May 6th: Our Lady of Smolensk (3)
The icon pursues its journey: In the fourteenth century, Smolensk fell into the hands of the Lithuanian princes. Sophia, the daughter of Prince Vitovt, is given in marriage to Moscow’s Great Prince Basil Dimitrievich and in 1398, she brings the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God with her to Moscow. The holy image is placed in the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin, on the right side of the Royal Doors where it is venerated for more than fifty years.
In 1456, at the request of Bishop Misael and the citizens of Smolensk, the icon solemnly returns to Smolensk in a procession, with two identical copies remaining in Moscow: one in the Annunciation Cathedral, and the other, “a measure for measure,” in the Convent of Novodevichy.
The original icon, which was returned to Smolensk, is believed to have been destroyed by fire during the German occupation of the city in 1941. However, a great number of copies of the icon were made, including many of the most venerated of Russian icons, and one very famous one, which we know as Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Two very important battles were won thanks to the intercession of Our Lady of the Way, and we will examine these victories in the next two days.
Rejoice, O seer of the ineffable Will.
Rejoice, O surety of those praying in silence.
Rejoice, you the Preface of Christ's miracles.
Rejoice, you the Pinnacle of His commandments.
Rejoice, O heavenly Ladder, by which God descended.
Rejoice, O Bridge leading those from earth to Heaven.