Orthodox Christianity, Russia’s most powerful confession, gives the faithful a variety of objects of worship, including icons, which are beautiful, spiritual, and believed (by some) to work miracles and defend the country from the enemy.
1.Vladimir’s Our Lady
In the early 12th century, this icon was presented to Rus as a gift. It was given to a Russian prince by the Patriarch of Constantinople, and it moved through numerous hands through wars and conflicts until settling in Vladimir.
Prince Vasily of Moscow brought the portrait to Moscow in 1395, begging God for help. Tamerlane, a fearsome and deadly Middle Asian conqueror, set his eyes on Moscow the same year. His army would have beaten the Russians and set fire to Moscow if it hadn’t been for Muscovites praying to Our Lady of Vladimir. Tamerlane changed his mind about invading and opted not to.
The situation was repeated twice again, in 1451 and 1480: Moscow was on the edge of being besieged, occupied, and burnt by the Mongols, but they decided not to fight the Russians. Orthodox believers felt that the picture had rescued their city. This is why some people consider the symbol to be miraculous.
2.Our Lady of Kazan
Another Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary has been produced because Russians admire her. It was surprisingly unearthed 140 years later, after it had been lost since the 15th century, following a disastrous fire in Kazan. The Lady of Kazan allegedly came to a little girl named Matrona in her sleep and encouraged her to hunt for her image amid the ashes, according to folklore. The young girl heeded the advice and entered the monastery where the image was housed as a nun.
The Lady of Kazan, like her “sister” in Vladimir, was finally transferred to the capital. The Russian troops used it as a sacred flag in their war against the Poles who took Moscow in 1612, which they won. Since then, Russia’s Holy Protectress has been referred to as the Virgin Mary of Kazan.
The unexpected happened near 1904: the painting was taken from a monastery in Kazan. The fate of one of Russia’s most cherished emblems has been unknown since then. Nonetheless, after traveling across the globe, Pope John Paul II returned to the Orthodox Church an excellent replica of the original icon.
3.”The Trinity” by Andrei Rublev
This symbol has no tales or myths attached to it, and it isn’t considered miraculous. Nonetheless, it is a symbol of Russia and one of the most stunning pieces of art. The symbol is really tranquil and harmonious. “The Trinity” is said to “radiate with the highest, celestial light that we can only perceive in geniuses’ works,” according to Russian painter Igor Grabar.
4.The Theotokos of Smolensk
When Prince Vsevolod married the Byzantine emperor’s daughter in 1046, the Byzantine emperor sent him this painting, which is supposed to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist.
This emblem, which was preserved at Smolensk (400 kilometres west of Moscow), was believed to protect Russian land against western assaults. The image was delivered to Moscow by Napoleon’s army when they conquered Russia in 1812, and the entire city prayed for salvation. The original emblem, on the other hand, was lost during World War II, when Nazi Germany held Smolensk from 1941 to 1943. The city now owns only a pristine duplicate.
5.Our Lady of the Don
This is supposed to be another of Russia’s numerous “ladies,” painted by Theophanes the Greek, Andrei Rublev’s mentor and a talented icon painter. The Cossacks sent this emblem to Prince Dmitry of Moscow the day before he faced the Mongols in the memorable battle of Kulikovo, according to folklore.
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING A HOME ICON
The Christian world is rich with icons of Christ and His saints. They can be found in Orthodox churches, monasteries, and even Orthodox Christians’ houses. People store icons in a specific worship area known as an icon corner, where family members congregate for prayers. As a result, an icon corner may be regarded of as a home iconostasis that helps people concentrate their thoughts and enter into a discourse with God. Whether you currently have an icon corner in your house and wish to purchase an icon for it, or you’re just getting started with this hallowed worship space, keep the following pointers in mind.
Before you buy an icon for your home, there are a few things you should know.
Which icons to use is something I’m undecided about.
You must have icons of Jesus Christ and the Mother of God first and foremost. Many individuals utilize wedding icons that were given to them as gifts on their wedding day, but you can use any holy image of the Lord and the Virgin Mary for your home iconostasis. You may also buy icons of your patron saint as well as other saints with whom you have a special relationship. In general, while choosing religious symbols for the icon area, you should trust your instincts and follow your heart.
What is the best location for the icons?
Before purchasing icons for your house, you must first decide where the icon corner will be put. Tradition dictates that the iconostasis face east. Icons can be displayed on a wall or stored in a cabinet. Make sure they’re not near any family photographs, cosmetics, or souvenirs and those they’re not over the television. You’ll need a separate space set out for worship.
What’s the most effective way to organize icons?
Icons of saints should not be hung or placed above those of Jesus Christ and Mary. The Holy Trinity icon is the only icon that can be placed above it. The Christ icon is usually on the right, while the Mother of God icon is on the left. Keep in mind that saints’ icons, angels and archangels’ icons, and festal icons should all be arranged in order of importance, since each has its own symbolism and purpose. You might wish to get guidance from a clergyman about this.
You’re now ready to buy an icon for your home and make your own iconostasis for heavenly communion.
Hopefully, this little instruction will help you get things done right.