Intercession of the “Don” Icon of the Mother of God against the Tatars Attack
Commemorated on August 19
The Don Icon of the Mother of God was painted by Theophanes the Greek. On the day of the Kulikovo Battle (September 8, 1380, the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos), the Icon was with the Russian army, giving it help, but after the victory it was passed on by the Don Cossacks as a gift to their commander, Great Prince Demetrius of the Don (1363-1389), who then transferred it to Moscow.
In the year 1591, the Crimean Khan Nuradin and his brother Murat-Girei invaded Russia with a numerous army. Advancing on Moscow, they positioned themselves on the Vorobiev hills. A church procession was made around Moscow with the Don Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos in order to guard the city from the enemy.
On the day of battle it was in the military chapel in the ranks of the soldiers, and set the Tatars to flight. In thanksgiving to the Most Holy Theotokos for Her mercy, manifest through the Don Icon. In 1592, the Don monastery was founded at the very place where it stood amid the soldiers. The wonderworking icon was placed in this monastery, and its feastday was established as August 19.
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Occasionally one hears an ungodly word even among Christians: here, even God cannot help! There is no danger in which God cannot help nor are there any enemies who could conquer by their own power without God’s permission. Do not ask how God will destroy the powerful army of our enemies that is easier for God then it is for you to inhale or exhale air. Read how God, by one apparition, terrified the Syrian army, so the army dispersed and Israel was saved: “For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel has hired against us the king of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to come upon us” (2 Kings 7:6).
Read how Jerusalem was saved from the powerful army of Babylon without any effort of King Hezekiah except his cry and prayer before God: “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred four-score and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses” (2 Kings 19:35). But God did not perform such miracles only in ancient times but He performs them every time when the faithful pray to Him. Thus, in the year 1395 A.D., the Tartar King Tamburlaine [Tamerlane] surrounded Moscow with his countless soldiers. The Russians brought the miracle-working icon of the Most-holy Theotokos from the town of Vladimir to Moscow and all the people with tears began to pray to the Most-holy Pure One. Suddenly, for no visible reason, the army of Tartars began to withdraw hurriedly and to flee. What happened? Tamburlaine had a vision in a dream: clouds of saints moving beneath the heavens and in their midst, the Holy Birth-giver of God as Queen and, further still, countless hosts of angels. The Theotokos sharply threatened Tamburlaine and ordered him to leave immediately from the land of the Russians and the saints waved their staffs at the emperor. Terrified by this dream, Tamburlaine as soon as it dawned, ordered a retreat and flight.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date August 26, and New Calendar date September 8.
O Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice, O Mary full of grace; the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb; for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.
My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son, my protection is the Holy Spirit: O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee.