November 01, 2017

Moscow's Miracle Working Icons

Icons have been revered in Russia for centuries, and when it comes to miracle-working icons, pilgrims will travel thousands of kilometers to seek their divine assistance. People bring flowers to these works of art, and speak to them as if they were living beings. Orthodox believers have reported seeing myrrh seeping from such icons. They are said to have a remarkable fragrance, and some icons are known to weep.

Behind every miracle-working icon is a fantastical story of its appearance – indeed, such an “appearance” (явление) is critical to an icon’s status as a miracle-worker. And often this appearance bespeaks some important episode in the history of the Russian state.

In reality, most miracle-working Russian icons are actually copies (“списки” – which is what in the Orthodox tradition they call copies of the original miracle-working icons) of a venerated original. The copies are believed to inherit the original’s miraculous powers.

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