Our icons originate from the Sofrino convent located in the Moscow region of Russia and were blessed by the church.
“Adding Intellect” or “The Enlightening”
The Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ are covered up to the shoulders with a bell-shaped cloak, a symbol of sorrow and glorification. Angels can be seen sitting on clouds with burning candles symbolizing the light of the truth. The symbolism of the icon reflects the basic idea of Christianity-the idea of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to allow forgiveness of our shortcomings. It is believed that the icon helps in studies and making decisions in difficult situations.
This is a very classic image of St. Michael in battle armor holding the Christian flag and olive branch of peace. He is one of the principle angels and is known as a leader of God’s army during the Lucifer uprising. There are writings of him in all major Religions and his name is recorded in the scriptures four times.
Archangel St. Gabriel
Saint Gabriel is also known as the Angel of Incarnation. It is believed that he invited the shepherds of Bethlehem to see the newborn Jesus. The angel Gabriel is mentioned in the scriptures four times, including giving the Virgin Mary news that she would be the Mother of the Messiah. Gabriel is known as the bearer of good news and the helper of men
The icon of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist. While painting the picture, Mary told him about the life of Jesus and he later incorporated it into his gospel. The painting was later found in Jerusalem in 326 A.D. by St. Helen who gave it to her son and had a shrine built for it in Constantinople. The painting was again located in Czestochowa, Poland in a church that was invaded in 1430 by a looter who struck the painting two times with a sword. On his third attempt, he fell to the ground in great pain and died. The sword cuts are still visible on the painting. The painting has been credited with many miraculous events for those who make pilgrimage to the painting. The soot residue from centuries of votive lights and candles burning in front of the painting contribute to the name of the Black Madonna. The original painting is located in Poland nowadays.
Each Christian is given a Guardian Angel by God who is invisible to our eyes, but protects each person throughout their life. Angels support us during the good times and protect us against evil forces. They are even with us after death. You are strong if you can hear your angel. Guardian Angel is a witness in front of God regarding our life. Evening prayer to your Guardian Angel protects you during the night from bad spirits. Guardian Angel protects believers from falling. They never leave and are ready to help you anytime.
Feast of the Intercession. Pokrov.
The Intercession of the Theotokos or the Protection of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, known in Church Slavonic as Pokrov (protection), and in Greek as Skepê (ΣκÎπη), is a feast of the Mother of God celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches. The feast celebrates the protection afforded the faithful through the intercessions of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). In Russia it is celebrated as the most important solemnity after the Twelve Great Feasts. The feast is commemorated in Eastern Orthodoxy as a whole, but by no means as fervently as it is in Russia and Ukraine. The Russian word Pokrov, like the Greek Skepê has a complex meaning. First of all, it refers to a cloak or shroud, but it also means protection or intercession. For this reason, the name of the feast is variously translated as the Veil of Our Lady, the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos, the Protection of the Theotokos, or the Intercession of the Theotokos.
The icon, “Inexhaustible Cup” or “Undrinkable Cup” dates back to the late nineteenth century, when a peasant suffering from alcoholism had several dreams of a venerable old man instructing him to go to the Convent of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Serpukhov located about sixty miles south of Moscow, where he should request a moleben/or prayer before an icon called the Inexhaustible Cup. After a long journey, the man reached the convent, but he was told that no such icon was known. He was so convincing that they searched until the icon was discovered hidden in a passageway. The moleben/or prayer was served, and the peasant fully recovered. The icon became venerated throughout Russia once word spread, of being a source of healing from alcoholism.
“It Is Meet”
The original of the icon “IT IS MEET” is located at Mt. Athos (Afon), Greece. The words of veneration…”It is truly meet to bless you…” were said to have been given by Archangel Gabriel in 980 to the monk who was singing a hymn before an icon. The scroll in the Child’s hand reads: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor”.
Resurrection of Jesus
Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus: It is that Jesus returned to bodily life on the Sunday Following the Friday on which he was executed by crucifixion.
Icon of Christ “Divine Inspiration” also known as “Made Not By Hand” is one of the oldest and most recognized images of Christ.
