Icon of the Mother of God of Suprasl
Commemorated on July 28
The possible date of the founding of the monastery in Suprasl is 1498. The foundation of the monastery was confirmed by the Patriarch of the Constantinople Joachim in 1505. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the monastery was the centre of spiritual and cultural life.
The Suprasl Icon of the Theotokos dates back to 1503. It was commissioned by the Bishop of Smolensk, Jozef Sołtan (later Metropolitan of Kiev), one of the founders of the Suprasl Monastery. The icon was a copy of the one in Smolensk that had been written in the eleventh century.
The Suprasl Icon was one of the most venerated images of Mother of God in the region through many centuries, as many miracles and healings are ascribed to it. During the First World War, the icon was taken by the monks to Russia in order to escape the invading Germany armies. It was later found destroyed. The current icon in Suprasl is a copy that was written 100 years ago for the 400th anniversary of the monastery. Both Orthodox and Catholics piously reverence it.
In the 20th century, the monastery suffered hard times. In 1919, it was taken over by the state. The buildings were afterwards given to the school of agriculture.
Only in 1984 was the monastery reestablished. In 1993, by the decision of the government, the monastery was given back to the Church. From that time, active reconstruction has taken place. The Church of the Annunciation is still being rebuilt. Approximately 20 monks currently live in Suprasl.
The icon is one of the Hodigitria type.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)