Unexpected Joy, Moscow, Russia
The Unexpected Joy icon shows a young man praying before a painting of
the Mother of God, who is gesturing toward her Child in the hodigitria or
way-pointing pose. According to St. Demetrius of Rostov, writing about
1670, the youth prayed daily before his icon of the Virgin, and then would
go out and commit sins. One day in prayer he saw wounds form and bleed on
the hands, feet, and side of the painted infant, and heard the Virgin say,
"Your sins crucify my Son anew." Filled with remorse, the man
wept, praying for mercy, and the Virgin joined in, asking that Jesus
forgive him. Finally Christ agreed to forgive the sinner for his Mother's
sake, as a pledge of which the young man must kiss his wounds. When he did
so, he experienced the "unexpected joy" of release from guilt.
The icon may have originally been in the St. Andronik Monastery or the
Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Moscow. After the revolution, it
moved to a church in the Sokolniki district belonging to the
Renovationists, a breakaway church that was spared the persecution
suffered by the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1920s and 1930s. In the
1940s, as the Renovationists lost support, Stalin made a practical
alliance with the Orthodox Church. Then some of the holy objects that had
found refuge with the Renovationists moved to the Orthodox churches that
were still open in Moscow. The Unexpected Joy icon came to the Church of
Elijah the Prophet in Obydensky Lane. The Russian Orthodox Church honors
the Mother of God of Unexpected Joy on May 14 (May 1 in the old calendar).
(Picture of the icon in the Church of Elijah from www.st-nikolas.orthodoxy.ru.
Information from www.antiochian.org,
and other sources.)
Also commemorated this date:
|Nuestra Seņora de los Remedios, Riohacha, La Guajira, Caribbean,
Colombia. City saved from tsunami, 1663. |
|Notre-Dame des Vertus, Aubervilliers, Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France,
France. Statue wept and drought ended, 1336.|
|Beata Vergine del Pilastrello, Dovera, Cremona, Lombardy, Italy.
Apparition healed deaf-mute girl, 1386.|
|Madonna di Pinč, Montagnaga, Trento, Italy. Apparition, 1729.|
|Madonna del Monte, Marta, Viterbo, Latium, Italy|
|Santa Maria dei Monti, Naples, Italy. First mass said in church, 1606.
Festa Pentecost Monday.|
|Nuestra Seņora de la Evangelizaciķn, Lima, Peru|