CHICAGO -- On November 9, 2016 His Grace, Bishop Paul, clergy and faithful gathered at Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, IL to witness the presentation of a replica of the Wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God by Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin, Russia.
It had been originally planned for the icon to be presented at Holy Trinity Cathedral during the Feast of St. John of Chicago, celebrated over the weekend of October 29-30 (see related story), however, the icon was delayed during its journey from Tikhvin, Russia to the United States.
On the morning of November 9, Bishop Mstislav, with the help of Zdravko Marchev, carefully removed the packing materials used to protect the icon, covered in an ornate, engraved riza made of sterling silver and covered in pearls and semi-precious gems. He prepared the icon in a protective case for display and veneration.
A procession was then held bringing the icon from the parish hall into the Cathedral. An Akathist was concelebrated by Bishop Paul and Bishop Mstislav, assisted by Deacon Thomas Keith (Holy Trinity Cathedral) and Deacon Alexander Koranda (St. George Cathedral). In attendance was Hieromonk Onufrii, also of Tikhvin, Father Alexei Vassiouchkine who translated for Bishop Mstislav, Archpriest John S. Adamcio, Holy Trinity Cathedral’s Dean, Archpriest Mykola Bodnarchuk, Matushka Olga Prevas (the daughter of Archpriest Sergei Garklavs of blessed memory) and various clergy members. The day concluded with the veneration of the icon and light refreshments in the parish hall.
According to ancient tradition, the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God is one of several painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. In the fifth century, the icon was taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople, where it was enshrined in the Church of Blachernae, which was built especially for this purpose. In 1383, seventy years before the fall of Constantinople, fishermen on Lake Ladoga in the principality of Novgorod in northern Russia witnessed the icon miraculously hovering over the lake’s waters amidst a radiant light. Shortly thereafter, the icon appeared in several neighboring towns, including the village of Motchenitsy on the bank of the Tikhvinka River, before it finally appeared near the town of Tikhvin. A wooden church dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God was built on the site. In 1560, by order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, a men’s monastery was established near the church. Over the centuries, the icon’s fame spread far and wide, with copies of the original adorning countless churches throughout Russia and beyond.
During the World War II German occupation, the Nazis removed the icon from the Tikhvin Monastery, from whence it was taken to Pskov and subsequently to Riga, Latvia. When Riga was evacuated, His Grace, Bishop John [Garklavs] of Riga -- later Archbishop of Chicago and Minneapolis -- in whose care the icon was placed, took the icon to Bavaria, where it was venerated by Orthodox faithful who had been displaced because of the war. While Soviet agents had spotted the icon, Bishop John was permitted to take the icon to the US in 1949, where it was venerated for many years at Chicago's Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. After Archbishop John's repose in 1982, Archpriest Sergei Garklavs, his adopted son and Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, became the icon’s guardian. In July 2004, the icon was returned to Russia
and once again enshrined in the Tikhvin Monastery.