Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sitka Icon of the Mother of God

Joyous feast! The Sitka Icon of the Mother of God is one of the oldest of North America's wonderworking icons. The Icon was painted in the style of the Kazan Icon by Vladimir Borovikovskiy in the 18th or early 19th century, with a portrayal of God the Father blessing included above the Mother of God and the Christ Child. In 1850 the employees of the Russian-America Company purchased the Sitka Icon and donated it to the newly completed Cathedral of St. Michael in Sitka, Alaska.

Since its arrival in North America the Sitka Icon has had numerous healings and miracles attributed to it by the local Orthodox faithful. The Mother of God is portrayed especially peacefully in the Icon, but the artistic elements of the Sitka Icon aside faithful entering churches where the Icon has rested have been immediately struck by the imminence of the Mother of God, of her peace-giving presence amongst those coming to venerate her image. This peacefulness is apparent even to some Evangelical Protestants, who have been known to keep a copy of the Sitka Icon despite their rejection of the veneration of the saints and images.

Although originally placed on the iconostas of St. Michael's Cathedral the Sitka Icon is now enshrined in another part of the cathedral and regularly visits the faithful in Alaska and other parts of the United States. More on the Sitka Icon's history can be found here. May the Mother of God's protection and intercessions be with us all!

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