The wonder working image of the Mother of God “Eleusa” was an icon of cell of St. Seraphim of Sarov, the great Elder. On this icon the Most Holy Mother of God is portrayed at the moment, when the Archangel Gabriel has appeared before Her and has annunciated that She would gave birth to the Messiah, the Son of God. The young Virgin Mary looks down, Her arms being folded on Her chest in cross-like way; and the face shows the deepest humbleness. She as if says meekly: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word “ (Luke 1, 38) in reply to the Archangelic annunciation. Her answer marked the beginning of humanity salvation of thralldom of peccability and death.
Its name “Eleusa” meant not only tenderness, but “compassion”, “mercy”, “humbleness”, “affection”, “charity”. Such a combination of seemingly different states of mind in the same word reveals the grandeur of the Mother of God love to every human being. St. Seraphim often called his sacred thing “The Joy of all Joys”, and asked his visitors to call it the same way. The Elder wiped the feeble and sick persons with consecrated oil from the icon lampion and healed them by praying. It was before this icon that St. Seraphim on bended knee and with his hands folded on his chest in cross-like way passed away in the Lord on January 2, 1833.
Joy of all Joys” to sisters of the Seraphimo-Diveevsky Convent. There it was kept in the gilded icon case in the Trinity Cathedral to the right of the Royal Door. The last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, the Passion Bearer who revered St. Seraphim profoundly, donated a gold jewel-encrusted setting by the famous jeweler Fabergé to the wonder working image of the Mother of God.
In the period of persecution of Church believers preserved the wonder-making icon of the Most-Holy Mother of God, and now it is in Patriarchal Vestry. Orthodox Muscovites have the possibility to pray before it on the Saturday of the Passiontide that is called “The Eulogy (Laudation) of the Most-Holy Theotokos”, or “Saturday Acathystos”.
During the evening service on the feast day eve the Acathystos is said in all the Orthodox churches that has been written in the 7th century and eulogizes the Heavenly Mediatress of the human race. At that moment in the Cathedral of the Redeemer the icon of the Mother of God “Eleusa” – that very image whereto St. Seraphim offered up his prayers in his cell – is taken out for worshipping.
In the Seraphimo-Diveevsky Convent there is now a wonder working copy of the sacred object. The fete day of the icon is a patronal festival of the Convent, and numerous pilgrims from all quarters of Russia gather there. Formerly on laying of the Convent the sisters of the Diveevo community with the blessing of St. Seraphim dug a small trench around the construction site. By the words of the saint, it had been “the track that the Heavenly Queen Herself had passed around, and with Her own feet” had indicated where the convent should have been built. She had proclaimed that it would be “Her forth apanage”. Now the nuns of Diveevo lead by the Mother Superior together with pilgrims daily walk round the Sacred trench, carrying the wonder working copy of “Eleusa” and singing: “Hail! Mary, Mother of God.” The sisters believe firmly that the Heavenly Queen Herself as the eternal Mother Superior of the Diveevo Convent will for ever and ever be the defender and the protector of Her earthly apanage.
On the small icon reverse there are words of the Angelic Salutation that the Most-Holy Virgin heard from Archangel Gabriel: “Hail! Mary, Mother of God, Virgin full of grace, the Lord is with Thee.”
Observance of the icon takes place on August 10 (July 27).