On July 8, 1337, a caretaker at the Holy Trinity Church in Novgorod heard a noise inside the church and went to investigate. He was astonished to see that the Icon of the Mother of God from the second tier of icons above the northern door of the iconostasis had left its place and was floating in the air, and tears were flowing from the eyes of the Virgin.
Archbishop Alexis was notified, and he and the clergy arrived at the church along with a large crowd. A special shrine was built for the icon, and July 8 was appointed as its date of commemoration.
That same year, a plague began in Novgorod. People flocked to pray before the wonderworking icon, and the plague stopped. In 1352, Archbishop Basil ordered that an annual procession be made from the church of Holy Wisdom to Holy Trinity Church.
In the summer of 1366, the Holy Trinity Church burned down, but the “Tender Feeling” Icon floated in the air above the flames. Archbishop Alexis came to the church to serve a Molieben, and the icon descended into his hands. The fire went out, but a burn mark seven inches long was left on the back of the icon.
Great Prince John III took the icon to Moscow in 1397, where it remained until 1508. At that time, the Mother of God appeared to Princess Maria in a dream and ordered that the icon be returned to Novgorod.
The “Tender Feeling” Icon is of the Umilenie, or Eleousa type.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org )