May 13th: Theotokos of Vladimir (3)
The history of Russia and the Vladimir icon are inseparable, particularly because of the miraculous interventions ascribed to the icon, news of which have always filled the Russian people with love for it. The Vladimir icon was so prominent in the religious lives of the Russian people that little by little it became customary for the Russian tsars to be crowned in front of the icon. And each time a new Metropolitan or Patriarch was about to be elected, the names of the candidates were inserted inside the frame containing the icon.
In 1164, Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy took this Icon on his campaign against the people of Volga Bulgaria, which had adopted Islam as the state religion, making them direct enemies of the orthodox Russia. After praying before the icon, and encouraging his soldiers to do the same with these words: “All who put their trust in Thee, Our Lady, will not perish!”, they went to battle with trust in the help of the Mother of God. The Volga Bulgarians were defeated. Following their victory, the soldiers and their prince prayed in front of the icon and a miracle occurred: light, coming from the icon and from the Holy Cross, illuminated the entire area. Several other miracles were accomplished through the wondrous icon, and we will recount some of them in the next few days.