Last Tsar’s Family
The Royal Family was Glorified and Canonized by the Church. Before the Holy Martyrdom of the Royal Martyrs, it was not uncommon to find each Family member in deep prayer. It was almost as if they where making preparations for their fate. Their last days alive were as if they lived in preparation to go to Golgotha, where all seven of them would be crucified to one Cross. Now considered saints, the Tsar Martyr Nicholas II, Tsarina Martyr Alexandra, Tsarevich Martyr Alexis, Grand Duchess Martyr Olga, Grand Duchess Martyr Tatiana, Grand Duchess Martyr Marie, and Grand Duchess Martyr Anastasia, this holy glorification and act of Holy Canonization took place in Moscow, Russia on August 19-29, 2000. Olga and Marie are on the left. Tsar Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna and Alexis are in the middle. Tatiana and Anastasia are on the right.
The original of “Ostra Brama“ (Ostrabramskaya) icon of Mother of God was delivered to Vilnius, Lithuania from Crimea in the 14th century. The icon provides a focal point for Byzantine (Eastern) Catholics, Roman Catholics and the Orthodox faith. The original icon can be seen from the street below in its chapel housing at the Ostra Brama gate. Her crossed hands show an attitude of prayer
and The Mother is depicted on the icon without the Child.
Mother of God Pantanassa, the Healer of Cancer
The holy and miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary was brought to the Vatopedi monastery by the blessed elder Joseph from Nea Skete. The Monastery of Vatopedi is one of twenty monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula (Greece) and is located on the northeastern side of the peninsula. This icon is known for working many miracles, especially healing people with cancer. There are many recent records of people who have been healed from cancer after participating in the Supplicatory Canon to the Pantanassa at the monastery.
Madonna on Throne
The “Ruling” icon represents Mother of God as Tsarina on the throne in red imperial clothes. Holy Trinity is depicted above the image of Mother of God. She is holding symbols of Ruling-scepter and sphere.
Madonna of Iverskaya
This icon from Mt. Athos gets its name from the Iveron (Iberian) Monastery. St. Luke is also given credit for this icon. In 1648, it became famous in Russia after Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich had a chapel built for a copy of the icon. According to legend, 365 fathers of the Iveron Monastery held an all night service. Holy water was used to bless the original and the panel on which the replica would be painted. The water was also given to the painter to mix in with his paint.
Madonna of Jerusalem
The icon depicts the Virgin Mother holding the Christ Child. This icon is also attributed to St. Luke and was brought from Jerusalem to Constantinople in the 5th Century. After his conquest of the city in 988, the icon was presented to the Great Prince Vladimir during the 9th century. He was also generous enough to give the icon to the people of Novgorod at the time of their conversion and baptism.
Madonna of Kazan
The icon was discovered in 1579 in Kazan, central Russia, in the ashes of a destroyed house, wrapped in cloth after a young girl saw the Mother of God repeatedly in her dreams telling her where it was buried. The icon was with soldiers freeing Moscow in 1612 and with troops fighting Napoleon in 1812. One of the oldest originals is now kept in the Marian shrine of Fatima, Portugal.
Madonna of Pochaev
This icon was brought to the Pochaev region of the Voluinsk province and given to Anna Goyskaya in 1550 by the Metropolitan Neofit of Constantinople. The icon has performed miracles and in 1598, Anna gave the icon to a community of monks on Pochaev Hill, which was already a site known for the appearance of the Mother of God in 1340 where she was surrounded by flames and left her footprint in the stone.
Madonna of Smolensk
This is one of the most famous national “miracle working” icons. This icon is said to be attributed to the Apostle Luke and is said to have come from the Byzantium to Chernigov when in 1046, the Greek princess Anna wed Vsevolod of Chernigov. The icon was given to the Smolensk Cathedral in 1101. During the battle of Borodino in 1812, the original was prayed to for success. The original has since been returned to Smolensk.
