The Kazan Icon is especially revered by the orthodox believers for its extraordinary wonder making power. By will of the Mother of God Herself the Kazan icon was given to Russia on the threshold of severe trials of Time of Distemper (1605-1613), and became the symbol of the country revival.
It appeared miraculously in Kazan in 1579, 26 years after Tatar khanate being annexed to Russia by Ivan IV the Terrible. That year conflagration roared in Kazan that destroyed the city Christian part. As a chronicle wrote: “Belief in Christ became parable and desecration” for Moslem inhabitants. And then the Mother of God came to the dream of a girl Matrona by name, and ordered her to go to the scorched ruins of the house of merchant Onuchin wherefrom the fire started, and to take a wonder-working icon that She bestowed for the benefit of Orthodox believers. The new-found icon was carried to the nearest church. It was taken by the senior priest Germogen, the Patriarch of all Russia and the priest-martyr to be. Fifteen years after in 1594 already as Metropolitan of Kazan St. Germogen wrote the celebration troparion and service for the icon as well as the story of the events that he evidenced and participated. He also described to a nicety multiple of healing episodes that happened through the wonder making icon by the believers’ prayer.
The Kazan icon of the Mother of God became the protecting veil for Russian volunteer corps in dreadful Time of Distemper (1604—1613) when Russia nearly vanished from map of Europe, occupied by Polish and Swedish invaders. At that time there came to light the core of the icon having been bestowed, its unconventional iconography came clear. On the Kazan icon the Mother of God and Divine Baby are standing “nip and tuck” facing not to each other but outside. Only the blessing right hand of the Savior is seen. Such a highly laconic composition brings to one’s memory Holy Fathers works where the Mother of God is glorified as “Indestructible Wall”.
In the summer 1612 people’s volunteer corps of Kozma Minin and the Prince Demetrius Pozharsky liberated Moscow after a public prayer service. After the victory the Prince Demetrius Pozharsky had a church in honor of the icon built on the Red Square; and when Michael Romanov came to the crown he ordered the wonder making icon to be celebrated twice a year – on July 21, the day of miraculous appearance, and on November 4, the day of Moscow liberation.
But moments of disturbance and tension, turning points of destiny happen not only in nation histories. Every person has hard periods when the situation seems to be hopeless. Then trust in assistance of the Mother of God and prayer to the Kazan image of Her work wonders. A correct decision is found, a fatal disease passes. A prayer to the Kazan icon helps to restore family, to find a life’s companion, to rescue children from depraving grip of sin, to be healed of illness. Therefore in the ordeals Russian people appeal to this wonder making great image. On feasts the rule is to decorate the icons of the Mother of God with flowers, especially with roses, since in prayers the Mother of God Herself is often poetically named “the fragrant rosebud” and is compared to a rose without thorns.
The center of the small icon reverse has Chrism. It is a monogram consisted of two Greek letters Х and Р, first ones of Christ’s name. The monogram inscription forms X-shaped cross and symbolically represents Jesus Christ Himself whose image is inseparably linked with the image of the Most-Pure Virgin. A prayer is put around in which we ask the Mother of God to protect us against misfortunes and disasters, against evil and cruelty of the world: “O Virgin, mother of God, deliver us from all dangers”.