The Akhtyrsk-Achairsk icon of the Mother of God was painted by the blessing of Metropolitan Theodosius of Omsk and Tarsk in 2002 by Omsk iconographer Gennady Adayev. Its iconography is based on the Akhtyrsk icon of the Mother of God by which the Most Holy Patriarch Alexis II blessed Achair Monastery of the Cross. What distinguishes the Achair image from the Akhtyr icon is full-length figures of the Omsk New Martyrs Sylvester, John, Michael and Alexander and a panoramic view of cathedrals at the Omsk Achair Convent in Honor of the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord at the bottom. The Akhtyrsk icon iconography is derived from the Italian and Greek art specimen: the Theotokos is depicted with arms folded in prayer (in line with Catholic tradition), to Her left is Jesus Christ crucified on the cross.

The miraculous Akhtyrsk icon of the Mother of God that served as the protograph for the Akhtyrsk-Achairsk icon had appeared on July 2, 1739 in the city of Akhtyrka, the Kharkov gubernia (today’s Sumskoy region, Ukraine). The image which shone with rays of light, was found in the grass by a priest of the Intercession Church Vasily Danilov. He brought the icon to his house where it cured a sick man suffering from fever. Three years later the Akhtyrsk icon was displayed in the Intercession church. The news of the miraculous icon reached the royal court through Baroness Weidel. The sick Baroness visited Akhtyrsk in 1748 and later had a vision of the icon that predicted the exact date of her death and promised the holy patronage of her small children when she dies. The icon came to be venerated in 1751. In 1768 Tsarina Elizaveta Petrovna donated funds on the construction of the stone Intercession church on the site of the appearance of the icon in which the icon had been housed up to 1903 when it was sent to St. Petersburg to restoration.

The Achair icon of the Mother of God is commemorated on August 15 (August 2, O.S.) by the blessing of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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