May 12th: Theotokos of Vladimir (2)
The first trace we have of the “Virgin of Vladimir” is in 450 AD, when it arrives in Constantinople after being in Jerusalem for more than 400 years. In 1131, the Patriarch of Constantinople sent the icon to Kiev (part of Russia at the time) as a gift to the Grand Duke Yuri Vladimirovich Dolgoruky, who placed it in the Mezhyhirskyi Monastery. Later, the government of the convent was passed on to the Duke’s son, Prince Andrey Yurievich, more commonly known by his sobriquet Bogolyubskiy, which means Andrey the God-loving.
In 1155, the prince decided to return to his homeland in Suzdal, taking the icon with him. Upon his arrival in the town of Vladimir, the people met their prince with joy, revering the icon and showering it with love. Afterwards, on the way to Rostov, six and half miles from Vladimir, the prince’s horses stopped near the Klyazma River, and refused to go any further. Even newly harnessed horses refused to proceed. The astounded prince fell in front of the Icon and prayed. The Theotokos appeared to him with a scroll in her hand, and ordered to leave Her image in the city of Vladimir, and to build a monastery on the place of her apparition in honor of her Nativity.