May 16th: Theotokos of Vladimir (6)
The Vladimir icon is still displayed in Moscow, in a former church on the grounds of the Tretyakov Gallery. Her feast day is June 23rd (Julian calander)/July 6th (Gregorian calendar). Even more than most famous icons, the original has been copied repeatedly for centuries, and many copies have considerable artistic and religious significance of their own.
One special version of the Vladimir Icon bears the name, “Tree of the Muscovite Nation.” The first of these Icons was painted during the decline of ancient Russia, in 1668, by the royal iconographer Simon Ushakov, for the Holy Trinity Church in Moscow. This icon depicts the founders of Moscow, Metropolitan Peter and Grand prince Ivan I, watering a tree growing out of the Kremlin walls. The branches bear medallions of Russian tsars, Metropolites and saints, all honoring and revering the Vladimir icon, which is situated in the middle of the tree.
As all the saints have done before us, let us raise our voices and sing with them the praises of the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of all of us:
Rejoice, Pillar of fire, guiding those in darkness.
Rejoice, Protection of the world, more spacious than a cloud.
Rejoice, Nourishment, successor to manna.
Rejoice, Minister of holy joy.
Rejoice, Land of promise.
Rejoice, you from whom flows milk and honey.
The references for this week's texts are: