Wonderworking Icon attracts largest number of pilgrims on record

A record number of faithful from across North America, estimated to be in the thousands, traveled to Saint Tikhon Monastery here Memorial Day weekend to venerate the wonder-working icon of Our Lady of Pochaev, brought to the United States for the first time from its home in western Ukraine.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, together with the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America and numerous clergy and laity, met the icon at the monastery entrance at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2002. Metropolitan Theodosius expressed thanks to God for the great honor and blessing of allowing the miraculous icon to be brought to the monastery.

Carried by Heguman Laurus, who accompanied the icon from Ukraine, and Archimandrite Tikhon of Saint Tikhon Monastery, the icon was immediately taken in solemn procession to the monastery church for the singing of the Akathistos Hymn. During the entire pilgrimage, which closed on Monday, May 27, thousands of faithful waited in line for up to two hours to venerate the icon. The icon was also present at all pilgrimage services, as well as during the consecration of Archimandrite Nikon [Liolin] to the episcopacy on Saturday, May 25.

After the conclusion of the pilgrimage, the icon was taken to Saint Sergius Chapel at the OCA Chancery in Syosset, NY, where it was temporarily enshrined until Thursday, May 30, when it was returned to Ukraine. A steady stream of faithful visited the chapel daily to pray before the icon.

The icon of our Lady of Pochaev has been enshrined in the Pochaev Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in southwest Ukraine for hundreds of years. The icon, which is especially venerated in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Slovakia, and the Balkans, is widely renown for healings of the sick and other miracles.

An article on the history of the icon of Our Lady of Pochaev, written by the Very Rev. Alexander Golubov, Academic Dean of Saint Tikhon Seminary, is posted at History of the Pochaev Icon.