Commemorated on July 28 (also on October 13 and June 26)
The Seven Lakes (Sedmiezernaya) Icon of the Mother of God was glorified by great miracles in the seventeenth century in the area around the city of Kazan. This holy icon was in the Seven Lakes Hermitage near the city of Kazan. Originally, seven small lakes surrounded the monastery, but these later merged into one large body of water.
The monk Euthymius, founder of the Seven Lakes Monastery, brought the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God from Great Ustiug near Kazan on October 13, 1615. He placed the icon in the church of the newly established monastery.
In the middle of the seventeenth century, a deadly plague raged throughout Russia, eventually reaching Kazan. 48,000 people died within a short time, which included almost all the inhabitants of the city.
A pious monk had a vision in a dream at that same time – a radiant man appeared to him and ordered that the citizens should establish a seven-day fast and go out to meet the icon of the Mother of God which was coming to them from the Seven Lakes Hermitage for their deliverance.
The monk told the authorities about the vision, and the Seven Lakes Icon was brought through the city gates in a procession. After circling the city, it was placed in the Church of the Annunciation. After an All Night Vigil and Liturgy the next morning, the icon was carried to each of the homes in the wooden city. After seven days of prayer and processions, the deadly plague ended.
When the monks asked for the icon to be returned, a decision was made to celebrate an All Night Vigil, then to carry the icon in procession back to the hermitage. However, a heavy snowstorm came up, which prevented them from leaving the church. A decision was made to let the holy icon remain in Kazan for a time. It was returned to the Seven Lakes Monastery in 1655.
Today’s Feast commemorates a second deliverance of Kazan from a plague in 1771. Orthodox inhabitants of Kazan and the surrounding area deeply revere this holy icon, and receive healing from sickness and help in misfortune from the Mother of God.
The Seven Lakes Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is also commemorated on October 13 and June 26.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org )