On July 1st (June 18th by the old calendar) the Church celebrates the feast of the Bogolyubskaya icon of the Mother of God.
The Bogolyubskaya icon of the Mother of God was painted in memory of the miraculous vision of the Mother of God sent to the holy righteous Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky (died in 1174, commemorated on July 4th) in 1155, as he was moving from the city of Vyshgorod to the Suzdal lands, carrying with him the ancient miraculous icon now known as the Vladimir Mother of God. Seven miles from the city of Vladimir, downstream along the Klyazma River, the horses drawing the holy icon suddenly stopped. The horses were changed, but the new ones did not budge either. Then Prince Andrew ordered a moleben to be served and earnestly prayed himself, at first before the miraculous icon together with all the people, and afterwards, retiring into solitude, in his camp tent. As he fell asleep, there appeared to him the Holy Theotokos with a scroll in Her left hand. She commanded him to place Her icon in the city of Vladimir, and to build a church and found a monastery on the site of this vision. The new church was built in honor of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos, while the monastery was called the Bogolyubsky monastery. On orders of Prince Andrew, an icon called the Bogolyubskaya Mother of God was also painted. The icon painters depicted the Mother of God exactly as She had appeared to the holy prince: standing up, with a scroll in Her left hand, and the right hand raised in prayer. An annual celebration of the feast of this icon was established on June 18th, on the day of the Theotokos’ miraculous appearance.
The Bogolyubskaya icon – one of the most ancient in Russia – gained fame by working numerous miracles. The faithful appealed to the intercession of the Mother of God and Her holy icon especially during plague epidemics. In 1771, as a result of praying before the holy Bogolyubskaya icon, the city of Vladimir and its environs were miraculously delivered from the plague.