The Yaroslav-Perchersk Icon of the Mother of God

Commemorated on May 14

Yaroslav-Perchersk Icon of the Mother of God

Wednesday May 27, 2020 / May 14, 2020

Apodosis of Pascha. Tone five.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Martyr Isidore of Chios (251). St. Isidore, fool-for-Christ, wonderworker of Rostov (1474). New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1939). Venerable Nicetas, bishop of Novgorod and recluse of the Kiev Caves (1108). Martyr Maximus, under Decius (250). Venerable Serapion the Sindonite, monk, of Egypt (542). St. Leontius, patriarch of Jerusalem (1175). Trebensk (1654) and Yaroslavl (Pechersk) Icons of the Mother of God (1823).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 18:22-28
John 12:36-47

The Yaroslavsk (Pechersk) Icon of the Mother of God:

Alexandra Dmitrievna Dobychkina, who was from a middle-class family in Yaroslavl, suffered terribly from spiritual and physical ailments for seventeen years. In 1823 she beheld a vision of a church in which was an Icon of the Mother of God. Offering her heartfelt prayers to the Most Holy Theotokos, she asked to be freed from these afflictions. One day Alexandra had a vision in which she was shown a church where there was a certain Icon of the Mother of God. Then a mysterious voice told her to search for the Icon in that church, and there she would be healed.

Yaroslav-Perchersk Icon of the Mother of God

On May 1, 1823, Alexandra managed to find the church beside the residence of the Bishop of Yaroslavl. The church was very old, and was dedicated to the Feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord (August 1). Recognizing the church as the one she had seen in her vision, Alexandra went inside to look around. Suddenly, she found herself before an Icon of the Mother of God painted on the wall, the same one she had been shown in the vision. Struck with fear, she fell to the floor with terrible convulsions, and writhed in pain. When these subsided, Alexandra stood up and prayed fervently before the holy Icon. As she prayed, she began to feel relief from her painful torments. The next day she was perfectly well.

From that time, many miraculous cures have taken place before this Icon for those who pray to the Most Holy Theotokos with faith and reverence.

The Yaroslavl-Caves Icon of the Mother of God depicts her seated on a throne with her Divine Child, and it also includes Saints Anthony and Theodosios, the wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves (September 2). Two Angels stand behind the throne on either side.

There are two other Yaroslavl Icons: the first is the famous Yaroslavl Icon (June 8), which is of the Eleousa (Tenderness) type, and dates from the XIII century. The second is the Yaroslavl-Kazan Icon, which was revealed on July 8,1588. 

HYMN OF PRAISE

BLESSED ISIDORE THE FOOL-FOR-CHRIST

Blessed Isidore wrestled with himself

Until he became as passionless as a withered tree.

But even a withered tree is filled with honey by bees,

And from a dry rock a spring sometimes gushes forth.

The body of the blessed one was filled with the Spirit;

His heart was sweetened with the honey of grace;

In the body of a “fool” was the fountain of God’s power;

In poor garments was a hidden treasure.

Wonderful Isidore lay on the garbage heap.

Through the streets he cried out, leapt and fled,

With neither roof nor bread, without friends,

But under the watchful eye of his Creator.

He was a lesson to vain men;

And to those bound like beasts to the earth, he was a reproach.

By his life, it was as though he wanted to say:

“Men, your cares lead to misfortune.

A fortunate man is not one who steals from God,

But one who possesses God alone as his treasure.”

REFLECTION

A sin that serves as a scandal to others is a twofold sin. A wise man strives neither to scandalize anyone nor to lead anyone into sin by his sinful example. St. Ambrose praised such sagacity in the Emperor Valentian, who died at an early age, citing these examples from his life: “Hearing that he was spoken of throughout Rome as a passionate hunter and a lover of wild beasts–which in reality he was not–and how this passion was distracting him from his duties of state, the emperor immediately ordered that all the wild beasts in his preserve be slain. Again, upon hearing how certain malicious people spread the rumor that he ate lunch early (wanting by this to make him out to be a glutton), the emperor imposed a strict fast on himself both privately and publicly. At public meals, he was rarely seen to place a morsel of food in his mouth. And again, when his sisters disputed with a certain man over some property, the emperor, even though he had the right to judge the dispute, directed the case to the open court so that he would not be accused of partiality.” Indeed, with great fear, this pious emperor upheld the words of the Lord: Woe to him who shall offend one of these little ones (Matthew 18:6).

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the action of God the Holy Spirit upon the apostles:

1. How the Holy Spirit led the apostles through all sorrows and tribulations, filling their hearts with consolation and joy;

2. How the Holy Spirit made those seeds of the Gospel that the apostles sowed throughout the world grow and flourish, even where they seemed to have been scattered in vain.

HOMILY

on Christ as the Branch of David

“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15).

With these words, the Holy Prophet Jeremiah prophesied the coming of the Holy Savior of the world from the line of David. The Branch of Righteousness is Jesus Christ Himself. These words could not have referred to anyone else, since, at the time of the Lord Jesus’ coming, a prince of the lineage of David no longer sat on the throne at Jerusalem but rather a foreigner, Herod the Idumean. Nor from then until today has there been any other prominent branch of David, either as a worldly ruler or as a spiritual ruler. At the time of the Nativity of Christ, there were but a few people from the tribe of David, and they were unknown and impoverished. Among these were the Most-holy Virgin and the righteous elder, Joseph the carpenter. It is clear, therefore, that for the thousand years after this prophecy was spoken, no other majestic branch from the lineage of David appeared, except the Lord Jesus. This becomes more clear from the following words: As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister to Me (Jeremiah 33:22). These words could only apply to the spiritual descendants of David through Christ the Lord, that is, to Christians. For only the number of Christians (and not the physical descendants of David, of whom there are not any at all) during these twenty centuries can be measured with the stars in the heavens and with the sand in the sea.

O my brethren, let us rejoice that we Christians are among this countless number of God’s people, among the greatest people in the history of the world, both as to numbers and as to character. Let us rejoice even more that we belong to that divine Branch of David, Who by His Blood redeemed us from the stranger, adopted us and made us heirs and co-heirs of the Eternal Kingdom. O All-good Lord, Thou hast redeemed us prodigal sons from contemptible humiliation and hunger, and hast made us sons of the Kingdom.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.