I had the opportunity to venerate this most Holy Icon when it was at St Tikhons a year or so ago.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
On July 23, the Church remembers the miraculous appearance of our all-holy
Lady Mary, the ever-virgin Birthgiver of God, at Pochayiv, Ukraine (then
part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) in 1675, when the local
Dormition Monastery was under attack by Muslim Turks.
Ringed around by hostile forces and left with nothing but weak defenses, the
people of Pochayiv resorted to fervent prayer, begging the Birthgiver of God
(patron saint of the monastery) and Saint Job of Pochayiv (a much-venerated
local holy man) to intercede with the Lord for their protection and
deliverance. They kept vigil before the Birthgiver of God's wonderworking
icon and the relics of Saint Job, the monastery's most precious and
grace-bearing spiritual heirlooms.
On the morning of July 23, as the Turks were preparing to launch a final and
devastating assault, the besieged refugees in the monastery began to sing
the akathist hymn to the Birthgiver of God. With the first words of the
hymn, "Oh Champion General...," the Birthgiver of God appeared over the
church, stretching out a shining, unfurled veil over the monastery, and
escorted by Saint Job and angels with unsheathed swords.
The sight of this otherworldly phenomenon caused panic to break out among
the Turks, who shot arrows at the apparition; but the arrows turned backward
and hit those who shot them. Terror seized the hostile Muslim forces, many
of whom trampled and killed each other as they attempted to flee, in utter
confusion. The defenders of the monastery set out in pursuit and took many
prisoners, some of whom converted to orthodox Christianity and spent the
rest of their lives following the Lord Jesus Christ at the monastery.
In our own day and age, Muslim hands are raised in violence and murderous
intent once again, just as they were at Pochayiv in 1675. Let us beg our
all-holy Lady, defender of Pochayiv and mother of all the Church's children,
to intercede with her divine-human Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to defend us
again those who commit terrorism, wage war and take innocent lives in the
name of Islam. Let us earnestly seek the intercession of His saints and
pray for the peace of the whole world, the safety of all people and the
conversion of hearts and minds bent on ill will, evil, destruction and
"All-holy Lady Mary, ever-virgin Birthgiver of God, living gateway of our
salvation! Be merciful to us sinners and hear our prayer in our danger and
distress, as enemies of your divine-human Son's Gospel breathe threats and
mayhem against us. Protect us from them with your holy and powerful
maternal prayers, as you did so long ago in Pochayiv. Beg the Lord, to whom
you gave birth, to keep His world in peace and safety, protect the innocent,
stay the hands of the violent, forgive us our sins and convert the hearts
and minds of all from evil to good. Please for us as our advocate, for your
intercessions are a wall of defense for us in our defenselessness -- and
you, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, are the woman whom all generations
call blessed. Amen."