Icon of the Mother of God of Tolga


Commemorated on July 18 (also on August 8)

The Tolga Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos appeared on August 8, 1314 to Rostov Hierarch Prochorus. Traveling through his diocese, Prochorus visited White Lake and then journeyed along the banks of the Sheksna and Volga Rivers, on the way to Yaroslavl. He stopped at sundown on the right bank of the Volga River, seven miles from the city.

At midnight, when everyone was asleep, Prochorus awoke and saw a bright light illuminating the area. The light came from a fiery column on the other bank of the river, to which there stretched a bridge. Taking up his staff, Prochorus went to the other bank, and approaching the fiery column, saw the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, suspended in the air. Astonished at this miracle, Prochorus began to pray. When he went back to the camp, he forgot to take his staff.

The next day, St. Prochorus made ready to continue his journey by boat, but did not want to leave without his staff. Despite intense efforts, the staff was unable to be found. However, St. Prochorus remembered that he had left his staff on the other side of the river when he had walked across the miraculous bridge. He then revealed what had occurred, and sent servants across on a boat to the other shore. They came back and reported that they had seen an icon of the Mother of God in the forest suspended in the branches of a tree, next to his bishop’s staff.

St. Prochorus quickly crossed over with his retinue to the opposite shore, and he recognized the icon that had appeared to him the night before. After fervent prayers before the icon, the forest was cleared, and the foundations of a church were created. When the people of Yaroslavl learned of this, they came out to the spot. By midday the church was already built, and that same evening, St. Prochorus consecrated it in honor of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos. Having installed the icon there, he established a Feast on the day of its appearance.

St. Prochorus later built the Tolga Monastery near this same church.

He entered into the Heavenly Kingdom on September 7, 1328.

The Tolga Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is also commemorated on August 8.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)