Iconography and Hand painted icons

The Little Orphan, by St. John Jacob (the Romanian) the Chozebite

Παναγία_Божией Матери Икона_Virgin Mary –Byzantine Orthodox Icon_0008 5“Remain with us, our comfort, our sole joy in this world. O Mother leave us not orphans…” (St John of Damascus: Sermon II: On the Dormition of the Virgin)

Repose of Abbess Maria (Ushakova) of Diveyevo 6/19 August (1904)

St. Seraphim of Sarov used to say: “I haven’t chosen you, but the Heavenly Queen did it Herself and delivered you under my guidance.”

The elder demonstrated the utmost reverence to the command of the Most Holy Mother of God by obediently following Her word: “Never did I, a lowly Seraphim, ever lay a stone there out of my own will.”

In anticipation of his imminent death and realizing that they would be really orphaned and left without a spiritual father after his passing, father took care of their future. He lamented: “Who will provide for you when I am gone?” And he would comfort them:
“I am handing you over to the Matushka Queen of Heaven Herself! She will not abandon you!”

When the Queen of Heaven visited him in 1830 on Her feast of Dormition, father sought her intercession for his “orphans,” and so the Mother of God pledged to provide the lowly Seraphim with this unspeakable joy. During his last vision of Her on the feast of the Annunciation in 1831, when the Most Holy Theotokos, surrounded by 12 virgins came to visit him, the elder again pleaded with Her for his spiritual kin in Diveyevo: “Do not abandon my Diveyevo maidens! I gathered them up, but I cannot manage their lives all by myself!” To this, the Queen of Heaven responded: “I will, my beloved, assist you in everything! Let them be in obedience to you and, if they oblige, they will be with you and near Me. But if they give up wisdom, they will be deprived of the lot of these virgins next to Me. Neither their standing nor a heavenly crown will ever be reserved for them. Whoever offends them will be punished by Me; whoever serves them for the Lord’s sake will be forgiven before God.”

After the death of father Seraphim Mill maiden abode alone lasted only ten years. The peaceful life of the sisters of the two communities – the Mill and Kazan – willfully interfere Sarov became a novice Ivan Tikhon (later the monk Joasaph). Father Seraphim in his lifetime he forbade it, but the ambitious novice in dreams saw himself as guardian and confessor of the monastery. In 1842, Ivan Tikhon procured a decree to merge the two communities. He tried to turn to his sisters, to distract them from the grand old man of the covenant. He was able to seal the Christmas temples and break all the commandments of the Queen of Heaven. 29 years of continued unrest, which resulted in poverty and debt: the monastery had nothing even knead bread, and most importantly – spiritual life went wrong. After the disturbances in Diveyevo, smoot was completed when on March 14/27, 1862, Abbess Maria (Elizabeth Alekseevna Ushakov) was made Hegumenia by Holy Hierarch Theophan, the Recluse. Hegumenia Maria arranged life of the monastery according to the commandments from the Mother of God and Venerable Seraphim. The Abbess Maria never did anything or went anywhere without a blessing from Blessed Prascovia Ivanovna. Her years of headship (1862-1904) are considered years of the monastery’s prosperity, both in civil and spiritual matters. The number of sisters grew to be one thousand. St. Maria herself acquired many virtues, and became a true mother for the sisters. Cases of her clairvoyance are known, and by her prayers all the complexities connected with the monastery’s huge economy were miraculously solved of themselves. Hegumenia Maria remained at its helm for 42 years, and through her labors and prayers, the monastery reached its spiritual golden age.

The Little Orphan
an autobiographical poem
by St. John Jacob (the Romanian)
Blessed John (Jacob) of Neamts, the New Chozebite
“the child of zero” who “followed the One”*

Resurrection Day!
The bells are ringing!
Old men sit at their verandas,
Others are at their doorsteps.

The young and the children
Go out in their best clothes
To meet their friends at the church
Of the cemetery.

This mystical fragrance
Of the Holy Feast!
They take it in … like incense,
From herbs and flowers.

The Fields are robed
In a beautiful dress
And everything looks now
Renewed on the earth.

Near the Holy Altar
Of the wooden church
A little child offers
Candles and oil.

He kisses the Holy Cross
In front of the fresh tomb
And kneels crying
With sighs.

When the bells are ringing
In a jubilant tone
Near the Cross the little orphan
Sheds tears with pain.

Suddenly, while absorbed in his tears
And his deep sighs,
At the ringing of the bells
A sweet voice he hears :

“Cry Not, my child, today
Feel not sad, because, look!
By your side am I
Christ is Risen!”

Αγία Σκέπη της Υπεραγίας Θεοτόκου -Покров Пресвятой Богородицы-ikona_pokrov_e30a78e7a5203684c977f8dWas this his mother’s voice
Coming from the tomb
His sadness to dispel
From his broken bosom?

Immediately the orphan
Rises and ecstatically looks up,
Searching to find
Who was speaking to him.

Then, from the Altar most Holy
By the smoked wall
He sees the Risen Christ
Sweetly smiling to him.
His little heart is lit
His face calms
His pain leaves him
And such is his mind:

“If I see here
The Risen Lord
Then my mother too
Is risen with Him.”

Speaking thus to his mind
Humbly he bows
And kissing the tomb
Returns to his ‘home’!

Alone, lonely, he lives
At his earthly lodgings,
His poor father
Died at the war.

Often at nights he sleeps
By the tomb with them.
Crying in the morning he returns
Back to the deserted house.

But the bells ring!
Again at the cemetery
His mother’s voice
Is heard to say:

“Cry not, my child, today
Do not be sad,
Because, lo, I am with you
Christ is Risen!”

Since then our little orphan
Stopped sighing.
And whenever the bells ring
His heart is consoled!

* A Hermit from the Holy Land with complete Incorruptible Relics at the monastery of St. George Choziba! He was a great ascetic and a poet. He called himself “the child of zero” who “followed the One”. After his all night- vigils, he would briefly rest in the verandah of the monastery and write his so moving poetry, sadly not translated yet in English.
* The painting is by the Serbian artist Uroš Predić, Siroče (Orphan), oil on canvas, 1888. National Museum
https://orthodoxcityhermit.com/2017/11/05/the-little-orphan/ορφανό_Orphan_painting Serbian artist Uroš Predić, Siroče (Orphan), oil on canvas, 1888orphan-sos2


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