Featured Author of the Antiochian Archdiocese: Fr. John Oliver
Fr. John Oliver is the priest of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He is the author of numerous articles and essays, and of Touching Heaven: Discovering Orthodox Christianity on the Island of Valaam, published by Conciliar Press. A graduate of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, he joined the faculty as instructor in Old and New Testament and American Religious History. He and his wife Lara have three daughters and one son.
Fr. John Oliver also broadcasts the Hearts and Minds podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.
Have you heard the story about the Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God? This icon measures 34 inches by 43 inches, and is named for a village in northwestern Russia that is its current home. It has been a source of great veneration and comfort to the Russian people, especially during times of great suffering.
According to Orthodox Christian tradition, the icon was painted by the Apostle and Evangelist Luke—as in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—and after its completion it stayed in Jerusalem for five hundred years. In the sixth century, the icon was taken to Constantinople, where it became a reassuring sign of the tenderness of the Mother of God for the inhabitants of that city.
The icon made its way north to the land of Russia. In 1383, fisherman on the northern Russian Lake Ladoga witnessed the icon hovering above the waters. It appeared in various locations, and eventually came to rest near the Tikhvin River where, in 1560, the Russian Czar Ivan the Terrible ordered that a monastery be built specifically to house the icon—a monastery dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God, the feast celebrated on August 15th.