Diocese of the Midwest Celebrates the Tikhvin Icon – 20th Anniversary of the Return of the Icon

CHICAGO, IL [DOM] – The feast of the Wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God was celebrated this past Tuesday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 26 with great splendor in this Diocese of the Midwest. The services took place at the historic Diocesan Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Chicago, IL, and gathered Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and faithful from all over the country. This year’s observance of the feast was of particular importance as 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of the original Tikhvin Icon being returned from the Cathedral to Holy Dormition Monastery, Tikhvin, Russia.

This feast was of significant important to the Orthodox Church in America due to the relationship that the local church has with the icon and overseeing the transfer of the icon back to the Russian Orthodox Church 20 years ago. This importance was highlighted by the presence of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, leading the divine services for his event, along with other hierarchs from the Orthodox Church in America.

On Tuesday afternoon, His Beatitude was greeted at the airport by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest. The Archbishop welcomed the metropolitan to the Midwest Diocese and the two hierarchs shared a cordial conversation about the festivities of the event.

Later that evening, His Beatitude arrived at the Cathedral and was greeting by Archbishop Daniel and Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean. Upon entering the Cathedral, the Metropolitan was greeted by the ringing of bells, the singing of the choir, and the clergy and faithful who were awaiting their primate. His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, His Grace Bishop Benedict of Hartford and New England, His Grace Bishop Andrei of Cleveland, His Grace Bishop Gerasim of Fort Worth, were in attendance.

The responses were sung by the Chicago Deanery Male Choir under the direction of Reader Philip Sokolov. The choir is made up of voices from around the diocese who joined local voices to produce one of their largest choirs yet. The director and his choir partook in special preparation for the significant event producing an outcome that was lauded by worships at the end of the service.

Following the Vigil, Archbishop Daniel welcomed the diocese and guests to the Cathedral. Everyone was then invited to the cathedral hall to enjoy refreshments that were prepared by the Cathedral community.


The following day, the Feast of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, a large celebration was held in honor of the Theotokos. The Metropolitan was greeted and vested for the Divine Liturgy and concelebrated with Archbishop Daniel of Chicago, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco, Bishop Benedict of Hartford, Bishop Andrei of Cleveland, and Bishop Gerasim of Fort Worth. Serving with the hierarchs were clergy from throughout the Diocese and Chicagoland.

The St. Romanos Choir, lead by Reader Peter Jermihov, offered the responses in a most spiritual, solemn, and inspiring way. The choir sang with great depth and control using a mix of various chants leading those gathered in prayer. Reader Peter directed the choir 20 years ago when the original icon was returned to Russia, giving him a special connection and inspiration for the service.


His Beatitude offer the homily after the reading of the gospel reminding everyone, “Because Christ’s kingdom belongs to the future age, it cannot be touched by the ravages of time. Likewise, the protection of the Mother of God is omnipresent and invincible. Love is stronger than death, and her love for her children cannot be overcome by mortality.”

At the conclusion of the Primatial Liturgy, Archbishop Daniel offered a few words greeting the Metropolitan and his brother bishops. He also offered thanks to the clergy, choir, and the faithful for their participation in the services. Following the greeting the hierarchs gathered before the Chicago-Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God and began the Moleben to the Theotokos. After the beginning prayers, the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful began a mile long procession with the icon. Processing through the streets of Chicago to the ringing of the Cathedral bells, clergy lifted the holy icon on their shoulders and sang hymns to the Mother of God. The faithful followed the Queen of Heaven and also sang hymns, rejoicing in the day.

The procession ended at St. George Cathedral, where everyone entered to finish the Moleben. The full cathedral offered their final prayers. At the conclusion of the service Fr. Alexander greeted those gathered and offered a brief reflection on the importance of this icon and its history to Chicago, and the personal relationship that so many people shared with the original icon for the fifty years that it was in America. This especially includes the Garklavs family, who were the guardians of the icon.

The faithful came to venerate the icon as those gathered continued to pray and offer hymns to the Mother of God. After the veneration of the icon, everyone was hosted in the main hall of St. George Cathedral for a festive banquet.


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