Our Lady of Pochaev
The history of Our Lady of Pochaev beings in 1198, only about two centuries after Christianity became institutionalized following the conversion of St. Vladimir. In this year a monk ascended Mount Pochaev in order to pray. After beginning his prayers, a pillar of fire appeared to him and to some shepherds that happened to be nearby. The flames withdrew to reveal the Blessed Virgin. The apparition of the Virgin Mary left behind a footprint, from which a spring of water flowed. This first event would lead to many other supernatural events through the special dedication of the Blessed Virgin to this region.
Many of these miracles are the result of the veneration of the icon of our Lady of Pochaev [see right]. It first arrived in the region as a gift of Metropolitan Neophit to Anna Hoyska, an important patron of the Church, in 1559. The icon shows our Lady, wearing a crown, and holding the infant Jesus. In her other hand “she holds the end of her veil.” This being a ‘tenderness’ icon, Jesus and Mary’s face touch, while Jesus gives a blessing with his hand. To Mary’s right are the prophet Elijah and Saint Myrna, while to her left are St. Stephen and the Reverend Abraymey. Mary’s face is described as being “beautiful but sad.” The icon itself is 29 x 23 cm, and made out of red pitched cypress. The origin of the icon remains a mystery.
The miraculous character of the icon presented itself almost immediately, as only a short time later Anna Hoyska’s blind brother regained his sight. After Anna’s death in 1644 much of her property was donated, including the icon, to a nearby Basilian Monastery. After some legal obstacles were resolved, the icon was finally placed in the brother’s Church of the Dormition of the Blessed Mother. The monastery’s chronicles record numerous miracles during the icon’s stay at their Church. Two of these miracles are exceptionally noteworthy.
The first took place during the invasion of the Turks in 1675. The populace of Pochaev gathered at the monastery in order to weather the attack. Gathered together and facing certain death at the hands of the invaders, they “turned to Mary for protection and help.” The Blessed Virgin appeared along with Venerable Job of Pochaev and a host of angels. Her white mantle spread over the monastery and the arrows of the Turks were deflected. This caused enough confusion among the invaders that they scattered, allowing the Ukrainian military to turn their enemies back.
The second notable miracle came during the construction of a large church in Pochaev in the 1780’s. A monk ran into the church demanding that everybody leave. After the approximately two hundred workers had left the church, the roof collapsed. In total, five-hundred-thirty-nine miracles have been recorded in the monastery chronicles.
After an investigation, the icon was crowned by Pope Clement in 1773. However, in 1831 Tsar Mykola gave the monastery to Orthodox monks, and expelled the Basilians. In 2001, the icon was temporarily moved from Pochaev to The Cathedra of the Trinity (Saint Daniel’s Monastery) in Moscow.
Quoted from: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/questions/yq2/yq373.html