Icons of the Theotokos: Rescuer of the Drowning

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Rescuer of the Drowning

Yesterday, Sunday December 20th we commemorated the Icon of the Mother of God, “The Rescuer of the Drowning”.

In a village near Novgorod, on the bank of the Denso River, there was a whirlpool that made crossing especially dangerous, leading to the losses of numerous ships, and many lives as well.

Miraculously, an icon of Our Lady was found resting on the riverbank and eventually, a church was dedicated to the Mother of God, with the icon enshrined in a place of honor. This icon, called “the Rescuer of the Drowning” was the subject of many fervent prayers from pilgrims crossing the river. And after a time, the number of shipwrecks dramatically decreased to none.

When the invading Poles destroyed the village in the 17th century, a new church, dedicated to Archangel Michael was constructed on the site of the former, with the icon resuming its place of honor. Many miracles were performed, with icon coming to be revered across many of Russia’s port cities.

In the 18th century the icon was transferred to Monastery of the Transfiguration in Novgorod, where it remained until the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. The record of the original icon was lost thereafter, but in 2003, a man named Sergei Babushkin gave the Church an identical antique copy of the original “Rescuer of the Drowning” icon, which was enshrined in the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration as well, beginning its revival.

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