celebration takes place on 12/25 of June)

According to the legend The “Lomovskaya” Icon of the Mother of God was found in the waters of the Ugra river. The broken up parts of the image, not fastened, were making their way in the waters together and that explains its name. From the old times the icon is widely venerated both in the Kaluga’s lands and far from these places due to a lot of miracles and cures.

In the Kaluga’s regional library named after V. Belinsky there is the book “Materials of geography and statistics of Russia collected by the officers of the Joint Staff”, compiled by the half-colonel M. Poprotzky and issued in 1864. In this book on page 7 reference is made to the date of completion the construction of Baryatino church, i.e. 1796; page 17 contains the following mention of our icon: “In some churches there are icons especially worshiped by the believers and that is…. the “Lomovskaya” Icon of the Mother of God in Rozhdestveno village…” (at present “Tovarkovo”).

In 1876 hieromonk Leonid (Kavelin) in his book “The History of the Church Within the Present Kaluga’s Gubernia”[1] writes: “In the village of Rozhdestveno, of the now Medynsky uezd[2] there is a glorified image of the Mother of God named “Lomovskaya”.

First the icon was kept in the old wooden church in the name of the Nativity of Christ. In 1906 beside this church

"Lomovskaya" icon without riza

"Lomovskaya" icon without riza

there was erected a new stone church thanks to the efforts of the priest Sergy Komarov and Moscow manufacturer Ivan Orlov, coming from the local peasants. In the subscription lists keeping the names of the supporters there is a dear for all Orthodox Christians name of archpriest Ioann Sergeev, i.e. St. Righteous Ioann Kronshtadsky who had contributed 100 rubles for the building of the church on the place of the Icon’s invention. This bears evidence that the St. Ioann knew about the miracle-making “Lomovskaya” icon of the Mother of God.

In 1898, opposite Rozhdestveno village, St. Nicholas woman’s monastery founded by hieromonk Gerasim began its existence. In this monastery nun Angelina (Frolova) was active since her early age and secretly kept the holy image during the years of prosecutions. In 1920s this monastery was banned, totally devastated and at present does not exist. Some nuns who had been sent to the camps survived and returned home, mother Angelina among them.

They settled down not far from the Church of the Nativity of Christ and after it had been banned they were still living in a small house hiding the icon wrapped in a sheet. In 1942, during the fascist offensive all houses in Rozhdestveno village were demolished, but the church which basements served as a shelter from an intense fire was untouched and had saved the nuns’ life hiding there with the miracle-making image. After the war the church was reopened and a lot of believers from Moscow, Kaluga and other Russian towns and villages were again coming to bow to the Heaven Intercessor and to ask for Her help. Over 10 years the prayer had been sounding in the church but in the 50s it was again closed.

As before, nun Angelina for a long time was hiding the icon in her house. In 1972, upon the request of the Superior of the Church of the Nativity of The Mother of God, now bishop Arkady (Afonin), she gave the holy image to Baryatino and in four years, at the age of 83 peacefully went to God.

The date of the invention of “Lomovskaya” Mother of God icon is still unknown but if we take into account the form of crosses once brought for the Mother of God as gifts and fastened to Her vestment, it could be assumed that this icon had been worshiped by old believers (starovers) who as it is known acknowledge icons of only pre-Nikon’s times.

The monastery’s nuns testify to numerous cases of miracle help after the devotional appeal to the Queen of Heaven. Among them the most known wonder confirmed by the majority of witnesses is the fact of returning of the icon after the church’s robbery in the night of Indiction of 1997.

The church-robbers broke metallic doors and got into the church. It’s no use to give the full list of what they had stolen. They took church things, worship books, other icons. All this could be renewed except the main sacred thing, i.e. wonder-making icon of The Mother of God. Two robbers were soon taken but the third one ran to Kazakhstan and was out of reach. The mother hegumeness went to the Optina Pustyn to take advice from hegumen Iliya  as to how to overcome this great grief. His advice was simple: “Your affliction is great but the work must go on”. Coming back to the monastery the hegumeness told the sisters the elder’s blessing and added: “When the icon again takes its place here we immediately will compose a divine service to Her”.

So the life was going on: they mourned, fasted, prayed… Over one and a half year had passed. On the 3rd of May 1999 the nuns began to compose a service for the Mother of God, though there were no news about the icon. But on May, 4, in the afternoon the superior of the church in the town of Yukhnov called and informed that the day before he had bought one icon in Kaluga which is much similar to your stolen icon. He asked to come and have a look.

It was next to impossible to believe but in the morning on May, 5, the sisters went to Yukhnov. In the church they saw an icon decorated with flowers. It was the very same icon! The silver vestment and the golden sewing were stolen and for the first time we saw the fracture right off the Holy face of The Savior. But even without this doubtless sign there was no mistake: uncanonical character of the image and painting made the icon easily recognizable. Father told the sisters that he had gone to a small antique shop at the Kaluga market to look for the icon-settings and saw that icon. He asked to show it and wanted to make sure that it had not been stolen. Having received the assurances that it was not the case, father paid 300 rubles and called to Baryatino.

"Lomovskaya" and flowers for the Mother of God

"Lomovskaya" and flowers for the Mother of God

On June, 25, the newly discovered image of the Mother of God took its rightful place in the monastery. Baryatino has never seen such a feast. Accompanied with the triumphant bell-ringing the clergy, congregation, worshipers, numerous guests, pilgrims came far out of the village to meet the holy icon. The vicar of the Kaluga eparchy Georgy had delivered the icon to Barytino. She  had been carried along the road covered with live flowers for the Mother of God, Who was returning to Her native house/The church could not admit all those who were taking part in religious procession. The day before during the all night vigil and in the morning in the course of the Divine Liturgy for the first time there were heard sticherions, troparions, kanon, song of praise, kondaktion, prayer to the Mother of God. The worshipers were tearing but those were tears of joy. After the Liturgy the people were kissing the holy image and bent the knees before the miracle-making icon.

After the returning the holy image, by Grace of God great and long wanted changes took place in our church. The overhaul as well as the painting of all premises had been completed, and that, taking into account our poverty, could be also considered as a miracle. In front of the holy image of the Mother of God “Lomovskaya” there are a lot of gifts from thankful believers whose prayers were heard and dreams came true. We think it necessary to publish some fragments from the monastery chronicle which is keeping the witnesses of these people. (to follow…)


[1] now “region”

[2] now “district”

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