Icon of Bogoliubov

June 18/July 1
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[Translators note: “Bogoliubov” and “Bogoliubsky” can both mean either “beloved of God” or “God­loving.”]

This is one of the most ancient wonderworking icons of Russia, painted in the twelfth century at the request of the right­believing Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky (commemorated on 4/17 July) in commemoration of an appearance of the Mother of God to him.

In the year 1155, the right­believing Prince Andrew, on moving from Vyshgorod to the land of Suzdal, took with him the wonderworking image of the Mother of God painted by the Evangelist Luke (subsequently this icon received the appellation, “Vladimir”). At seven versts [4.6 miles] from Vladimir, the horses carrying the case with the wonderworking icon stopped and could not move from the spot. The right­believing Prince Andrew requested the Priest Nikita, who was accompanying him, to perform a moleben before the icon of the Mother of God, and with tears he prayed long before the honored icon. Afterwards, he went to his camp tent, but did not cease from fervent prayer.

At this time, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to him with a scroll in her right hand and commanded the pious prince to place her image, which was being transferred from Vysh­gorod, in Vladimir, and to build a church and a holy monastery on the site of her miraculous appearance. Then she prayerfully lifted up her hands to heaven, receiving the blessing of Christ the Saviour, Who appeared at that time over the earth and blessed her, and the vision vanished.

Fulfilling the command, the right­believing Prince Andrew laid the foundation of a stone church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos at the indicated site, where a monastery was also organized. After that, the holy prince summoned skillful iconographers and requested them to depict the Mother of God just as he had seen her in the appearance: in full figure with a scroll in her right hand and with her face turned toward the Saviour. When the construction of the church was completed, the right­believing Prince Andrew transferred into it the image that had been painted and enacted a yearly celebration on the 18th of June (1st of July, new style) in honor of the appearance of the Mother of God , which was confirmed in the Russian Church. The right­believing Prince Andrew called the monastery and the town that formed around the monastery “Bogoliubov,” because, according to his words, “the Mother of God loved this place,” and the prince himself from that time began to be named “Bogoliubov” or “Bogoliubsky.”* The wonderworking icon of the Mother of God being transferred from Vyshgorod, was subsequently transferred from the Bogoliubov Monastery to Vladimir, to the Dormition Cathedral, while the icon of the appearance remained in Bogoliubov and was called “Bogoliubov.”

The Bogoliubov Image of the Mother of God has been glorified by innumerable wonderworkings, manifesting grace­filled help to the believing Russian people for the space of many centuries. The glory of the wonders and signs performed by the icon prompted believing people in many parts of Russia to resort to painting copies of the honored image, which in time received a wide dissemination and received the grace­filled power of wonder­working.

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