Madonna of Tikhvin
The original of “Tikhvin” Mother of God was painted by St. Luke and was kept in the Church of Blachernae, Constantinople for about five hundred years. It was sent to Russia in 1383, before the upcoming fall of Constantinople. It was said that fisherman saw it surrounded in lights over Lake Ladoga, Russia. The icon was later found on the bank of the TIKHVINKA River and was placed in the church. The icon was kept in Chicago and was recently returned to Russia.
Madonna of Vladimir
This famous icon pays tribute to St. Luke and was brought to St. Andrews Cathedral in Central Russia via Constantinople in 1155. The icon was then placed in the city of Vladimir, central Russia, from which the name is derived. It is believed the icon saved Moscow from Tamerlane in 1395 and from the Poles in the year 1612. Although the icon has been repainted several times, it still survives today in Russia.
Mary and the Burning Bush
The icon is also known as the “unburned bush” or Neopalimaya Kupina. The Mother of God can be seen holding the Christ Child in her left arm and a ladder in her right arm set in a four point blue star. The symbols of the Four Evangelists: the winged man of Matthew, the eagle of Mark, the ox of Luke, and the lion of John are depicted in the red points of the star. Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jacob are also on the icon from the old Testament as seen by the Mother of God and her role in the Incarnation. The icon is also used as form of fire protection and to help stop a fire once it has begun.
Melter of Evil Hearts
The icon depicts the Mother of God with three swords on her left breast, three swords on her right breast and one sword in the middle, hanging from below. The icon is also known as the “Prophecy of Simeon” due to the fact that Simeon predicted that a sword would pierce the soul of Mary. The seven swords also symbolize the seven sorrows of Mary.
Mother of God “Three Hands”
The monasteries in Mt. Athos, Greece have been attacked throughout history. During one attack, the arm was cut off one of the defenders of the monastery during a battle. He prayed to the Virgin and his arm was miraculously restored to it’s original state. He was so grateful, that he attached an additional arm to the icon horizontally at the bottom area of the icon. It is believed that the three hands of the “Three Hand” icon shows: support of the Child, the way to God through the Child and the third arm is to support you in your good deeds in life.
Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
In Christian theology, the Nativity of Jesus concerns the Incarnation of Jesus as the second Adam, in fulfilment of the divine will of God, undoing the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. The Artistic depiction of Nativity has been a major subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Since the 13th century, the Nativity scene has emphasized the humility of Jesus and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early “Lord and Master” image, affecting the basic approaches of Christian pastoral ministry.
Saint George Slaying the Dragon is a famous Christian icon. Saint George was known for his great strength, intelligence and beauty. He rescued the King’s daughter from the dragon and was baptized by the King.
Saint Nicholas was born of wealthy parents in Patrara (Turkey). He was orphaned at an early age, but his Christian upbringing greatly contributed to his charitable deeds. As an ordained priest, he was made Bishop of Myra when the bishop of his district died. Saint Nicholas is well known for his love of children and he used his vast wealth to help those in need such as: orphans, widows and poor families. He is honored by children and adults all over the world. He is now known in the West as Santa Clause, the great patron Saint of children and giver of gifts. He is also known in Russia as Grand Father Frost.
Seeker of the Lost
The icon is also known as the “Tree and Hut” Mother of God and was venerated By 18th-19th Century homeless and destitute peasants in urban areas. It is also one of the beloved icons of Russians who suffered under serfdom. The icon is also referred to as “Mother of God, Searcher of the Abandoned”, “Rescuer of the Perishing” or even “Seeker of the Dead” because salvation from freezing to death is one of the miracles attributed to it by a peasant from Bor. The icon is also known for healing a deathly ill child, thus making this icon a protector of children.
“Sooth My Sorrow”
In 1640, the icon “Sooth my Sorrow” was taken to Moscow and placed in the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Shortly thereafter, a woman who’d been suffering with a difficult and long illness heard a voice telling her to go to the icon for healing. The Mother of God is shown holding a reclining child Jesus as he holds a scroll that reads: “Render true Judgments”.
