Kazan Icon Of The Mother Of God – a miraculous icon, also known as the Holy Protectress of Russia, is located in the Bogoroditsky Monastery, near the Kazan Kremlin. It is one of the most revered icons in the Russian Orthodox Church. Among all the Virgin Mary icons, the Kazan image has the largest number of miraculous lists.
The history of the miraculous Kazan icon began in the 16th century. In early July 1579, the city was ravaged by a devastating fire; half of the Kremlin has burned out. At that time The Mother of God appeared to a ten-year-old girl Matrona, and showed her the whereabouts of the icon and told to find Her icon among the ashes of a burned house. The girl told everything to her mother, who herself turned to Orthodox priests, asking them for help. According to legend, no one could find the icon, and only Matrona immediately came across a shining image.
Soon, the rumor of a miraculous icon spread throughout the district, people from all over the city began to flock to Kazan to witness it. After the prayer service, in the presence of a huge crowd of people, the icon was transferred to the Annunciation Cathedral – the first Orthodox Church in Kazan, erected in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible.
The fate of the original icon is not exactly known: in 1904 it was stolen from the Kazan monastery and probably destroyed by the thieves, no trace was left. Numerous copies of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God were then made. Today they can be seen in various corners of the earth. All of them are recognized by the Orthodox Church as miraculous.
In 2005, The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexei II gave the miraculous “Vatican” list of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God to the Kazan Eparchy. Every year, on November 4, thousands of religious processions are held with the Vatican image from the Annunciation Cathedral of the Kazan Kremlin to the place of the icon – the Kazan Bogoroditsky Monastery. This ancient tradition was revived in the early 2000s.
A description of the Kazan icon
The icon, written on a cypress board, is a half-length image of the Mother of God with the Infant Christ, stretching out his hand for blessing. On the Kazan icon, the figure of the Mother of God is depicted frontally, with a slight tilt of the head towards the Divine Infant. It is a symbol of mercy, love, maternal tenderness and at the same time a worship of the Savior. The views of the Mother of God and the Infant are directly addressed to the worshiper. They express the completeness of communication between God and His creation, man. The image is so bright, as if the icon painter had just finished his work.
Miracles of the Kazan Icon in Russian History
The Kazan icon of the Mother of God showed its wonders and helped the Russian soldiers. During the Time of Troubles (1605-1613), Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin fasted for three days and prayed in front of the Kazan icon, asking Her to send them help during the Polish invasion. According to legend, the night before the assault, Archbishop Arsenius of Elassonahad had a vision of St. Sergius of Radonezh. He said the following: ” Arsenius, our prayers have been answered; by the intercession of the Virgin, God’s judgment on the Fatherland has been granted mercy; tomorrow Moscow will be in the hands of the besiegers, and Russia will be saved.” The next morning, on October 22, 1612, Russian troops stormed Kitai-Gorod, and another two days later the Polish Catholic aristocrats were finally expelled from the Kremlin. November 4 (October 22, Old Style) is the All-Russian day of celebration in honor of the Kazan Icon, that saved Russia from the Polish invasion of 1612.
In the War of 1812, the All-Holy Theotokos again showed its mercy. It is known that Field Marshal General Mikhail Kutuzov prayed in front of the image of the icon before leaving for the battle. The most famous case of the Patriotic War of 1812, associated with the help of the Kazan icon, is the Battle of Vyazma on October 22, during which the Russians defeated the French.
What the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God is prayed for
The Kazan icon of the Mother of God is famous for its miracles. According to the monks of the Kazan Mother of God Monastery, people often come to the temple to leave notes about the miracles that happened in their life.
People often pray in front of this icon for healing of diseases, for protecting the home from disaster and fire, getting rid of enemy invasions and for family well-being. In addition, the Orthodox believe that sincere prayers to the Mother of God will certainly be heard.
How to get there
The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God is located in the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Kazan’s Bogoroditsky Monastery.
Address: Kazan, 5 Bolshaya Krasnaya St
Nearest Bus Stop: “Baturina”, «Kremlevskaya»;
Metro Stations – «Kremlevskaya», «Ploshchad’ Tukaya»
The miraculous icon of the Kazan Mother of God can be seen during an excursion to the Bogoroditsky Monastery, or during a sightseeing tour of Kazan.