The thaumaturgic holy icon of Our Lady of Kazan is one of the most venerated by Orthodox Christians! The shoulder-length image of Hodegetria appeared in Kazan on July 8th, 1579, and after that the icon became the patroness of the Romanov emperor house and of all Russia. The Head of the Mother of God is tilted to the Divine Child, and it is this famous Kazan image has the largest number of replicas of venerated icons among other images of the Virgin Mary. People usually address this image when they come across misfortunes, hardships and diseases!
Now the replica of the Our Lady of Kazan icon is stored in the Krestovozdvizhenskaya (Exaltation of the Holy Cross) Church in the Kazan Bogoroditskiy (Holy Virgin) Monastery. The church holds services every day, and all the church-goers can worship the Holy Relic.
The monastery itself is also an architectural monument. The two-storied building includes the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross dated 1882-1887 and the Sofiyskaya (Sophia) gateway church, granted to the Kazan Eparchy in 1993. The Nastoyatelsky (Hegumen) and Nikolsky (St. Nicholas) buildings are also located at the same place. And at the place of the parish church, where the icon was previously stored, the Nikoly Tulskogo (Nicholas of Tula) Church was built in 1810-1816. At the present moment the restoration work is going on at this place.
After a terrible fire that had destroyed a big part of Kazan, Virgin Mary appeared in a dream of a common girl named Matrona Onuchina. The Mother of God showed her a place at the fire site, where her image was supposed to be. Nobody believed the girl’s story the first time, nor did they believe it the second time, but when Our Lady appeared for the third time Matrona found an icon at exactly the place she had pointed at, at a depth of two arshins (about a meter and a half) in the ground!
In the same year 1579 Ivan IV the Terrible ordered to open the Bogoroditsky (Holy Virgin) Nunnery. At first Matrona became its first nun, later she became Mother Superior. And almost at once the icon delivered its first miracle: two blind men recovered their sight on their way to the Kremlin – their names were Iosif and Nikita. After the miraculous appearance Russia was saved from enemies several times and thousands of people were healed of numerous diseases.
The icon was dressed in a golden casing and plating, decorated with 475 diamonds, lots of pearls and 1100 other gems. In 1767 Catherine II laid a diamond crown onto the image – which was why the icon was subsequently harmed. In 1904 a thief called Chaykin stole it from the cathedral of the Kazan Monastery. During the investigation he claimed that he had chopped the icon and burnt it in a furnace, because he only needed its valuable plating. However, nobody will ever know whether that was true!
On July 21st, 2005 His Holiness Alexis II Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia granted the thaumaturgic Vatican replica of Our Lady of Kazan to the Kazan eparchy. Now this gift from Pope John Paul II can be seen in the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
The monastery is located very close to the Kazan Kremlin, in no more than 5 minutes’ walk from there
Bus numbers: 22, 28, 28а, 52, 83, 89 to the KAI (Kazan Aviation Institute) stop or to the Ulitsa Baturina (Baturin Street) stop