Her life was changed on February 4, 1905 after her husband was killed by an assassins bomb. She gave up the food she was accustomed to, living on only bread, milk and vegetables. She decided to devote her life to the service of the poor. One of her possessions was a plain white towel made of peasants linen with flowers embroidered on it. Saint Elizabeth showed great strength, calmness and was determined to do the will of God. On the unfortunate night of July 18, 1918, she and others were brutally attacked and left dying a mineshaft, but it is said that she attended the wounds of another and could be heard reciting hymns before she succumbed to her wounds.
Saint Tatiana was a Christian Martyr in 2nd century Rome. She was a deaconess of the early church. According to legend, she was the daughter of a Roman civil servant who was secretly Christian, and raised his daughter in the faith. This was dangerous, and one day the jurist Ulpian captured Tatiana and attempted to force her to make a sacrifice to Apollo. She prayed, and miraculously, an earthquake destroyed the idol and part of the temple. Tatiana was then blinded, and beaten for two days, before being brought to a circus and thrown into the pit with a hungry lion. But the lion did not touch her and lay at her feet. This resulted in a death sentence being pronounced, and after being tortured, Tatiana was beheaded with a sword. The miracles performed by Saint Tatiana are said to have converted many people to the fledgling religion. Saint Tatiana is patron saint of students. In Russia Tatiana Day also known as “Students Day”, is a holiday.
Madonna of Zhirovitskaya
The icon was first seen in 1470 near the village of Zhirovits in the Grodnesk province of Poland. A shepherd found the icon in a tree located in the woods belonging to the Lithuanian nobleman Alexander Saltuk. The icon has been attributed with many miracles.
The “Sign” Mother of God/Znamenie
The original icon from 1170 has been credited with saving the city of Novgorod from the invasion of the Suzdal troops. Miraculously, the icon shed tears when it was struck by an arrow and turned its face towards the city as a visible “sign” that the Mother of God was interceding on its behalf. The prototype of the Icon was a marble relief located in Constantinople. In Russia the type “Znamenie” became venerated after its use by the City of Novgorod against the invading army of Bogolyubski in 1170.
Tree of Life
The “Tree of Life” icon depicts the Nativity scene in the middle and The Holy Trinity at top of the icon. Many other icons are included in the tree such as: Madonna of Iveron, Madonna of Smolensk, Madonna of Kazan, Madonna of Chernigov, “Quick to Hear”, Madonna of Tihkvin, “it Is Meet”, Madonna of Pochaev, “Breastfeeder”, “Sooth My Sorrow, “The Sign” and others.
Holy Trinity by Rublev. The icon was painted by Andrei Rublev in the beginning of the 15th century in the memory of St. Sergei Radonejski. The background of the icon comes from the Old Testament story in which God appears to Abraham nearby the Oak Tree in the image of Three Angels. The original of the icon is located in the Tretyakov Art Gallery in Moscow, Russia.
Nicholas II of Russia (May 18,1868-July 17, 1918) was the last Emperor of Russia, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. He ruled from 1894 until his forced abdication in 1917. His rule ended with the Russian Revolution of 1917, after which he and his family were executed by Bolsheviks. Nicholas’s full name was Nikolay Aleksandrovich Romanov. His official title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russia. Subsequent to his canonization, he has been regarded as Saint Nicholas The Passion Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church. Tsar Nicholas II was Glorified and Canonized by Russian Church in year 2000.
Breast Feeding Madonna. Giver of Life.
Divinity scholars argue that these images of mother and breast-feeding child have important religious significance. Jesus was a baby like all others. His divinity does not exclude his humanity. The Virgin Mary who nurses her son Jesus is one of the most eloquent signs that the word of God truly and undoubtedly became flesh.
Virgin Mary in Blue/Fragrant Flower
The icon depicts the Child seated on the Virgin Mary’s left arm and a stalk of a white lily in her right hand. The icon was kept in the Pokrov Monastery of Voronezh. The flower is symbolic of the unfading bloom of virginity.
Virgin Mary “Umilenie”/ Emotion
The original of this icon dates back to 1337 in Novgorod, Russia where it was glorified. The Mother of God is depicted standing alone with her hands crossed before her breast. The original of this icon was kept by St. Seraphim Savorski who prayed to the icon most of his life, including his last minutes. It was seen that the eyes of the image were shedding tears.
