CHICAGO, IL [DOM Communications] – On Friday, June 26, His Eminence Archbishop Paul celebrated the feast of the Tikhvin Icon at the Diocesan Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral. His Eminence was joined by Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean, Priest Jonathan Lincoln, Associate of St. Joseph Church in Wheaton, IL, Protodeacon Thomas, and faithful from around Chicagoland.
This feast is of great importance to the diocese as the original miraculous icon of Tikhvin was in the care of the Midwest diocese for five decades during the time of communism in Russia. Archbishop Paul preached about the need to draw near to the Mother of God for our protection and clarity of mind during this time.
According to ancient tradition, the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God is one of several painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. In the fifth century, the icon was taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople, where it was enshrined in the Church of Blachernae, which was built especially for this purpose. In 1383, seventy years before the fall of Constantinople, fishermen on Lake Ladoga in the principality of Novgorod in northern Russia witnessed the icon miraculously hovering over the lake’s waters amidst a radiant light. Shortly thereafter, the icon appeared in several neighboring towns, including the village of Motchenitsy on the bank of the Tikhvinka River, before it finally appeared near the town of Tikhvin. A wooden church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God was built on the site. In 1560, by order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, a men’s monastery was established near the church. Over the centuries, the icon’s fame spread far and wide, with copies of the original adorning countless churches throughout Russia and beyond.
During the World War II German occupation, the Nazis removed the icon from the Tikhvin Monastery, from whence it was taken to Pskov and subsequently to Riga, Latvia. When Riga was evacuated, His Grace, Bishop John [Garklavs] of Riga — later Archbishop of Chicago and Minneapolis — in whose care the icon was placed, took the icon to Bavaria, where it was venerated by Orthodox faithful who had been displaced because of the war. While Soviet agents had spotted the icon, Bishop John was permitted to take the icon to the US in 1949, where it was venerated for many years at Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. After Archbishop John’s repose in 1982, Archpriest Sergei Garklavs, his adopted son and Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, became the icon’s guardian. In July 2004, the icon was returned to Russia and once again enshrined in the Tikhvin Monastery.