Icon of the Mother of God of Lubyatov


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Commemorated on March 19

This holy icon, which dates from the fifteenth century, was located in the St. Nicholas Monastery in the Pskov region of Russia.

There was once a silver plaque with an inscription from 1890 on the reverse of the icon. It told of how Tsar Ivan the Terrible came to the monastery of St. Nicholas at Lubyatov during Great Lent in 1570. He had stopped there on his way to punish the people of Pskov, for he believed that they were about to give their allegiance to the Prince of Lithuania.

During the morning service, he happened to gaze at the icon of the Mother of God, and his heart was moved to compunction. “Let the killing stop,” he said. “Put away your swords.”

Other events that occurred include:

Soldiers of the Polish king Stephen Batory shot at the icon as they were on their way to attack Pskov in 1581.

Communists confiscated the icon in 1928, and in 1930, it was placed in the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow.

The icon has elements from three other types of icons of the Mother of God. Essentially, it belongs to the Eleousa type, like the Vladimir Icon (May 21, June 23, August 26). The gesture of the divine Child resembles the “Sweet-Kissing” or “Tenderness” Icon of Smolensk (March 19), and the scroll seems to come from the Hodigitria Icon (July 28).

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)