Virgin Mary with Seven Swords
The icon was glorified through several miraculous healings. The icon became known when a lame and suffering man heard a voice telling him to go to the church and pray before this icon. He did so and was healed. The icon of “Seven Swords” Mother of God was kept in Tozhensk-John the Theologian Seven Swords Church in the region of Vologda. The Seven Swords symbolize the Seven Sorrows of Mary: 1- The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2: 25-35). 2-The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2: 13-15). 3-The Child Jesus Lost in the Temple (Luke 2: 41-50). 4-Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross (Luke 23: 27-29). 5-Mary at the foot of the cross (John 19: 25-30). 6-Mary receives the body of Jesus (Psalm 130). 7-Mary witnesses the burial of Jesus (Luke 23: 50-56). It is believed that one of the versions of Seven Swords is that the Mother of God protects you seven days of the week.
Holy Blessed Matrona
Matrona was born to Dmitry and Natalia Nikonov in the village of Sebino in Tula Province. She was the fourth child. Her struggling parents planned to place her in an orphanage after her birth, but her mother changed her mind after she had a dream. Natalia dreamed that a white bird of holy beauty, with empty eye sockets landed on her breast. When Matrona was born, she was blind, with eyelids closed over empty eye sockets. Her mother took this as a sign from God. By the time she was eight, she had revealed a faculty of prophecy and healing powers. At a time when other religious people were sent to gulags or sent into exile for their beliefs, no one ever betrayed Matrona’s location in Moscow. People continued to come to Matrona for advice and for help with their troubles. She is said to have predicted her own death three days in advance, accepting all visitors during those final days. Following her death in 1952, her gravesite became a pilgrimage site. Before her repose the Blessed Matrona said: “Everyone, everyone who will come to me: tell me, as if I were alive, of your sorrows, and I will see you, and hear you, and help you.” She was recently canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Panteleimon the Healer
St. Panteleimon had been educated as a physician, and he “dedicated his life to the suffering, the sick, the unfortunate and the needy. He treated all those who turned to him without charge, healing them in the name of Jesus Christ. He visited those held captive in prison. These were usually Christians, and he healed them of their wounds. Other physicians brought his case before the Emperor Maximian. St. Panteleimon confessed to being a Christian and refused to offer sacrifice to the state gods. Although his body was thrown into a fire, it came out unharmed and was buried by Christians. His head is located on the island of Andros at the Panachrantos monastery and, on occassions, is taken to other monasteries for veneration.
Saint Princess Olga
Olga, born in about 890, was the wife of Prince Igor of Russia, and after his death in 945 she was regent for their son. She appears to have ruled well by secular standards. According to the annals, she was terrible and merciless to the enemies of her motherland. But the Russian people loved and respected her as a mother for her caring devotion, compassion and fairness. She never tyrannized anyone, she was a fair judge, her punishments were merciful, and she cared for the poor, the elderly and the crippled. She listened patiently to every petitioner and was glad to fulfill every fair request. In 957 she visited Constantinople and, either then or earlier, became a Christian. According to an author from that period, St. Olga “having perceived the true God, Maker of heaven and earth, and having converted into Christianity, destroyed the idols of the devil and began to live according to Jesus Christ’s commandments. She loved God with all of her heart and soul and sanctified herself with the good deeds of clothing the poor, giving food and rest to homeless, providing the destitute, orphans and widows with everything they needed and doing this all with the quiet love of her heart.” She died in 969, probably on 11 July. Later (before the Mongol invasion) God glorified the relics of the Princess Olga with wonders and she was sanctified.
Virgin Mary and Christ-multi panel
Christ on crucifix is in the middle separating four icons. Virgin Mary of Smolensk is depicted on the top left icon, Virgin Mary with Seven Swords is depicted on the top right icon, “Sooth my Sorrow” is depicted on the bottom left icon, and “Seeking of the Lost” is depicted on the bottom right icon.