Icon of the Mother of God of Sven


clip_image002Commemorated on May 3 (also on August 17)

The Sven Caves Icon of the Mother of God was written by St. Alypius of the Caves. On the icon the Mother of God is depicted sitting upon a throne, with the Divine Infant on Her knees. St. Theodosius is on the right side of the throne, and St. Anthony of the Caves is on the left. Until 1288, the icon was in the Kiev Caves Monastery, where it was glorified by miracles. In 1288 it was transferred to the Briansk-Svensk Monastery, which is dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

At Briansk, Prince Roman of Chernigov became blind due to an unknown ailment. Hearing about the miracles worked by the icon written by St. Alypius, the prince sent a courier to the monastery requesting that the icon be sent to him. A priest journeyed with the icon along the River Desna. After the voyage, the boat landed on the right bank of the River Svena. After lodging for the night, they went to the boat to pray before the icon, but they did not find the icon where they had last left it. Looking around, they saw it on a hill on the opposite bank, resting in the branches of an oak tree. News of this reached Prince Roman, and he was led to the icon on foot.

The prince prayed fervently before the icon and vowed to build a monastery on that spot, donating all the land which could be seen from the hill. After praying, the prince regained his sight. First he saw the footpath, then nearby objects, and finally all the surroundings.

After making a shrine for the icon, the prince had a Molieben served, and laid the foundations for a wooden church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. The tree on which the icon rested was cut down and used as wood for other icons.

The feast day of the Sven Icon of the Mother of God is also commemorated on August 17 (the day of the repose of St. Alypius the Iconographer).

The icon was glorified by healings of the blind and of the possessed, and has long been regarded as a protector from enemies.

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