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Wonder-working Sitka Icon Comes to St. Tikhon's Monastery - 05/22/09

On Friday, May 22, the Miracle-working Icon of Sitka was brought to St. Tikhon's Monastery as part of the Annual Memorial Day Weekend Pilgrimage, by His Eminence, Archbishop NATHANIEL of Detroit.  Both Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop TIKHON served at Vigil and an Akathist to Our Lady of Sitka upon the arrival of the holy icon, and as the beginning of the 105th Pilgrimage weekend.  His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH will join the brotherhood, staff, students and faithful tonight, and for the rest of this Memorial Day weekend.

The Icon of Sitka is one of the most revered icons in North America is the Sitka Icon of the Mother of God. It is kept in Archangel Michael Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska. This icon was ordered by St Innocent (Veniaminov) of Moscow, the first ruling bishop of North America. The Cathedral of Archangel Michael in Sitka received this icon as a gift in 1850, two years after the completion of its construction.

Over the course of many years, miracles would happen after prayers before this miracle-working image. The opinion exists among the faithful of Alaska that it is specifically the gaze of the Mother of God through the Sitka icon that heals those who pray before Her. Many received healing to their vision after such prayers.

The placid visage of the Mother of God in this icon is described as "a pearl of Russian ecclesiastical art, pearly tenderness, purity and harmony..." and "the most beautiful face of the Theotokos and the divine Son She holds. The execution of this icon is so fine and artistic that the more one looks at it, the more difficult it is to look away."

At first, the Sitka Icon was part of the main iconostasis of Archangel Michael Cathedral. In 1966, the church burned down, but the Sitka icon miraculously survived. Now, in the rebuilt temple, a special place for this icon was erected to the left of the iconostasis.

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