Zhirovitsy icon of Mother of God  


In 1470,near the village of Zhirovitsy in the environs of Grodno, which was then part of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy, in a forest owned by an Orthodox nobleman by the name of Alexander Soltan, a team ofherdsmen were surprised by a bright light penetrating through the branches of a wild pear. When they approached the tree, they saw a small oval icon of the Mother of God in its branches. The herdsmen made an obeisance before the holy image and then took it off the tree and brought it to their lord. Soltan did not pay heed to the herdsmen's story and locked the icon in a casket. On the following day he told his guests about the icon and opened the casket, but it appeared to be empty. A few days later, the herdsmen found the icon in the same tree and once again brought it to their lord. Soltan built a church on the site of its appearance. In 1560, the church burned down, but the holy image survived the fire and was once again found at the foot of a mountain, standing on a large rock. Soon a stone church was built there and subsequently a monastery was founded next to it. In 1613, the cloister was captured by the Uniates, who possessed it untill 1839, In 1730, the icon was crowned according to the manner of the Western Church. The original icon was made of jasper carved in relief. Feast day: May 7/20.