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Icon of the Mother of God ôSurety of sinners.ö

On June 11th (May 29th, old style) the Church celebrates the icon of the Mother of God ôSurety of sinners.ö

The surety of sinners! What a profound thought is contained in these words!ů Men have sinned. The righteous judgment of God has deemed men worthy of punishment and perdition. But in the high heavens there is a vigilant Intercessor for them: the Mother of God battles for their salvation. She searches for means to bring man to repentance. Even when man is not yet thinking of correction, She offers surety to God that man will reform himselfů

Icon of the Mother of God ôSurety of sinnersö
Icon of the Mother of God
ôSurety of sinnersö

The image on the icon of the Mother of God ôSurety of Sinnersö is as follows: the Mother of God is depicted to the waist, with Her left hand holding the Divine Infant, Who is clasping the Theotokosĺ right hands with both His hands, as is customary when concluding an agreement. In the four corners of the icon is written: ôI am the Surety of Sinners before My Son; He gave Me His hands for them, to hear Me out, so that those who bring me joy forthwith, will obtain eternal joy through Me.ö How much comfort, how many happy promises for the faithful are contained within these words, that Christ ôhas given His hands,ö i.e. has faithfully promised His Mother that He will always listen to Her entreaties!

This icon appeared in Russia, in one of the monasteries of the Orel diocese, and for a long time remained unknown and unattended in one of the chapels behind the monastery gates. The icon was so covered with grime and dust from the passage of time that the image could barely be discerned, while the inscription could not be deciphered at all.

In the summer of 1844, a merchant wife, Pochepina, came to the monastery together with her 2-year-old son who suffered the most terrible fits. The doctors could not give him any aid whatsoever. Pochepina asked that a moleben be served before the icon, and the boy was instantaneously and miraculously healed. Subsequently many other miracles occurred. The icon became regarded as wonder-working. It was cleaned off, at which point the famous inscription was revealed, and then the icon was triumphantly carried to church.

Soon afterwards the cities of Karachevo and Orel were struck with cholera. Both the sick and the healthy streamed to the icon ôSurety of Sinners.ö Despite the extreme contagiousness of the disease, no one from among the faithful died. The inhabitants of Orel carried the icon in a ceremonious procession all over the city, and the cholera disappeared.

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