Icon of the Mother of God of the Don


Commemorated on August 19

The Don Icon of the Mother of God was written by Theophanes the Greek. On September 8, 1380, the day of the Kulikovo Battle (and the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos), the Icon was with the Russian army, giving it help, but after the victory it was passed on by the Don Cossacks as a gift to their commander, Great Prince Demetrius of the Don, who then transferred it to Moscow.

At first, the icon was at the Kremlin's Dormition Cathedral, and later at the Annunciation Cathedral. In commemoration of the victory on the banks of the River Don it was called the Don Icon.

In 1591, Crimean Khan Nuradin and his brother, Murat-Girei, invaded Russia with a large army. Advancing on Moscow, they positioned themselves on the Vorobiev hills. A procession was made around Moscow with the Don Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos in order to guard the city from the enemy.

On the day of battle it was in the military chapel in the ranks of the soldiers, and set the Tatars to flight. In 1592, the Don monastery was founded at the very place where the icon had stood amid the soldiers. The wonderworking icon was placed in this monastery, and its feast day was established as August 19.

By established custom, once every four years His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia performs the rite of the preparation of Holy Chrism in the small cathedral in honor of the Don Icon of the Mother of God.

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