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On the feast of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, Metropolitan Alexander celebrated the Liturgy at the Synodal Church of the Kazakh capital

July 9, 2024 – celebration in honor of the Tikhvin Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary; day of remembrance of the Venerable Tikhon of Lukhovsky, the Venerable Nil of Stolobensky and the Hieromartyr George (Stepanyuk), presbyter of the village of Andreevskoye, Lepsinsky district, Semirechensk region.

Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan led the Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Church in honor of the Astana-Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God in the spiritual, cultural and administrative center of the Metropolitan District in the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The head of the Kazakh Metropolitan District was concelebrated by: the dean of the parishes of the Kazakh capital, Archimandrite Sergius (Karamyshev), the keymaster of the Assumption Cathedral, Archpriest Dimitry Baidek and Deacon Ilya Davydov.

The choir of the Assumption Cathedral sang under the direction of Olga Varentsova.

Employees of the Astana diocesan administration prayed during the service.

At the Liturgy, prayers were offered for the repose of the ever-memorable Archbishop of Tikhvin Meliton (Soloviev; + 1986), the spiritual mentor of Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan.

The service ended with the glorification of the Most Holy Theotokos - the choir sang a troparion to the Tikhvin icon, the Head of the Metropolitan District read a prayer, after which the clergy performed magnification before the icon of the Queen of Heaven.

After the glorification, Metropolitan Alexander congratulated the clergy and believers on the holiday and delivered a word of archpastoral teaching.

His Eminence congratulated Archpriest Dimitry Baidek on the anniversary of his priestly ordination, presented him with a holy prosphora, thanked him for his labors and wished him mental and physical strength and God’s mercy in his further service to the Holy Church.

“The holidays dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos are designed to help us understand as clearly and distinctly as possible the great maternal love of the Queen of Heaven, to feel Her care, to see with our spiritual gaze Her saving cover spread over us. For every Orthodox Christian, the name of “the most honorable cherub and the most glorious without comparison seraphim,” thanks to whom Christ the Savior came into the world, is dear and revered. In relation to the Mother of God, we are all her children, adopted on Golgotha during the Lord’s suffering on the Cross. The words of Christ spoken to the Apostle John the Theologian “Behold your Mother!” (John 19:27) are addressed to each of us, and therefore all prayers to the Most Blessed Lady must be performed by us with the awareness of this majestic truth.
But we must glorify the Most Holy Theotokos not only with the words of hymns and prayers. It is important to see in Her life, in Her image outlined for us in Holy Scripture and Tradition, an example for our lives. Saint Philaret of Moscow teaches us: “If we want to worthily, please the Most Holy Mother of God, then let us love Her dignity and virtues with all our hearts; Having loved, let us be jealous, if possible, to follow with our lives what we please with thought and word.” The example of the Most Pure Ever-Virgin Mary is an unfading ideal for every Christian. There is no virtue whose highest example would not be the Mother of our Savior. Everything we know about Her is worthy of imitation.” From the sermon of Metropolitan Alexander.

The Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, painted according to legend by the apostle and evangelist Luke, remained in Constantinople until 1383, after which it mysteriously disappeared from Byzantium and appeared in a radiant light over the waters of Lake Ladoga, and later appeared to local residents near the city of Tikhvin. This icon of the Mother of God is called the “Queen of the North.” As a result of the Great Patriotic War, the miraculous image ended up outside of Russia - in the Baltic states and Germany, and then was transferred by clergy to Chicago (USA). In 2004, the miraculous icon was solemnly returned to its historical place - to the Tikhvin Assumption Monastery. Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan took part in the transfer of the shrine to the Tikhvin monastery and the solemn services associated with this huge event in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church when he was Archbishop of Kostroma and Galich. Ancient chronicles and modern monastic records speak of many miracles associated with the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God - protection of the borders of the Fatherland from enemies, healings, help in everyday sorrows and circumstances.

With the blessing of Metropolitan Alexander, who headed the Kostroma diocese from 1989 to 2010, the unique robe that adorned the miraculous Tikhvin-Ipatiev Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary was recreated. This ancient shrine of the Holy Trinity Ipatiev Monastery was written according to legend by St. Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow. The image of the Queen of Heaven was brought to Kostroma in 1613 by the embassy of the Zemsky Sobor, which announced to the young boyar Mikhail Romanov about his election to the All-Russian royal throne.

With the blessing of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus', a unique project was carried out for the southern capital - professional icon painters created a list, the “measure and likeness” of the ancient shrine, repeating in the smallest detail the Tikhvin image of the Queen revealed in the northern reaches of Rus' in the 14th century Heavenly.

Talented St. Petersburg isographers, Alexey Kuznetsov and Elena Evsina, who spent many years studying the traditional techniques and techniques of ancient Russian icon painters, worked on creating the list for more than 3 months. To create a “measure and likeness” of the ancient shrine, Alexey and Elena regularly compared the results of their labors with the revealed Tikhvin image. With the blessing of the custodian of the miraculous icon, Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin and Ladeinopol, they were given the opportunity to study the shrine in detail, which was specially taken out of the icon case for this purpose and freed from the frame decorating it. The list created for Kazakhstan became the most accurate in the entire history of the existence of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God.

The icon was decorated with an exact copy of the frame of the miraculous shrine. The elegant chasuble, decorated with pearl threads, was made by the famous St. Petersburg jeweler Ivan Kharkov.

Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin and Ladeyinopol, at the request of Metropolitan Alexander, performed the rite of consecration of the newly created list in the Tikhvin Mother of God Assumption Monastery.

A special gift from the custodian of the icon of the Orthodox Church of Kazakhstan was part of the velvet cover that covered the frame of the miraculous icon from the inside. The shrine was placed in a special reliquary and attached to the newly created list.

The list of the miraculous icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary was created with funds from patrons of the Kazakhstan Metropolitan District with the support of the public foundation “EMO Foundation” (headed by G.G. Sosnovsky).

Upon arrival, the shrine visited the cities of the Republic, after which, with the blessing of Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, the location of the icon was determined to be the Kazan Cathedral of the southern capital.