Today we celebrate the feast of the Yaroslavskaya Icon of the most Holy Mother of God, one of the “Umilenie” of “Tenderness” icons that are so loved in the Slavic lands.
This was the first wonderworking icon of the Mother of God revealed during the Tatar-Mongol yoke, and was brought from Kiev to Yaroslavl soon after the invasion of Batu Khan by the holy right-believing Princes Basil and Constantine (July 3).
As we stand or kneel before the icon, we encounter the Virgin’s deep love and care for the Infant-Saviour, as she holds Him close to her – though her face shows reflective inner thought rather than looking at the Child or at us. The Saviour touches His mother’s face, focusing on her as he holds the hem of her robe with his other hand.
This is a perfect icon of the sacred motherhood and love of the Mother of God, to whom we turn in prayer, particularly asking her maternal care for the Archpriest Yves, the Subdeacon Peter, Gennady, Alexey, Valery, Irina, Anastasia, Fidelmia, Anamieka, Phoevos, Mary-Louisa, Mairi, Ruth-Silouana, the infant Lawrence, Susan and all who are sick- and for all refugees from Ukraine, who like her holy icon have fled from their homeland to escape war and bloodshed.
Save thy servants from harm, O Theotokos, for all we, after God, flee unto thee, as to an unassailable wall and intercessor.
Look with loving-kindness, O all-hymned Theotokos, upon my cruel bodily suffering, and heal the sickness of my soul.
Most Holy Lady, Theotokos save us!