Wonderwoking Tikhvin Icon Celebrated in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL [DOM] – The Wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God was celebrated on June 25 and June 26, the feast of the icon, at the Diocesan Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Chicago, IL. His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest presided over the divine services. 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 before its return to Russia.

The All Night Vigil was held the night before on Sunday, June 25. His Eminence was joined by the cathedral clergy. The responses were sung by the Chicago Deanery Male Choir under the direction of Reader Philp Sokolov. Listen to audio here.

Divine Liturgy was celebrated on the feast of the Icon, June 26. The Archbishop was joined by Priest Alexander Koranda, Cathedral Dean, Mitered Archpriest Vladimir Kovalchuk, Archpriest Matthew Butrie, Priest Esteban Vazquez, Priest Nikolai Lochmatow, Priest Anthony Saunders, Priest Joseph Whittaker, Protodeacon Thomas Keith, Deacon Paul Garklavs, and Deacon Jordan Kingery. The choir sang under the direction of Reader Philip Sokolov.

During the Little Entrance, Fr. Esteban was awarded the Gold Cross.

The Litany for the Departed was taken commemorating those who were involved with the care and protection of the icon, including Archbishop John (Garklavs) and Mitered Archpriest Sergei Garklavs.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy His Eminence spoke about the presence an gift of the Holy Tikhvin Icon. His Eminence also recalled his personal experience with the return of the Tikhvin Icon from Chicago to Tikhvin, Russia 19 years ago.

Following the liturgy a festive meal was held in the parish hall.

Later that evening, the faithful gathered once more for the singing of the Akathist Hymn to the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God.


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.

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