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A Gallery of Thoughts on Arts, Culture and Orthodox Christian Spirituality

The Weeping Tikhvin Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos

Today the Russian Church is celebrating the feast of the Weeping “Tikhvin” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. The icon is located in the Skete of Prophet Elijah on Mount Athos in Greece. It received the name "Weeping" because of a miracle that took place on the eve of one of the bloodiest wars of the 19th century, the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78.

The miracle occurred on a Thursday of the second week of the Great Lent. It was recorded by the monks of the Skete of Prophet Elijah, founded in 1757 by the famous Russian monk and saint, Archimandrite Paisius Velichkovsky. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 500 monks living in the skete, but that number dramatically dropped after the Russian Revolution, and in 1992 the skete was handed over to the Greeks.

On February 2nd (according to the new calendar) 1877, the Mother of God began to weep. The right arm of Christ Child became all soaked in the holy myrrh coming out of Theotokos's eyes. When the weeping stopped, the abbot and six monks signed the testimony of the miracle they had just witnessed, and sealed it with the official seal of the Skete.

When Czar Alexander II of Russia heard about the wondrous weeping of the icon, he took it to the battle front of the Russian-Turkish war, where the Russian army triumphed. In the aftermath of the bloodshed, Russian regained a large territory around the Black Sea lost after the Crimean War, and liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule.

Before it was taken back to Mount Athos, the icon spent some time in Moscow, where numerous healings took place after the interceding of the Tikhvin Mother of God

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