People venerating the icon. Photo by Amber Morgan, Little Bird Photography.
This week our church was incredibly blessed when we hosted the visiting Pochaev Mother of God icon at our parish. This famous icon from the Pochaev Lavra monastery in the Ukraine is quite famous and well known for the many miracles and healings associated with it. I’ve been told that surrounding the icon in the Ukraine are hundreds of pairs of crutches and canes, no longer needed by people who came to venerate and walked away, healed. We had it at our parish from roughly 7 pm to 11 pm, and over 750 people came to venerate it (our little parish has around 100 people at Divine Liturgy, so this was a big crowd for us!).
I took a few pictures, but most of mine turned out fairly blurry due to the low light and having a pretty basic camera, so please visit our friend Amber’s gallery of her pictures- they’re beautiful, and I’ve included some of them in this post as well.
Many candles were lit.
Which required much maintenance as they melted and were replaced.
The crowd was quite packed into our little church- normally Pascha is the most crowded night of the year, and I can safely say that during the icon’s visit, the church had at least double or triple the number of people jammed inside it.
View of the crowd from the stairs before the iconostasis.
An akathist service was held, which was absolutely beautiful, despite the reported inside temperature in the nave of 28 degrees Celsius. Check out my quick video clip of the crowd during the akathist here.
Gina at the reader' s stand.
Photo by Amber Morgan.
Our church' s chandelier.
Vigil lamps before the iconostasis.
Our parish' s patron saint, St. Peter the Aleut. Photo by Amber Morgan.
After the conclusion of the akathist, Fr. Larry presented the visiting monks from Pochaev with some icons of St. Peter, and was presented himself with… well, something. I’m actually not sure what it was; I thought it was a pin of the Pochaev icon, but someone else told me it was a commendation of some kind. Perhaps someone will clarify in the comments?
Fr. Larry presenting icons to the monks. Photo by Amber Morgan.
After that, the church was left open so people could line up to venerate the icon. Kyle and I sat by the reader’s stand to wait until the line died down, but I can assure you that it didn’t slow down at any point. After the crowd in the church had left, more people showed up, with the lineup often extending all the way to the bus stop outside the church. Finally, at around 10:45 pm, the line got fairly short and Kyle and I made our way up.
A member of our parish venerating the icon.
The icon is very beautiful- this is a copy brought from Pochaev, since the original does not leave the monastery. We were assured that the copy has all the properties and blessings of the original, however, because it’s not the actual wood that houses the grace of God. Like Fr. Larry always says, it’s not magic! Kyle and were very excited for our chance to see and venerate this very famous icon, especially on its first trip outside of the Ukraine.
Closeup of the icon by Amber Morgan.
Kontakion V from the Akathist to the Pochaev Mother of God:
O mistress, you have been revealed as a star that flows from God for those who seek salvation, for you lead them to the Sun of Righteousness. Just as in your earthly life you were shown to be a champion before your Son for the people at Cana of Galilee, likewise, following your most glorious departure to heaven, you offer supplications on behalf of believers from the ends of the earth as you bear them before your Son. Here, on the mountain at Pochaev, you grant manifold healings from Him to the people as they cry out to God: Alleluia!