Elegant, framed by woven ornament cross is devoted to the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, the greatest Russian object of worship. According to the canon on the cross obverse the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ is shown. Below the spread arms of the Savior St. Xeniaand St. Mercurius of Smolensk intercede with. Centuries divide the lives and exploits of these saints but connect them by particular venerating of the wonder making image of Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God.
St. Mercurius was a Slav by birth, probably from Moravia, the descendant of a princely line. Brought up in Orthodoxy, St Mercurius in zeal for the true Faith left his own native land for Russia, where he served in the army of the Prince of Smolensk. In 1239 he received a revelation from the Mother of God in Her Smolensk image. The Holy virgin said to him: “Mercurius, go forth into battle, for the Sovereign Lady summons you“. The warrior of Christ set off that very night to the Tatar camp near Smolensk, and fought there with the leader of the Tatar army, a giant possessed of immense strength. He killed him and entered into single-combat with the enemy host. Invoking the name of the Lord and of the All-Pure Theotokos, the holy warrior destroyed many of the enemy. The Tatar warriors watched with terror as a lightning-bearing man and a radiant Woman aided St Mercurius in the fight. Unable to stand against the warrior of Christ, they had to draw the troops off Smolensk. St Mercurius was himself killed in the battle by the son of the Tatar giant he had killed, and was canonized (commemorated is on November 24). The inhabitants of Smolensk, saved through the miraculous intervention of the Lord and the Most Holy Mother of God, since then had considered St Mercurius their principal patron.
The Holy Blessed Xenia is particularly worshipped in Saint-Petersburg († 1803). She was twenty-six years old, when her husband to whom she was passionately devoted had suddenly died without the benefit of the Holy Mysteries. Then she assumed the highest feat of spiritual perfection, that of being a fool for Christ’s sake, and strayed along Saint-Petersburg streets during 45 years. In the daytime wandered along the streets, by night leaving for a cemeterial wasteland, and praying there. That was the Smolenskoye Cemetery where a new church was being built there in honor of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. Workers began to notice that, during the night, someone would haul mounds of brick to the top of the building where they were needed. The workers were amazed by this and resolved to find out who this tireless worker could be. By posting a watchman they were able to discover that it was the Servant of God, Xenia.
For great deeds and patience the Lord glorified His chosen one. Xenia was gifted with ability of insight in future and in human hearts, as well as of help in regulating one’s life. She keeps on working these wonders after her death. The saint is buried not far from that very church in the Smolenskoye Cemetery. Commemorated is on February 6 (January 24).
The wonder making image of the Most Holy Mother of God is on the cross reverse. As a paternal blessing the icon was brought to Russia in 1046 by Anna, the Greek princess, when she married Vsevolod, the Prince of Chernigov. His son, the Prince Vladimir Monomach took the icon to Smolensk. Since then the image was named the Smolensk Virgin Hodegetria. In 14th century the daughter of the Lithuanian Prince Vitautas was given away in marriage to Vasily, the Great Prince of Moscow, the son of Dmitry. In 1398 she took the icon along to Moscow. The holy image was placed in the Kremlin Cathedral of the Annunciation, to the right of the Sanctuary doors. In 1456 at the instance of Smolensk inhabitants the icon was returned to Smolensk, the wonder making copies being left in Moscow; one of them was placed in the Novo-Dyevitchi Convent (the Convent of the Maidens) built in honor of Smolensk being returned to the authority of Russia.
In time of the Great Patriotic War of 1812 the wonder making image was again taken to Moscow from Smolensk. On the day of the Battle of Borodino the icon was carried around the White-town, China-town and Kremlin, and then through the military camp, holding prayer services before it. After the war the icon was returned to Smolensk where it remained till 20th century. In 1941 Smolensk was invaded. оккупирован. After its liberation in 1943 the icon disappeared. году икона не была найдена. Probably, it was burned down during conflagration of the church. But a great deal of wonder making copies of the Smolensk icon exists in Russia during more than 500 years. Many of them displayed repeatedly godsent power. The holy image is prayed to in maladies, in family troubles and misfortunes. The icon observance is on August 10 (July 28).