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On September 8th (August 26th, old style) the Church commemorates the wondrous Vladimir icon of the Mother of God.

According to tradition, the icon was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist and blessed by the Mother of God Herself. In the 12th century, the Greek patriarch sent the icon as a gift to the Great Prince of Kiev, and later the icon was transferred to the city of Vladimir, from whence it got its name. This holy icon played a major role in Russian history, especially during the period of Tatar invasions.

The feast of August 26th commemorates the miraculous saving of Moscow from the invasion of the Tatar khan Tamerlane. In 1395, Tamerlane and his hordes of Tatars invaded the Russian land and approached the city of Moscow. Only Gods help could save the Russian people. The Great Prince of Moscow ordered that the holy icon be brought from Vladimir to Moscow. The solemn procession lasted ten days. Along the entire route people stood on their knees on both sides of the road and, reaching out to the icon, cried: O Holy Theotokos, save the Russian land! In Moscow the icon was met by a procession of all the clergy, the Great Prince and the entire populace of Moscow. And the Mother of God kindly heard the prayers of all the supplicants.

The "Vladimir" Mother of God. Andrei  Rublev. 1408
The "Vladimir" Mother of God.
Andrei Rublev. 1408.

At the time the icon was being met, Tamerlane was sleeping in his tent. Suddenly in his dream he saw a high mountain, from the top of which a host of saints with golden staffs descended towards him. In the air above them, in a brightly shining aura, stood a majestic Woman. She was surrounded by a multitude of angels with fiery swords. Raising their swords, the angels rushed at Tamerlane He woke up, trembling with fear. He immediately summoned his wise men and seers, and they explained to him that the Woman he had seen in his dream was the Protectress of the Russian people, the Mother of the Christian God, and that Her power was invincible. In that case we will be unable to cope with them, cried Tamerlane and ordered his hordes to turn back. The chronicler, describing this astonishing event, adds: And thus Tamerlane fled, pursued by the power of the Holy Virgin!

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