Friday, 23 July 2021

Eastern Rite - Holy Martyrs Trophimus, Theophilus and Those with Them & the Miracle of the Pochayiv Icon of the Mother of God against the Invaders.

Today is the Feasts of the Holy Martyrs Trophimus, Theophilus and Those with Them and the Miracle of the Pochayiv Icon of the Mother of God against the Invaders.
The Holy Martyrs Trophimus, Theophilus, and thirteen martyrs with them, suffered during the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Brought to trial, they bravely confessed themselves Christians and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. After fierce tortures, they broke the legs of the holy martyrs and threw them into a fire. Strengthened by the Lord, they came out of the fire completely unharmed, and they glorified Christ all the more. Unable to break the will of the holy confessors, the torturers beheaded them.

Troparion — Tone 4

Your holy martyr Trophimus and his companions, O Lord, / through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. / For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through their intercessions, save our souls!

Commemoration of the Miraculous Appearance of the Mother of God at Pochayiv, which saved the Monastery from the assault of the Tatars and Turks.

The history of Our Lady of Pochayiv beings in 1198, only about two centuries after Christianity became institutionalized following the conversion of St. Vladimir. In this year a monk ascended Mount Pochayiv in order to pray. After beginning his prayers, a pillar of fire appeared to him and to some shepherds that happened to be nearby. The flames withdrew to reveal the Blessed Virgin. The apparition of the Virgin Mary left behind a footprint, from which a spring of water flowed. This first event would lead to many other supernatural events through the special dedication of the Blessed Virgin to this region.

Many of these miracles are the result of the veneration of the icon of our Lady of Pochayiv. It first arrived in the region as a gift of Metropolitan Neophit to Anna Hoyska, an important patron of the Church, in 1559. The icon shows our Lady, wearing a crown, and holding the infant Jesus. In her other hand “she holds the end of her veil.” This being a 'tenderness' icon, Jesus and Mary’s face touch, while Jesus gives a blessing with his hand. To Mary’s right are the prophet Elijah and Saint Myrna, while to her left are St. Stephen and the Reverend Abraymey. Mary’s face is described as being “beautiful but sad.” The icon itself is 29 x 23 cm, and made out of red pitched cypress. The origin of the icon remains a mystery.

The miraculous character of the icon presented itself almost immediately, as only a short time later Anna Hoyska’s blind brother regained his sight. After Anna’s death in 1644 much of her property was donated, including the icon, to a nearby Basilian Monastery. After some legal obstacles were resolved, the icon was finally placed in the brother’s Church of the Dormition of the Blessed Mother. The monastery’s chronicles record numerous miracles during the icon's stay at their Church. Two of these miracles are exceptionally noteworthy.

The first took place during the invasion of the Turks in 1675. The populace of Pochayiv gathered at the monastery in order to weather the attack. Gathered together and facing certain death at the hands of the invaders, they “turned to Mary for protection and help.” The Blessed Virgin appeared along with Venerable Job of Pochayiv and a host of angels. Her white mantle spread over the monastery and the arrows of the Turks were deflected. This caused enough confusion among the invaders that they scattered, allowing the Ukrainian military to turn their enemies back.

The second notable miracle came during the construction of a large church in Pochayiv in the 1780s. A monk ran into the church demanding that everybody leave. After the approximately two hundred workers had left the church, the roof collapsed. In total, 539 miracles have been recorded in the monastery chronicles.

After an investigation, the icon was crowned by Pope Clement in 1773. However, in 1831 Tsar Mykola gave the monastery to Orthodox monks, and expelled the Basilians. In 2001, the icon was temporarily moved from Pochayiv to The Cathedra of the Trinity (Saint Daniel's Monastery) in Moscow.

More recently, Fr. William McNichols wrote a copy of the famous icon. This work was commissioned by the Archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska, to be given as a gift to the Russian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Sergius of Rodonezh Lavra in Magadan, Far East, Russia.

The following is a special prayer to be said at the installation of a "pilgrimage icon" of the Blessed Mother of Pochayiv in a home. During the week the blessed icon is in one's home, try to recite five 'Our Fathers' and five 'Hail Marys' each day.

Rejoice, O Glory of the universe.
Rejoice, O Temple of the Lord.
Rejoice, O Mountain overshadowed by the Holy Ghost.
Rejoice, O Refuge of all.
Rejoice, O Golden Candelabrum.
Rejoice, O Honorable Glory of all Christians.
Rejoice, O Mary, Mother of Christ God.
Rejoice, O Paradise.
Rejoice, O Divine Altar.
Rejoice, O Cloud.
Rejoice, O Golden Urn.
Rejoice, O Hope of All.

All Holy, most blessed and glorious Mary, Mother of God and our Mother! We come to you today. We turn ourselves to you and petition you. Hear us! We believe and acknowledge that you are the wondrous Guardian of all persecuted and unfortunate. That is why we place our hope in you. More than once have you showed us your kindness. Please show us once again.

Open the most sweetest Heart of your Son and our God. Intercede for forgiveness of our sins. Help us in spiritual and material needs, and, for the families who so graciously welcome your icon, give them your graces.

Mother most good, cover our Church and our Ukrainian people with your mantle. Help our brothers in Ukraine in their suffering. Give them strength in their fight with their atheist enemies, be consoling and unfailingly firm in their harassment and shield them in their misery.

Be for them and us All-Merciful Guardian and let us praise you openly and freely together with them, Oh Virgin, among all virgins, and your Son, our God, Jesus. Let there be glory, honor and adoration now, always, and forever. Amen.

Troparion — Tone 5

Those who pray before your holy Icon, O Sovereign Lady, / are granted healing and receive knowledge of the true Faith; / and they repel the attacks of the Hagarenes.* / Therefore, entreat the remission of sins for us who fall down before you, and enlighten our hearts to thoughts of piety; / and offer up supplication to your Son for the salvation of our souls.

Kontakion — Tone 1

Your Pochayiv Icon, O Theotokos, has been shown as a source of healing, and a confirmation of the Orthodox Faith. / Therefore, deliver us who come to it from misfortune and danger; / preserve your Lavra unharmed; / strengthen Orthodoxy in the neighboring lands; / and, by your prayers, free your suppliants from sins; / for you can do whatever you desire.* The descendants of Hagar, Abraham's concubine.

N. B.: This Service is sung on July 23, when the Mother of God appeared above the church in Pochayiv in 1675 and put the Moslems to flight. The miraculous Pochayiv Icon is also commemorated on the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos (September 8), and on Bright Friday (the commemoration of her appearance and footprint). On those days, however, the service is done according to the Menaion and the Triodion.

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