1. ‘Savior Almighty’
‘Savior Almighty’ occupies the leading image in the Orthodox iconography, so it is always placed in the central dome of each Orthodox church – the most honorable place.
The icon depicts the Son of God Jesus Christ in the image of a judge and the Heavenly King, so the icon is also called ‘Pantokrator’ (translated from Greek as ‘the ruler of everything’). The chief doctor of souls and bodies, who knows everything. It is to the Most High that our prayers should first of all be addressed. Sometimes despondency and despair penetrate into our hearts, but the Savior always gives a helping hand, and faith and hope come to life again.
In Russia, the icon appeared around the XII century and served as a prayer icon of Russian princes. The icons of the ‘Savior Almighty’ often myrrh-stream and heal from many diseases.
2. ‘Holy Trinity’
The icon of the Holy Trinity is valued as one of the most important images that must be present in every Orthodox church.
The ‘Trinity’ is the greatest and mysterious icon of mankind. A picturesque image was written according to all the canons of icon painting in the workshop at the church. It tells us about the unity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The icon ‘Trinity’ was created so that every believer could visualize the trisolar light of Orthodoxy. The Lord is one in three persons – it is difficult to comprehend and understand, but it must be sincerely believed, accepting this as a given.
For Russians, the image of the Trinity is confessional, and before it, they ask for forgiveness of the sins committed. The Orthodox Church celebrates the Day of the Holy Trinity on Sunday, the day of Pentecost – 50 days after Easter.
3. ‘Our Lady of Kazan’
This miraculous icon of the Mother of God appeared after the fire in Kazan in the 16th century in a rather mysterious way. Theotokos appeared to a nine-year-old girl Matrona in a dream and told her to find her icon on the ashes. This dream was repeated again and again, until the girl decided to go with her mother in search of the icon. And indeed, the icon was found there.
This image of the Mother of God is the most revered and beloved, and considered the ‘Great Intercessor of Russia.’ The icon more than once helped the Russian people in the most difficult times. Its appearance symbolizes victory over the Time of Troubles. Russians thank it for the disposal of Moscow from the invasion of the Poles. Before the Battle of Poltava, Peter the Great with his army prayed to the image of the Kazan Mother of God. The icon was the main patron of the Romanov dynasty. During the Great Patriotic War, this icon was the spiritual driver of the Russian people.
Beginning with Baptism, all the most significant events in life of a Russian Orthodox take place with this icon. It gives a blessing for marriage, helps in work and in everyday problems. Feast days of ‘Our Lady of Kazan’ are 21 July and 4 November.
4. ‘St. Nicholas the Wonderworker’
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is perhaps the most revered saint after the Mother of God in Russian Orthodoxy.
The fate of this saint was not easy, perhaps, because of life’s trials and difficulties, he chose a religious path. As a child, he was already fond of reading the Divine Scriptures, and, having matured, became an archbishop. Since then, Nicholas is known as the Wonderworker. For all his life he was credited with many miracles and deeds. According to one of the legends, he resurrected the sailor who fell from the mast; he also saved three young girls, whose beauty was “sold” by their own father as the only way to pay off numerous debts. And there are numerous such stories. St. Nicholas has always been the personification of justice and nobility.
Russian Orthodox people pray before the icon of St. Nicholas at any, it would seem, even the most unsolvable problems. He helps wanderers, sailors, women in childbirth, and even students. The icon is able to heal from any ills, protect from adverse events, ill-wishers, and temptations, and create real miracles. Turning to St. Nicholas with sincerity and faith, people often notice that everything happen in their life exactly as they asked. Feast days of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker are 6 December and 9 May.
5. ‘Holy Blessed Matrona of Moscow’
The Holy Blessed Matrona is one of the most revered Moscow saints. Matronushka, as she is affectionately called by many, lived a hard life full of deprivation. She was born in a poor peasant family and since birth was completely blind. At the age of eight she began to predict the future and heal all those who suffered, and at the age of 18 she lost the ability to walk. In the revolutionary years, she had to wander a lot in Moscow, without having a roof over her head.
All her life she helped all those in need. It was her who foretold the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, and said that the Russian people would win. She predicted her death three days before, but continued to receive people.
And today, Matronushka helps all believers, appealing to her asking for healing from illnesses, for help in financial matters, for keeping the family together, for the children’s well-being, and much more. The whole life of this strong woman has become a model of the great spiritual feat of love, patience, and self-denial. Days of memory of the Holy Blessed Matrona are 8 March, 2 May, 2 September, and 5 October.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.