The Orthodox world has had a great many anniversaries to celebrate lately—the 100th anniversary of the execution of the Royal Martyrs, followed by that of St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess and those with her the next day, the 30th anniversary of the revival of monasticism in the Kiev Caves, and the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ celebrated this past weekend.
Faithful in the northeastern Estonian city of Narva added their own festivities to the list of anniversaries over the weekend, with the commemoration of the 460th anniversary of the appearance of the wonderworking icons of the Mother of God and St. Nicholas, considered the Heavenly patrons of the city, reports the site of the Narva Diocese of the Estonian Orthodox Church.
The festivities began on Saturday with processions from the Church of the Twelve Apostles, the Church of the Narva Icon of the Mother God, and the Church of the Hieromartyrs Dimitry and Alexander of Narva along the city streets. Having met and united into a single procession, the faithful continued on to Holy Resurrection Cathedral. The processors were greeted by His Grace Bishop Lazar of Narva and Prichudye with the cathedral clergy and faithful under the festive ringing of the cathedral bells.
Bp. Lazar then celebrated the Divine Liturgy inside the Resurrection Cathedral, concelebrated by the clergy of several local parishes.
Following the reading of the holy Gospel, Archpriest Andrei Vasiliev of the Resurrection Cathedral offered a homily in which he spoke about the two miraculous icons:
According to the chronicles, in 1558, the Narva Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God and the icon of St. Nicholas, belonging to some Orthodox merchants of Narva, were declared to be the rulers of all the city’s idols and were taken from the merchants and were thrown into a fire over which a pot of beer was brewing. Then, the fire broke out and the entire city burned. The icons were later found miraculously unharmed in the ashes of the city, and were met in Moscow by Tsar Ivan IV.
The miraculous icon of St. Nicholas is preserved to this day in the Resurrection Cathedral in Narva. The Mother of God icon remained in nearby Ivangorod for about 400 years, though its fate from 1944 on is unknown. A church was built in honor of the Narva Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God in 2001.
The Divine Liturgy was followed by a procession around the cathedral.