The "Reigning" Icon of the Mother of God
by Ivan Mikhailovich Andreevsky

In the village of Kolomna, hear Moscow, on March 2nd, 1917, the day on which Emperor Nicholas II abdicated the throne, a new icon of the Mother of God appeared, known as the "Reigning" icon. This icon was found amid the odds and ends and dust in a basement, following the directions given by a certain deeply pious, God-fearing woman, who had thrice received a vision while asleep. There had appeared to her a large, very dark icon of the Mother of God wearing a robe of royal purple, a crown on her head, holding the scepter and orb of the Russian sovereigns, and seated on a throne. Over the course of several months, the icon miraculously renewed itself and became bright and clear. The significance of this icon, which wondrously appeared to the Russian nation on the day of its greatest spiritual tragedy (the day of the Tsar's abdication) is that the Mother of God, in an extraordinarly significant way, came herself to the "Home of the Theotokos," which had been prepared for her by all of Russia's history, at the most grievous moment in the life of the people chosen by God, and took upon herself the burden of the Supreme Authority in the Russian realm. Knowing the exceptional power of the faith and prayer of the Sovereign, Emperor Nicholas II, and his especially reverent veneration for the Mother of God, we cannot doubt that he had besought the Queen of heaven to assume the royal authority over the people who had rejected their anointed Tsar. Unusual for a image of the Mother of God, she is depicted as stern of countenance and severe, and the gaze of her sorrowful eyes is commanding, full of tears of both anger and love. The people of Russia understood this miraculous, prophetic sign: penitential prayers to the "Reigning" Mother of God began to be offered up all throughout Russia, and the icon itself, in countless copies, began to adorn all the churches of Russia. A marvellous akathist to this icon began to circulate, and the whole Church fell on its knees when listening to it. The atheistic government, of course, coould not remain indifferent to such "religious propaganda," and began cruelly to persecute all who venerated this icon. The akathist was proscribed, and the icons themselves were removed from the churches. The composers of the service and the akathist were executed by firing squad.

Prayer before the Icon of the "Reigning" Mother of God

O most lauded Mother, helper of the world! Falling down before thine icon, "She Who Reigneth", with fear, faith and love, we fervently beseech thee: Turn not thy face away from those who have recourse unto thee. O merciful Mother of the Light, entreat thy Son and our God, the sweetest Lord Jesus Christ, that He preserve our land in peace, that He grant our nation prosperity and deliver us from civil strife; that He strengthen our holy Orthodox Church and preserve it from unbelief, schism and heresies. For we have no other help than thee, O all-pure Virgin. Thou art the omnipotent aid of Christians before God, who dost mollify His righteous wrath. Deliver all who pray to thee with faith from falling into sin, from the assaults of evil men, from famine, sorrow and sickness. Grant us the spirit of contrition, humility of heart, purity of thought, the correction of our sinful life and the remission of our offenses; that, singing of thy mighty deeds with gratitude, we may be counted worthy of the heavenly kingdom, and that there, with all the saints, may glorify the most honorable and majestic name of God Who is glorified in Trinity: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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